Yesterday was a sad day. Upon hearing the early morning news, a dull, flat feeling swept over me and remained all day. David Bowie, one of my all-time heroes had sadly lost an 18 month battle with the bastard that is cancer.
Now that he's gone, we'll all miss him and his incredible music. It’s also been well publicised what an influence Bowie was on art and fashion, but maybe, and most importantly to many, his biggest influence and achievement was his importance to society and our acceptance of change and diversity. Bowie repeatedly challenged people’s perception of sexuality with such a verve of cool that the thugs who originally lampooned him as a cross-dressing freak, were quickly transformed into better human beings by allowing this apparent alien to unshackle their minds. Bowie taught the world that it was ok to be different, in fact, it was great be different.
Bowie's great mind encompassed so many influences; from the arts and literature to technology and discovery, all blending into a great and audacious spirit who’s forward thinking and unrestricted attitude was well ahead of anyone else’s. His tastes and onstage personas constantly evolved to suit his feelings and (self-created) trends with the introduction of new personalities, bold outfits and differing sounds. The coolest dude in the world. No, scrap that, the coolest dude in the universe. Bowie was out of this world.
I’ve been a fan of Bowie since my teens when I really started getting into music. My dad was into Led Zeppelin and Queen and my mum was into The Beatles and Bowie. I dismissed my dad’s tastes because of his Queen collection (although I since regret not getting into Led Zeppelin) so would repeatedly steal my mum’s Beatles albums and her copy of Ziggy Stardust. I lost myself to Bowie's alien sound and truthful vocal, eventually picking up a guitar myself and learning ‘Starman’, which marked the start of years of writing music and performing in my own bands. Alongside Lennon and McCartney, Bowie has sound-tracked a lot of my adult life, providing a constant ‘go-to’ for many a car journey or pissed-up late night sing-along – his songs are instantly recognisable with foot-stomping, arms in the air choruses that capture an unparalleled freedom.
With varying personas, incredible outfits, freethinking views and a catalogue of songs that includes Changes, Let’s Dance, Starman, Oh! Your Pretty Things, Rebel Rebel, The Man Who Sold The World, Ashes to Ashes, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Fashion, Sound and Vision, Queen Bitch, Golden Years, The Jean Genie, Heroes, Young Americans, Space Oddity and Life On Mars, has there ever been anyone as influential, liberal and progressive as David Bowie? Probably not.
It’s sad that he’s gone, but even from his grave, he can continue to be the Starman we all follow.