David Bowie, J and Me


I've been suffering somewhat with insomnia lately, but Sunday night I not only got some sleep but I also had the most vivid dream. It was a really odd dream involving an old friend whom I don't speak to anymore but seems to pop up in my thoughts about once a year in that way I can't get rid of until I spend a few minutes reading his twitter feed (yes I went and found it) and his website (don't judge me you know you've done it too) and being really careful to leave no footprints because he now thinks I'm the antichrist.

This is going to get to the point soon I promise.

So I found myself in a dream I knew was a dream with J, and essentially we made up. Turned out he was really sick, cancer, and wanted to make up; realised we both were partially to blame for it all and we had a moment. There was a bit of a Perks of Being a Wallflower moment with David Bowie as the soundtrack. I put this down to too much cheese and the 18 monthly or so cycle of me feeling crap about the fact we don't talk.

I'm not going to go off on a psychic tangent, but my old man used to say there was no such thing as coincidence, and there have been too many "I've had a feeling" moments that turned out to have more than a scent of precognition about them. Whatever, I find it too much of a coincidence that the morning I wake up from a dream about the best friend I had as a teenager, the boy with whom I shared old music and all the crap of being a teen, later my bi-curious boyfriend who had a Bowie thing, I wake up to the news David Bowie died.

I told you I had a point.

It was an odd day, There was a lot of hugging at work, lamenting the old man wasn't around for what I'm sure would have been an amazing Bowie anecdote. Dad always had amazing anecdotes, and for a fellow Brixton born musician I'm sure it would have been ace. There was also a hell of a lot of David Bowie. I'm told there wasn't a shop in Brighton not playing Bowie today.

Everyone today was mourning, and everyone was sharing their favourite David Bowie songs. The constant re-inventor of self, whatever sub-culture or facet or whatever you want to call it, there is a Bowie for you. Unlike some of the others we lost (Terry Pratchett stands as an example) everyone has their Bowie. For some they got there via Ice Ice Baby, through the "sample" of  Under Pressure. For some its Hunky Dory era Bowie. For others it's not Bowie at all, its always going to be Ziggy Stardust.

For me at first it was Labyrinth, but then I bloody love puppets so that is hardly a surprise. But for the music, really, it was and always will be Heroes. There is that bassline that just gets you in the gut, with the spiralling guitar behind. But, the music being spectacular is never enough, and it is as always the lyrics. I listen to it and I am 18, and I believe it is my life. At that moment I am a hero, and we were king and queen , To quote Perks of Being a wallflower, in this moment we are infinite. It is another coincidence that the book was that time for me, and in the movie they replaced the pivotal song with Heroes (in the book its Fleetwood Mac). It seems odd that someone wouldn't know Bowie, but as I said everyone had their own. Stephen Chbosky who wrote Perks said himself said it, 

'In the early '90s, David Bowie was "Let's Dance" to me. He was that guy.' The whole '70s Bowie, because I was more into grunge, I came late to him." 

Some of us did, some of us found Bowie through soundtracks or movies, some of us never connected Vanilla Ice to Ziggy Stardust. Some of us always loved him, others found him at a time we needed. We all have our own Bowie and for me, he was the guy who's music made me dance, made me think about who I was and who I wanted to be. Through him I saw reinvention as possible, and that maybe I could be who I wanted to. His music peppered through my life, like polka dots on a snaking ribbon. 

Good night Ziggy, Good Night White Duke.  It's been emotional.

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