Innovator, legend, icon, hero. All of these words can be and are being used to describe David Bowie. Except that’s not all with him. On a more personal level, he was a thinker, a dreamer, unique, charismatic. An enigma. And he exuded all this so easily. He would take his dreams and inner thoughts and turn them into a wonderfully twisted, Ziggy in Wonderland type journey for anyone who was willing to travel with him.
From a painfully shy kid with a huge ambition, a Star Man was made. Using make-up as a mask, a disguise so as not to feel the humiliation being himself on stage, he created so many characters. Being Ziggy was easier than being David. After seeing him for the first time on a clip from a 1970’s Marc Bolan TV show, I couldn’t think anything else, but “Who is this? What is this?!” This is what captured people.
Here was a tall, thin, pale guy, seemingly wearing a girls t-shirt and painted on jeans, with make-up, glitter and orange spikey hair. Possibly one of the most provocatively androgynous creatures I had ever seen.
“For me, he was somewhere between fact and fiction; a larger than life being with an impish grin and fantastic imagination.”
All while I was thinking, where did he get those great clothes? He was continuously shocking with something ‘new’ and so many people identified with this as he brought notions of science-fiction and ‘the other’ to the mainstream. What can be better than something that’s impossible to put into a category or class?
Creating music though his experiences of fear, pain and anxiety, it was eccentricity that set him free, allowing him to create things that hadn’t been seen before. He didn’t do it for the fame either, passing that off as something that “doesn’t afford you anything other than a good seat in a restaurant.”
He said: “I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.” For me, he was somewhere between fact and fiction; a larger than life being with an impish grin and fantastic imagination. Always with a ‘Peter Pan’ type youthfulness and a glint in his eye.
With the news today, there have been genuine outpourings of loss and sadness from an array of people in all corners of the world, sharing stories of inspiration through so many different routes.
“FROM A PAINFULLY SHY KID WITH A HUGE AMBITION, A STAR MAN WAS MADE.”
He broke down barriers of music and beyond and in a world with such plastic, throw-away nonsense, we should be glad, happy, elated that we got to experience Bowie and witness, whether it’s through TV, records, photos, or live concerts, the growth of what would become such an inspiration.
He was an English gent with an unmistakeable voice that invited us to ‘turn and face the strange’ and that is exactly what his music achieved.
Check out final single ‘Lazarus’ right here: