Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ground Control to Major Tom

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Let me say, that like most, I was totally taken by surprise at the passing of David Bowie.  I am a huge Bowie fan, so when I woke up on Monday morning and heard the news that David Bowie had died, I just couldn't believe it.  I was in total shock.  I had just heard that he released a new album on the preceding Friday, which was his 69th birthday.  I heard Jimmy Fallon mention his new album (Blackstar) and accompanying video, in which Jimmy said that Bowie had stolen his signature move for doing his Thank You letters skit on The Tonight Show (jokingly of course).  So, needless to say, I expected Bowie to show up on The Tonight Show to promote his new album.  His death really through me for a loop.

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My introduction to David Bowie, was at a young impressionable age, when I used to stay up late on Friday nights to watch a show called Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.  This show introduced me to many amazing artist, like David Bowie, The Police, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, just to name a few.  The show would feature these artist in concert, as well as showing their videos and interviews.  This was well before MTV and VH1 had even been a thought.  The music, fashion and overall culture fascinated me and I quickly became hooked.  I loved watching the show because it allowed me to experience something outside the context of my environment.

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I remember seeing David Bowie videos and I was mesmerized.  Here was this flamboyant, stylish, handsome androgynous man, with two different colored eyes, doing what most would call performance art, to some really great music.  I remember in one of his videos, I can't remember for which song, but he kissed an African American man on the mouth, which was unheard of back then.  His style was so ahead of its time, that for many he really did seem like he was from another planet.  That being said, his influence on art, music, movies, culture and fashion is still being witnessed.  For instance, the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga got a lot of their tricks of the trade from the influence of David Bowie.  His many incarnations, which consisted of Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke , etc. allowed him to constantly reinvent himself. Not many artist can become a chameleon so flawlessly with such style and panache and be extremely successful at it.  He kept people guessing at who or what he would become next.  That was part of his appeal.  He gave a voice to those who felt that they didn't belong or fit in.  He made them feel like it was OK to be truly unique and to embrace being different.

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His marriage to Iman was also a source of admiration.  They were married for 24 years, which is almost unheard of in the entertainment industry, especially by two legendary icons.  They seemed to really just get each other.  I remember seeing an interview with Iman, where she stated that they were soul-mates, they definitely gave off that type of vibe.  I believe that Iman was trying to tell us what was happening without actually saying it through her post on Instagram that she made a day before he died.  She made two revealing post,  "Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory", and "The struggle is real, but so is God".  I believe that only his family knew that he was dying from liver cancer.  That in his last video, he was cryptically trying to tell us what was going on, in true Bowie style.  

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Like many have suggested, perhaps he was from another planet and has now returned from which he came.  The mark that he made will never be experienced again, he was truly one of a kind, an innovator, a legendary creative genius.  The world is a bit dimmer without the vibrant color that he brought to it.   His hauntingly stylized voice was in a class all its own, as was he. A true original!!!

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As one journalist put it so poignantly, that everyone was so happy to have Bowie back (with the release of his new album) that we didn't realize that he was actually saying goodbye.

RIP  David Jones (aka David Bowie)

The Female Perspective

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