Monday, 11 January 2016

Bye, Bye Bowie

What words can convey what it means to lose a Hero? It's a cliche to say that someones music was the "soundtrack to my life" but in David Bowie's case it's as true for me as it is for so many others around the world who, like me are shocked by today's news.

It seems that I was always aware of his music but most likely it was Space Oddity and, truth be told, The Laughing Gnome that I first heard and made an impression on my very young mind. I do remember seeing the colourful Diamond Dogs gatefold LP sleeve on display in our small town's only record (and combined toyshop!) window, so that was in 1974, although I didn't 'get' that music particularly at the time, at only 9 years old I was too young.

For me it was 1980's wonderful Ashes to Ashes which finally allowed me to embrace Bowie, rushing out - as you did back then - to buy the album, Scary Monsters and Supercreeps on cassette which I played to death. This remains my favourite Bowie album, subsequently buying vinyl and CD versions which I still play, and famously also having a 'bubblegum' version which was a very brief craze in the early 1980's of popular records - sadly I no longer have this!

Once Scary Monsters had been absorbed, I was hungry and bought virtually his whole back catalogue including early Deram material with obscure but enjoyable tunes, such as Love You Till Tuesday, Come Buy My Toys, Little Boy Blue and the wonderful creepy Please Mr Gravedigger!

I followed his influences into Iggy, the Velvets and Lou Reed and championed his corner when most of my contemporaries didn't, moving on to the likes of Phil Collins, Rod Stewart etc when I proudly remained (and still do) on the edges of popular culture.

I was lucky enough to see Bowie live three times, following my own life moving through the UK, Serious Moonlight, Scotland 1983, Glass Spider, Wales 1987 and Heathen Tour, England 2002. I kept on with his music throughout with a slight lapse after Tin Machine and was delighted that recent releases, although more sporadic, were still quality and worthy of his talent. We even went to London for the excellent V&A retrospective a couple of years ago, which didn't disappoint.

I bought 'Blackstar' on Saturday so had only played it a couple of times before today's sad news, but it's lyrics, atmosphere and of course those preceding videos were obviously prophetic and it seems his parting gift to us all. I don't mind admitting that I cried when I heard the news but take comfort from the fact that I'm not alone and never will be as I still have his music to accompany my life, bye, bye Mr Bowie and thank you x


  1. What a lovely personal tribute, Colin. Like you, I think, I'm a 'true fan' of only a small handful of creative people, and when their artistic endeavours touch your own life it can seem like a very personal relationship. Bowie's death is a big shock - you felt as though he was still on an exciting journey of discovery and had more to offer, despite his long career. The only other famous person's death who I can recall shocking and upsetting me as much (probably a bit more actually, in my case) was Freddie Mercury. Most of my other idols are/were already long dead!

  2. Thanks Garen, you're exactly right, Bowie was one of the few real heroes I have had. There are others I admire and respect but only Bowie was the ever inspiring constant to my life, so, like so many I feel his loss. I think though that like Freddie Mercury, Bowie's memory and music will live on for a long time to come, inspiring future generations; "Let all the Children Boogie" :)