The world was stunned when news broke of David Bowie’s death. Even some of his oldest friends weren’t aware that he had been battling cancer. He had always been an enigma; despite growing up with his music as the soundtrack to our lives, we seemed to know little about the man. He kept that information to himself-away from our ravenous eyes- and it added to his allure. His farewell to us all, Black Star (and in particular the video to Lazarus), have added poignancy. He told us he was leaving, in his own way and in his own time. Perhaps his secret life; his hopes, dreams and vital information was kept in the Black Star book he is seen holding in the video of the same name.
Creativity is stifled in the environment of celebrity and modern life discourages expression. I believe Mr Bowie knew this. He recorded his swan-song for us rather than socializing and being ever-present to the world. He went underground and we are left with a glorious farewell in the way of songs and imagery. I recall being in primary school in the ‘80’s and the teacher putting Bowie’s Laughing Gnome on during quiet time. I was entranced and from then on I was a huge fan.
Look Back in Anger was my outlet for the rage acquired as an abused child. I felt like he was giving me permission to be angry, just as Sorrow allowed grief and regret to come forth. He shone a light on Australia’s treatment of Aborigines in the 80’s, during the time he spent here filming clips like Let’s Dance. I personally loved Tin Machine, and the cautionary tone of Crack City. Bowie urged us to keep moving forward in Prisoner of Love.
For a girl who used to say that she came from Mars when questioned, David Bowie was an icon. I clung to him for comfort, in a world that demanded conformity. Constantly reinventing; going underground, only to rise as a phoenix from the ashes. I can’t recall the teacher who made us have reflective time by playing The Laughing Gnome after lunch, but I am forever in their debt for introducing me to the visual and auditory splendour of Mr David Bowie.