You study Zen, Kabuki Theatre from the East and you read Kerouac and Ginsberg. You are a precociously talented musician, fragile and flawed with flashes of day glo brilliance. You're male but sometimes you like to wear dresses. You enjoy surprising and shocking people but, essentially, you're very shy and reserved. Very polite, mild mannered, very...... "English".
You make an album that thousands of teenagers feel speaks to them somehow of temporary moments, rare synapses of felt connection, the dark of the unknown future, waiting just around the corner. Dystopian elegance, wild optimism, naive hopefulness all combine with sheer hard creative effort.
You sprinkle it with brilliant piano playing. Shards of guitar. You are afraid and also excited and it can be heard and felt in this amazing album.
You experiment with drugs, sexual identity and style. You seek FAME. Despite the potential cost to your sanity.
You move in arty circles and are seen by many as a spokesman for a generation. The media follow your every move and co create an aura of other worldliness. The MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. THE ALIEN TRAPPED ON A MAD PLANET.
Sometimes, you are unsure as to WHO you really are, who we ALL really are. Who we might be.
You have an elder half brother who sometimes struggles with hearing terrible voices and it alarms you.
You love him but you are attracted by his madness and repelled all at the same time. It conjures up possibilities but also makes you afraid that you may have inherited the same condition. You tightrope walk between mad and sane, mine the experience for creative potential, try to keep the worst of your anxieties at bay.
One day he will kill himself on a train track when he runs away from a psychiatric unit. You can not attend his funeral .He is called TERRY JONES and you are DAVID BOWIE.
Bowie wrote, years later of how he constantly altered his own persona and how he was often submerged beneath the identities of the stage names and alter egos he created. How, in rehearsal he became ZIGGY STARDUST and couldn't let go of or be let go BY his own creation. The blurring of identities. Sometimes a very risky process. Film actors and theatre performers know of these experiences when they inhabit the characters they are portraying.
And just where did the songs come from? Were they always waiting out there somewhere, fully formed and awaiting invitation? The visit of the Muses?
Where did David Bowie stop and David Jones begin? And who could explain Ziggy Stardust adequately?
All of this and so much more. Cocaine and Heroin were often Bowies' bedfellows. Berlin and Lou Reed. Iggy Pop all waited for him. Rehab, remodel and consistent re invention.
No wonder we teenagers lay around in our bedrooms in the 1970s, endlessly replaying Bowies' albums, trying to suck all the meaning out while mum and dad argued downstairs in the kitchen. We cut our hair into feather styles and both girls and boys wore eye make up and sequins and glitter.
Bowie was unique and different and straddled the lines, blurring gender distinctions, challenging stereotypes and in doing so, he helped prepare the way for punk.
It was literally the soundtrack to our own inner turbulence, our existential angst, our issues of self identity, our own form of Divine Madness, whether temporary or permanent. . and for that we say...
Thank you David!
Activist/ Health worker/ 20 years. Specific interests : wellness/ voice hearing/ coping/ exploring/ sharing/ stigma reduction.