It’s been a few days now since the passing of a man I’d never met. It’s taken a bit of time to come to terms with what’s happened, but in thinking about it all I’ve come to realize and appreciate the fact that he somehow manged to have a bigger influence on my day-to-day life than anyone I’d ever had the pleasure of meeting in the real world.
He was a man of many names; Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, Jareth the Goblin King, but no matter how you knew him best, the one commonality between them, is that they were all, distinctively and unquestionably, David Bowie.
From a time that dates back to before I can remember, the sounds of his masterwork, Space Oddity, have haunted my memory in — in a manner of speaking — a most peculiar way. The imagery the song conjures up defy anyone’s inability to imagine. It paints an undeniable picture of a man in space staring down upon this world and it’s there, in that place now, where Bowie sits, casting his gaze upon us, watching us draw inspiration from his life whether we consciously know what we’re doing or not. In the wake of his death we’ve become awash in glitter and Bowie is, single-handedly, to blame. His typical modus operandi.
The point in question is not whether or not you’ve ever dared to paint a pink and blue lightning bolt on your face. The point is that if you’ve ever seen one, you’d know that you’d seen it somewhere else before, but not before Bowie. Not before Bowie. And in that lies his magic.
Perhaps your first memory of the man is of him in tight spandex with flowing blonde hair, gracefully contact juggling a beautiful, opaque sphere. For many that was an initial moment of entrancement. A first time becoming overrun with wonderment. The virgin eyes first glimpse of true magic. Many questions were asked in my younger years debating the validity of his smooth skill. “Could it be possible? Could someone actually do that,” we’d ask.
Of course they could; assuming that ‘they‘ were David Bowie.
To this very day, whenever I hear the opening to Magic Dance, I get chills and I get chills because I absolutely, 100% without a doubt, believe in the magic of Bowie. I believe in his ability to reach into the soul of anyone and fill them to the brim with emotion. I believe in his ability to do and accomplish anything and everything he’d ever wanted to do, which is evidenced by his latest release, Blackstar.
I believe in Bowie.
Don’t get me wrong. Not every song or movie the man had been involved with were necessarily my cup of tea. You probably don’t like his entire catalog of work either, but to deny that any of it wasn’t a look into a man who took the world into himself in all of his work is to deny the reality of David Bowie.
That’s actually an odd phrase; the reality of David Bowie. He’s a man that defied reality to such an extent that he sparked social revolution and change in a time where conservatism ran rampant. He shucked the idea of sexuality letting us all know that it is nothing more than what you, the individual, make of it. You define you. Not anyone, Bowie included.
Conservatism is still alive and well when it comes to our own personal social graces, but out there, among the people, Bowie’s messages will continue to shine through. He’ll continue to be a guiding star to a variety of creative, social nonconformists who want nothing more than to live the life that they want to live. To be the people they were born to be. To not sell their worlds short because he was brave enough to stand up and sell the world for them. He sold the world on the values of weird. He sold the world on the values of being different. He sold the world on the values of creativity and the wonderment of real world magic.
He truly was the Man Who Sold the World and he will truly be missed.