Wednesday, January 13, 2016

R.I.P David Bowie (1947-2016)

Like most of you I woke up, Monday (1/11/2016) around a quarter of Seven to the shock news that David Bowie had dead at the age of Sixty-Nine something the shocking for Blackstar, his last album had only been released Friday to glowing reviews. 
I'm feeling rather numb even now about this but in looking at his achievements, the first thing I would say is he seldom if ever repeated himself, sometimes to a fault, always reinventing himself and working with new ideas and exploring whole different genres.
His catalogue could never be described as being in anyway samey, indeed you find some fans have one period they major on although perhaps basic I have a more wider interest in music and music-making I'm not in that camp.
He broke new ground in the topics he sang and wrote about, brought new sounds to the mainstreams ears...and moved on to the next.
I could never just pick a half dozen of his albums although Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs Station to Station and Scary Monsters sure would feature.
The other area I'd say was outside of music, he was a proper actor who did star in three films not least The Man Who Fell To Earth and in several stage productions, did understand the importance of creating personas, costumes and staging  which in conjunction with the use of music videos which he was a pioneer of, provided the total package. It's quite probable that the American Hard Rockers Kiss were influence by aspects of his work, the story telling and that total package from Hunky Dory and Ziggy era.
The other area was in being open about his sexuality, exploring gender presentation together with  Lou Reed and to an extent Elton John collectively they opened up a conversation around what it means to have a sexual and gender identity, how we express it and how that differs for all of us. 
For anyone who was Lgbtqi in the 70's and 80's you don't need me to say just how being himself, David give us space and aided the greater toleration of difference. We owe him that regardless of our music tastes and I suspect for a good number of the depth of feeling we have in mourning him is influenced by that, it has a personal quality to it.
He also to his credit took on MTV in its lack of music of black origin in it's early days and even of the faces of People of Colour from its programming and got that changed.
Rest in Peace David.

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