A friend said it best, “It never dawned on me that David Bowie would die. His presence has been more like a moon or a star.” It’s true. Most of us didn’t know he was as ill as he was, and none of us expected to wake up to the terribly sad news that he had passed.
David Bowie has been an integral part of the lives of many people I know and love. I’m not sure when I first became aware of him, but I was definitely late to the game. I remember the summer before seventh grade, on China Lake, in Maine. My aunt, who is from China, was dating the man who would be her second husband. He sang “China Girl” way more often than was necessary, so delighted was he to be dating a part-Chinese woman. The next year I met my best friend, Tara, whose love and appreciation of Bowie is one of my first of many memories of her. On Halloween in eighth grade I was a cat, she was Blue Jean.
Selon Facebook, many people I know have had close encounters with Bowie. I have not. Tara and I saw him in concert in the 80s–she probably many more times than that—and then in 2001, a month or so after the horrible September incident, I was invited to the Concert for New York at MSG … I was invited because the person whose tickets I wound up with had an accident and couldn’t go. Turns out, the tickets were really good and so we got to sit on the floor, amongst the fire fighters and police and their widows and widowers. Once we passed through security and walked slowly toward our non-seats (we were floaters, so as soon as someone showed up for their seat we moved elsewhere), we saw David Bowie, sitting cross-legged at the front of the stage, singing “Heroes”. We got so close I could see his heterochromia … a word I learned recently … eyes that are two different colors.
My first Bowie album was Hunky Dory, gifted to me by two friends who wanted me to upgrade my music collection and who chose this as one of the eight essential albums I should own.
When I first met Louie, my beloved canine, the song that came instantly to mind was “Kooks”, and so I sang it to him enough that he has reason to bite at me now.
Some years later, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust rose to importance, became essential to me. Soul Love is one of my favorite creations, ever.
David Bowie. Wow. Larger than life, longer than time, none of the rules of physics apply.
How lucky we all are to have experienced him, and how blessed we are to continue to do so.
Rest in triumph, beautiful, wonderful, spiritual, irreplaceable man.
Turn and face the strange.