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