David Bowie 1947-2016
David Bowie is dead. It sounds wrong. It should be wrong. The idea that such a transformative artist and creative genius could be taken so abruptly and so finally shouldn’t somehow be allowable but it has happened.
Although I’d never thought of myself as a true fan, every time I try to make a list of my favourite songs of his it seems to grow and grow and grow (and I’ve barely begun to explore his back catalogue). Whether or not he was at the forefront of my consciousness, he was an omnipresent touchstone of popular culture throughout my life. Constantly reinventing himself and his art form; pushing boundaries and testing limits in ways I didn’t always understand and with results I didn’t always appreciate fully. But I was glad he was there, and I was proud he was British, he was part of our national identity. It’s hard to assimilate the fact he’s gone.
Like many people around my age, although I’m very aware of his astonishing musical legacy, if pressed I would have to admit I remember him most fondly as Jareth, The Goblin King from the movie “Labyrinth”.
Although not a prolific actor – at least compared to his musical career – he was invariably an impactful performer, as his film credits show:
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
The Man Who Fell To Earth
Even when not on screen, his presence was felt through his music, making great movies awesome…
and he even found a place in the trans-Atlantic Christmas pantheon in his own inimitable style:
He leaves behind him a truly staggering legacy. An innovator in every field he practiced, its not hyperbole to hail him as one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st Century. Given everything he gave us, we can certainly forgive him this:
The Starman is gone. He’s no longer waiting in the sky and the night feels a little darker for it.
Thanks, David. Thanks for the music and thank you for the movies. But most of all, thanks for the Magic Dance.
The image at the head of this article was created by artist Helen Green in 2015, an animated gif of every one of David Bowie’s hairstyles from 1964-2014. Both the black and white and colour stills of all 29 frames are available as a print through Society6.