The news came to me in a text from James Kennedy at 7am Monday 11th of January.
“Jesus babe, sorry to lay this on you first thing, but David Bowie has died!!!”
He knew how I’d feel. He knows me well. He who calls me “A bloody frustrating, adorable, uncrackable puzzle” ha ha. He knows who and what inspires me. He knew how I’d feel about Dai Bow - as we call him.
The funny thing is we’ve been talking about him a lot recently. I sent James a link over Christmas to his performance of The Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby. He hadn’t seen it. I love that scene. I’d been trying to recreate a Judy Garland style family christmas in my music video, which inspired me to look through old Dean Martin and Bing Crosby footage. I remembered that scene with Bowie, so I watched it again.
He can’t be gone! I felt so weird. This can’t be true. But he just released the album. He’s surely gonna do a tour. He can’t be dead. I was going to see him. I was going to meet him one day.
I felt low, like I’d lost a good friend. Upset. Numb. But I felt strange for feeling that way too, a little silly really. I’d never really felt like that about someone I didn’t know before. I didn’t expect it.
Then I started hearing from other friends who felt the same. We were all talking about it and talking about life and death, and catching up and discussing that feeling we shared. I checked out the social networks and the radio coverage, and we were all feeling it.
Bowie’s death connected us all. How powerful is that? How art can connect us like that.
After I stopped feeling sad, I had this feeling of hope. This grateful feeling for all that he’s left behind, so much inspiration.
Then I wanted to explore. I wanted to pour through my favourite Bowie tunes from Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Low, Station to Station, Diamond Dogs, Heroes, Aladdin Sane, The Man Who Sold The World… Engulfing myself in Bowie’s World. His music. His style.His thinking. Dissecting everything he created, then reading the newspaper coverage, the tributes, buying the special edition magazines.
So many people said to me. “Well I don’t really know that many of his songs, but he was always there, you know?”, and that’s the thing about Bowie, he has always been there, and though there was no doubting his exceptional musicality, there was so much more to him than his songs.
“I’m going to be huge!” he told the World in 1972. He didn’t have a clue did he?
I honestly did think that I would meet David Bowie one day you know. We all dream of meeting our heroes, but I really did see it as a possibility. Those of you who know me, will know that I don’t see anything as impossible, I’m a dreamer and no dream is too big. *big silly grin*
I met his son Duncan Jones in 2011, Zowie. He was a lovely guy. Really warm and funny, he laughed a lot, he looked so much like his father too. It was the World Premiere of Source Code and I interviewed him on the red carpet. I’m a the sci-fi buff and loved his directorial debut ’Moon’, so was excited to meet him. There wasn’t enough time to ask him much of anything, but it was really nice to meet him. I thought of him when I heard the news.
"His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be." said Tony Visconti.
I spent nights pouring over the dark lyrics of “Blackstar”. But what seemed dark suddenly became so clear to us all. After he left, we heard it in a completely new light. How brilliant. “Look up here. I’m in heaven” and “I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”. Fair play! What an incredibly brave work.
To me Bowie was a Hero, not only for what he created but for who he was. It wasn’t just because the music was good, but he made it okay to be different. Bowie’s androgyny was a rare gift. He challenged what the media saw. I loved how unconventional and ostentatious he was, how flamboyant he was with his masculine and feminine sides. His otherworldliness. From his multicoloured bodysuits, to his leopard print blouses, to his coloured suits and flashy ties. Both theatrical and cabaret, interesting in every way. He was a glam rock pioneer. An Innovator. A real Pop Star and I’ll miss him.
"Most people are scared of colour, their lives are built up in shades of grey. It doesn't matter how straight the style is, make it brightly coloured material and everyone starts acting weird." David Bowie
- and with that he changed the World. Famous for all the right reasons. He made way for the great bands ahead of him who wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for Bowie. Joy Division, Culture Club, LCD Soundsystem, Suede, Placebo. Arcade Fire. So much wouldn’t have existed.
What a truly classy guy you were David Bowie. What grace you had. You were wonderful. You’ve left a big hole in the universe.