Monday, January 11, 2016

Gods are Immortal

The sun came in just as I took this shot. I think it was David.

Where do I even begin?

I feel like I’ve lost a parent. I HAVE lost a parent. David Bowie was the creative father to so many of us. He felt like a part of my family. I woke up this morning to tens of condolence messages, as did so many Bowie fans today. Not just “Oh Damn”, but, like so many others around the world from what I have seen on the news, people leaving messages for all big Bowie fans feeling pain for our loss.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to find words today. After all, it is a nightmare when the first words you hear upon waking is “David Bowie is dead.”

It’s a joke. A hoax. Another death troll. And then there was this:

It had been his 69th birthday on Friday. A milestone. For those of us with senses of humour.
Inasmuch as I am broken right now, I am so grateful that David Robert Jones decided to pursue art. Decided that the fight that took the vision from his eye and left it paralyzed did not stop him in pursing what he needed to do to live. Music. Acting. Art. Regardless of how much or how little it sold, how successful or unsuccessful, how much people liked or didn’t like it, he continued. He did what he wanted to do his way, and he made it all so fucking cool.

David Bowie was cool because he was. He didn’t try to be cool. He was just himself. To an extent. He kept his real self hidden deep below the personae he portrayed in public. That led to serious substance abuse, self-doubt, naiveté when it came to the business side – remember, this is the man who lost EVERYTHING because of scoundrels in the music industry. This was the man who got sole custody of his son in 1978 at a time when judges didn’t even contemplate that a mother could be a poor influence. This is a man who wasn’t afraid to say he was gay or bi or wear makeup or have long hair at a time when much of society had never even seen a gay or transgendered person.

And he got it all back. His money. His confidence. After years of being someone else on stage, he finally showed his face, but it was still the face we wanted, and often needed, to see. Even in the last video for Lazarus, with his well-worn face, it was the visage we needed for reassurance that all was not lost in the world of originality or creativity. We would not be washed over with monotony. His last light to shine, while the last thing he kept from us was the cancer that was taking him away. 

In the background I have a bootleg going of the 1995 Outside tour with Nine Inch Nails. This is still one of the best live extravaganzas I had the honour and pleasure of attending. How much has young Trent grown in those 20 years. How much did that tour confirm that Bowie would always be the master of the rock and roll stage?

There are a million tributes to Bowie in as many languages today. They started last week with the release of Blackstar. And what a way to go – Bowie entered our collective consciousness on his own terms, and he left on his own terms. How many people can say that?

For me, Bowie wasn’t just a schoolgirl or teenage crush that fades. My love, admiration, respect, and adoration for Bowie grew as I grew. Whenever I have been stuck creatively, I don’t look to other writers as much as I look to musicians, and of those, it’s David Bowie I go back to, time and time again. WWDBD. Absolutely.

Bowie wasn’t afraid to fail. He took those failures and turned them into lessons learned. He helped other artists to know not to make the same mistakes. He went with his creative gut instinct no matter how things turned out.

All that and more comes out in Blackstar. That poor album is going to be dissected to death like some type of Shakespearean play now. Don’t get me wrong – Blackstar is brilliant, it is woefully prophetic, heartbreaking in places. But it is an album and a thank you gift. This should not be taken apart. It 
should be accepted as it was presented, just as we accepted the man, and we should accept ourselves.

I wrote this on my personal Facebook page as a status for what will always be my Christmas Day, January 8th, and it sums up how I will always feel:

Happy 69th Birthday to the one and only David Bowie. Thank you for everything you have done. You are my god of creativity and pretty well all of life. I hope that one day I can have the same kind of courage with my artistry that you do, and have it even be 1/4 as masterful. Oh and thanks for the gift of Blackstar today.

Rest In Peace, David. Enjoy the incredible jam session you're about to walk into, and steal the entire show.