11 January 2016

David Bowie

I woke up this morning and as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes took my usual stroll through social media to see what happened since while I was out for the night. We go to bed pretty early on work nights so sometimes a lot can happen.
My first stop is always Instagram. I love to see all the new beers the people I follow try and the sometimes innovative way they photograph them. Plus, there are cats. That is what I follow, beer people and cats. That is a conversation for another day.
This morning I opened the app to find picture after picture of David Bowie. I always liked and respected him. He made some of the most iconic classic rock songs ever. As a guy who almost exclusively lives his musical life from 1955 to 1989, it was an odd sadness that I felt. I always had Bowie on the fringes of my mind, his newer music was not what I loved, but I always checked it out. He seemed to be able to reinvent himself so often that he was relevant to people from my parents generation to my nieces and nephews.
Robert Plant and Mick Jagger have a swaggering, prima donna dominance that shines as they strut the stage. But David Bowie, like Freddie Mercury before him, seemed to be above that. He seemed almost too cool to be concerned with what we thought. His androgynous look and curious lyrics always pushed the boundaries of a much more conservative time. Kids today may not understand how important Bowie was to many people back in the 70's because he was able to not only cross over musical genres, but gender ones as well. He no doubt took a lot of abuse for that, but never stopped changing. What person of a certain age doesn't sing Space Oddity from time to time while cleaning the house or driving the car and a whole new generation was introduced to the song when Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield did a version on the International Space Station. China Girl always brings a smile to my face for the very special memories it brings. My favourite Christmas song is his duet with Bing Crosby from the late '70's, Little Drummer Boy.  I must admit to a weakness for Let's Dance and singing along as I watched the video this morning. The man just oozed elegance.
I picked just a few songs you might also know, but there are literally hundreds of well and lesser known ones. David Bowie was a prolific musician who refused to be pigeonholed into one genre or style. He will always be Ziggy Stardust, Jareth, the goblin king (Labyrinth) and an iconoclast of the highest order. I always felt he didn't get the respect we give far lesser accomplished singers and musicians, but also took for granted what he did. I am stunned and saddened at his death and will keep his music with me as I go about my day.
It strikes me as a little odd that the death of a rock star has so much impact on so many people, but with Bowie it seems justified somehow. His ability to constantly push forward and not give in to the demands of what should be from a society that didn't always get him, make him a trailblazer to those who struggle with their place in the world. He will be missed and I doubt there will be another like him.

Here am I floating
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do.

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