[sic] Magazine

David Bowie RIP

I suppose I am still processing this news. It may take a while but I will be far from alone. Today a legend fell. Today we lost one of the greats.

I don’t want to write this in fact. It seems an obvious thing to say but it is true. I almost believed that I never would. How can Bowie be gone? Bowie was a constant. Bowie was permanent. An Elvis for the outsiders. The absolute daddy of everything we now love.

This won’t be an obituary. How can I compete with the Gambaccini’s of the world? Why try? Neither will this be a bio, nor a tribute befitting the man. The platitudes will continue to roll in here and elsewhere. Rightly so. Let this instead be one simple story of how David Bowie’s music touched my life.

To be sincere, I wasn’t that fussed to begin with. My error. The arrogance of youth cannot be overstated here. I loved my bands (Joy Division, OMD, Cocteau Twins). Anything else was shunned. I have a theory that being part of the post-punk generation added to the aforementioned arrogance. To us, punk rock was a kind of ‘ground zero’. Anything that predated punk was obsolete. Laughable even. How little we knew. Luckily I had an older cousin. One of the best type too. Ie one with a record collection. He’d record all my Bunnymen albums and in return try, in vain, to get me into The Doors, The Velvets and of course Bowie. He tried with ‘Suffragette City’, with ‘Sound and Vision’ and ‘Breaking Glass’. (‘Heroes’, you should have gone with ‘Heroes’) All failed.

What succeeded? I’m not sure there was ever a tipping point. The brilliance of the music was always there. It was me who hadn’t been ready. I think I bought Low after learning how Joy Division took their original name from ‘Warszawa’. The penny dropped. Bowie simply influenced everyone who ever influenced me. The Chameleons, Japan, Morrissey, Bauhaus, Kitchens Of Distinction, Suede…. pretty much everyone. Even the artists who disliked Bowie were still influenced by him. Biggest since The Beatles? I’d say so.

I still get a little bit shy and nervous when I meet bands. Even now. A friend asked me who, for me, would be the ultimate musician to encounter. Well, I already met Elizabeth Fraser and yes, my legs went to jelly but somehow I held it together. So I thought about my answer for a moment only. And then I replied, “David Bowie”. I will never experience that now but that’s okay. Some things are far more important. I still have his music and always will. To be honest with you I really am still getting my head around this. I feel empty and the words are not flowing at all. Apologies.

Thoughts and prayers go out to David’s family and friends at this dreadful time.