On David Bowie: What can I say? I got his albums on vinyl when I was a youth. As an adult I got everything he released and always cited Heathen as his return to form. I sometimes took my time getting to listen to his later works; I’d started listening to the second of two available tracks from Blackstar on Friday, and was so impressed! I opted only to listen, choosing not to watch the elaborate music videos he made for them until today, after I heard of his death this morning.
I knew, or had an idea, that he was going to pass away imminently, in the sense that I’d worried that his choice to wait until his birthday (Jan 8) to release Blackstar was a risky proposition if he wanted to be around to hear the critical reaction. (I hope his family – Iman and Duncan and whomever else was in his close family – told him that the reception to it was very warm indeed, and that he knew they were being truthful).
I knew he’d been ill since his heart attack in 2004, in fact my first blog entry was written about him, back in July 2004 (writing, “he’s so good right now at this stage of his recording career, it would be a shame for earth to lose him.”) I don’t mean to sound as if I am competing with other Bowie fans when I note that my music player has more than 250 recordings of his concerts; I simply found that not only was his writing superior, but his many different performances were almost all worth hearing. And yet it took a reporter to make me notice the obvious bit that Bowie was a bit of a science fiction writer, in that many of his albums are close to concept albums about aliens and future dystopias and such. I knew I liked science fiction, and I had to laugh when I realized that his sci-fi bent may also be part of why I got into Bowie!
I am so grateful for him. There’s a meme going around saying that “the Earth is 4,345,000,000 years old and somehow you managed to live during the same time as David Bowie”. Truly, in our time, we were better off to have had David Bowie among us.
Last word about Bowie today: By leaving with the video of Lazarus, he completed his artistic life on his own terms. Bravo.