Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I don't sleep through much, and the sounds of my wife weeping in bed next to me is certainly one of the things that will keep me from sleep.
"What's the matter?"
"David Bowie."
I tried to shake the slumber from my brain to access what she was telling me.
"I couldn't sleep, so I was going to check my email. David Bowie died."
It took me several more attempts to make this leap: Somewhere, in the middle of the night, David Bowie had died from cancer. I was finding out about it because there was an Internet device next to our bed. I was sad to hear this. I was shocked, since the last news I had about David Bowie was that he had a new album coming out.
That album, "Blackstar," was released on his birthday, January 8. He shared a birthday with Elvis Presley. And Stephen Hawking. This little fact may have more to do with the person Bowie was than anything else on his Wikipedia page. The man with the theory of everything rock and roll. The man who sold the world. The man who fell to earth.
Or maybe he wasn't a man at all. Back in the early seventies, Bowie told a number of different publications that he was gay. At the time, this was viewed as one more reason to consider him "out there" and avant garde. Ziggy Stardust was a Martian. Aladdin Sane. The Thin White Duke. Who was David Bowie? He was David Jones, but in order to keep from being confused with a member of a band that was largely made up, he made up his own persona to take out into the world and show us all what it was like on other planets.
He also showed us life here on our planet. A lot of people believe it was Ronald Reagan who got the Berlin Wall to come down. I know different. It was David Bowie. He could beat them, just for one day. He could steal time, just for one day.
David was an artist and a chameleon long before there was a Madonna or a Gaga. He put us all on and wore us out. Who cares if his records didn't sell? He helped bring us Lou Reed. And Iggy Pop. And DEVO. He had an eye for the eccentric, off center, off kilter. As long as you could dance to it. And he did. Even when he was just walking into the room, he could dance. He could sing with Bing Crosby. It was David Bowie's sound and vision that changed the way we all looked at rock and roll. And theater. And movies.
Art. David Bowie was an artist. And he didn't so much stomp on the Terra as glide effortlessly above it. He will be missed. Aloha, Major Tom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would we really say his records didn't sell?