Woke up this morning. David Bowie is dead.
Nothing has changed.
He has always been dead. Acceptance, the seventh stage of grief. It had to happen sooner or later.
Sometimes, when I blink, it feels like Nina Simone is still alive. Certainly, when I gaze at her face – so proud, so human, so beautiful – on YouTube, and I listen to her sing over and over again, it feels like she might still be alive somewhere. Touchable. Here. Have a listen. Please. Go on. I’m pleading with you now, down on my knees, beating my chest so it hurts. Can’t you feel it?
David has always been part of the rock’n’roll mythology. Indeed, he was part of the rock’n’roll mythology before I even knew such a thing existed. So in a way he’s always been dead to be. Untouchable. I often have difficulty remembering what happened the previous day so other years, other lifetimes, are going to mean little to me in this life of unrelenting similarity, unrelenting difference. David Bowie is dead. Nothing has changed. David Bowie is alive? He has always been dead. Does it feel like that to you as well? That sense of eternity, of the void. Or is the wound still raw and fresh in your memory, tangible, touchable? I do not remember where I was when I heard Joey Ramone had died, nor where I was when I heard Nina Simone had died, nor Douglas Adams. I was younger then, and in denial. I know precisely where I was when I discovered David Bowie was dead. (Look ma, look at all those links below! I documented it!) My life is no longer as marked by major events so even the ripple currents created by the actions of “intimate strangers” take on strange importance.
I have a habit of glancing at the Facebook feed on my iPhone seconds after I wake up. David Bowie has died. No. This cannot be true. He has just released his new album. He is fine spiritual and artistic form. He is still relevant, very much part of the tapestry of everyday life. Fuck off. I wake up suddenly, call out to Charlotte. “David Bowie has died.” “Are you sure?” “No. Just checking.” Sure enough. My Facebook feed is swamped by folk feeling similar shock and denial. I go downstairs, get on the computer. More confirmation. Still cannot believe it. Play Starman, tears prickling behind my eyelids. Play Space Oddity, Five Years, Let’s Dance, Heroes… as the kids argue and rage on the half-level behind me. (Daniel wants to show off his extendable torch so he switches the lights off: Isaac has just settled down to eating his toast.) Cancer. His son released the statement. Don’t read further, don’t need to. (David Bowie and the 7 stages of grief)
His music is the part of the same mythology it always was. When I was 15 or 16 – before I claim to have discovered popular music, I know – I would live out every single word from ‘Life On Mars’, constructing torturous, unrepeatable poetry (always shared) around its stanzas. (I have always liked songs about the rain.)
When I was younger I would sit in envy of his fans, scared and frightened.
I remain scared and frightened, perhaps more so now.
Similar posts (albeit a little longer):
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 20
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 17
‘Your friends are a massive bunch of dicks’. Bowie fans and Guardian readers get personal.
reasons i am not that sort of bowie fan
a dozen of my favourite covers of David Bowie songs
reasons I am not a David Bowie fan
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 6
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 5
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 4
the troubled diary of a David Bowie fan, day 3
The next day after in London: a photographic tribute to David Bowie
David Bowie and the 7 stages of grief
A tribute to David Bowie (the playlist)
The Man Who Changed The World
A cut-out-and-keep review of the new David Bowie album