Monday, January 11, 2016

Planet Earth Is Blue and There's Nothing I Can Do: Bye Bye Bowie

When I woke up this morning to the news of David Bowie's death, I felt that deep, painful sadness in the pit of my stomach. Then my mother called to "see how I was doing" with the news and offer a heart to heart about how she felt the day Elvis died and I then I wanted to cry. Today is my day the music died.
David Bowie was an enigma. He was sexy and weird all at once. His unmistakable voice was both soothing and haunting. And his music videos and appearances in movies created looks that were forever burned in your memory. Each one was about him being reborn with yet another androgynous yet arousing and totally unique style.
It is often confessed on the internet that "Labyrinth" was the film of sexual awakening for many in my age group. And it is true. Yes, yes....that bulge in the tights. But David Bowie in his giant blond mullet Goblin King glory really did make me feel things like lust and intrigue for the first time. I was just so glad to find out I wasn't alone on this.
Yes, yes I do Bowie.
But more importantly, that film opened my young eyes and ears to the magic of this strange but beautiful man.
I consumed all of the Bowie of the past and began following the Bowie that was still unfolding. "Under Pressure" has been my anthem for years and I feel no shame in calling it my favorite song. I honestly could listen to it a thousand times on repeat for days and still love it. And even though I hate going to concerts, I saw Bowie on his Reality Tour in 2003. In the front row. I swear he winked at me with his hazel eye. He was a true ageless rock god whose voice and presence was huge-bigger than life, despite his small frame. And most importantly, Bowie made being different so glamorous and cool. He was a true artist who made every detail he presented to us matter.
I don't really know how to properly mourn the loss of a rock god. Especially one who crossed so many generations that it seemed impossible for him to be anything but eternal. Just last week, Bowie released his new album and video for "Lazarus" and upon seeing it, I accepted it as yet another curious Bowie transformation--a weak, frail bandaged man twitching and writhing in pain.
The glamorous haunting intensity all staged for the glory of dramatics with his voice as strong and succulent as ever. But now, that video seems to take on the meaning of Bowie's goodbye, his ominous staged confession that he knew he was dying. It seems cruel to be left with this image as our final look at Bowie. But that was maybe just as he would have it.
A sad, silly part of me keeps hoping that this is just a Bowie fake out. That the title "Lazarus" means he will be back, he will be risen. The next Ziggy Stardust. But that is just as foolish as assuming that Tupac calling himself Makaveli on his last album meant that like Machiavelli suggested he was using a fake death to fool his enemies. (A google rabbit hole of conspiracy theories I once went down after watching a documentary on VH1.)
But reality is that Bowie is gone. The Golden Years are over, though lucky for us, his stardust will always remain.
And perhaps it is ok that I all I want to do is watch Bowie videos all day.


  1. I must have watched this movie too early in my childhood/youth to experience the sexual awakening so many in our generation have attributed to Labyrinth. Because, seriously, Bowie was ridiculously alluring in scenes like this one.

    1. I absolutely posted this on my facebook earlier today!