My memories of David Bowie and my years as a teen in 1970s Britain cannot be separated from one another; they are stitched tightly together like a tapestry and as I discovered this week have not lost any of their potency.
I actually watched my hands shake when I read the news of his passing and have not been able to write about it till today.
My much older brother (whom I very fondly call ‘Spock’ ) took great enjoyment in regularly skewering my admiration of Bowie at the time although interestingly, this “phase” would continue into my adulthood since this was Not. A. Puppy Luu-uuv). Spock would frequently suggest that if Bowie was really the talent I claimed he was, he would not have to resort to the ‘gimmickry’ of different personas etc.
(Let’s just say that my brother was not entirely comfortable with Bowie’s sparkling, off-the-shoulder body stocking …)
Years later I stopped arguing with my brother or anyone else because if you are asking this kind of question you have either never listened to the music (yes, Spock I am looking at you) or, you just didn’t get it.
In which case, I feel badly for you – but cannot explain it.
To me Bowie was a poet, a self-taught intellectual (and that crisp, almost Royal annunciation wasn’t acquired on the streets of Brixton either) and despite the glittery beginning I absolutely lusted after him. His voice could bring me to my knees (the earnest phrasing, the lingering over a syllable) and I listened over and over, often deep into the night, creating my own anthems, hearing something different each time. Continue reading
I was really rattled this Christmas when I suddenly realized that I could scale back the baking considerably. I was also more suspicious than relieved. The need for a pyramid of mincemeat tarts, hamper-sized bags of potato chips and a massive raft of San Pellegrino usually associated with the weeks leading up to the holidays would just not be required this year; worse still, even though I have had neither of my boys living at home for more than a year now, I have somehow been unconsciously assuming that the situation was temporary and that soon everything would revert to its Normal State.
Whatever that is.
Christmas is a bit tricky too because there’s no one at home and then everyone returns home for a day or two, here and there, maybe dropping in for a dinner just long enough to reignite all the same maternal brain-patterns as before: sock donuts may be left tucked into the couch, fancy Christmas hand towels are hung up with the pattern on the inside or not hung up at all and why doesn’t someone text if they won’t be back till 3:30am when they are staying over … Continue reading
I’ve recently taken to listening to internet radio in my kitchen, often late at night with a glass of wine and I am freshly astonished how music that I have literally not heard for years can immediately evoke a feeling I have left alone (or in some cases been strenuously avoiding) almost at once. Yes I know this is not profound but it’s still rattling to be transported to that exact place in time when I first experienced the hornet’s sting of unrequited love, abject, soul twisting misery and of course a ‘70s haircut. (Those last two may have been connected come to think of it …)