It’s only forever, not long at all …

“The truth of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”

It still doesn’t feel real, and I’m not sure it ever will. Is the concept of life and death even applicable to someone like David Bowie? His legacy is so much bigger than the idea of him not being a living breathing resident of this planet anymore. The Starman went back from whence he came – and he’s probably smiling at all of us idiots because he’s fooled us all one last time.

Initially I wanted to review Blackstar, which was released just three days ago on his 69th birthday on January 8th. Critics have been praising it – but nobody realised that this was David Bowie saying goodbye the only way David Bowie would. Through art. In retrospect, the singles Blackstar and Lazarus spelled it out before our very eyes, and yet nobody caught on (or wanted to) that he was saying farewell – leaving the rest of us mortals with one last stroke of genius to marvel at.

Look up here, I’m in heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen / I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen / Everybody knows me now.

Much like his many stage personae and characters he played, David Robert Jones always seemed to be more than human to me. And I think that’s a good thing, it’s what he strove for. One year ago, it would have been easier for me to put all my thoughts into more sophisticated phrases – David Bowie, the artist, was the most interesting subject I ever had the pleasure to study in an academic context. Today, I’m just a fan overhwhelmed by the idea that one of my greatest idols passing away.
The impact of David’s passing has been huge – everybody is mourning the Starman. He has influenced (and continues to) so many people’s lives with the music and art he created over more than five decades. At the end of the day, I suppose we all wish we could be more like him – be bolder, take more risks, always change, never stay still. If there’s one thing I admire about David Bowie, it is his unapologetic way of always redefining his own discourse. There is no way to define him as an artist because he was and is so many things at once – and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
It never was meant to be a eulogy, but I feel like Tilda Swinton’s 2013 dinner speech at the opening of the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum was the best attempt to summarise him …

“And you remained the reliable mortal amongst all the immortal shapes you have thrown. […] Yet, I think the thing I’m loving most about the last few weeks is how clear it is now – how undeniable – that the freak becomes the great unifier. The alien is the best company after all, for so many more than the few. […] Dave Jones, our not so absent, not so invisible, friend. Every alien’s favourite cousin. Certainly mine. We have a nice life. Yours aye, Tilly.”

What is there left to say? I’m thankful for all the creative output that David Bowie has given us over these years – being my age, I have witnessed so little while it actually happened, so there’ll always be so much more to explore.
Thank you for so much more than just the music, David – you’ll always be the immortal Starman to me. Hope you’re having fun on Mars – can’t really picture you going anywhere else.

Oh no love, you’re not alone / No matter what or who you’ve been / No matter when or where you’ve seen / All the knives seem to lacerate your brain / I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain / You’re not alone.

 

Originally posted on my old blog on the day of David Bowie’s passing.
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