My Dad had almost all of David Bowie’s albums stacked above the till at our pub. Having already plundered his music stash to binge Pink Floyd, The Who, and R.E.M., it was time for something new. I knew Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs and all those other tunes that seep into pop culture but I had never listened to one of his albums from start to end.
Time to change that; or so I thought. I ripped all of the CDs onto my creaky Dell laptop and trotted off to university where I promptly forgot all about it. Still, I kept the files ready for a time when I would be in the mood for him. I knew the time would come, just not when.
Enter my second year of university.
I had done well in my first year, though nowhere near as well as I’d liked. Temporary freedom from my past gave me room to grow. My living arrangements became uncomfortable and tense (though nowhere near as tense as third year). Music and sexuality had entwined in my life and one day I sat down with Bowie, knowing at last it was time.
By the end of the year my housemates cursed his name. I bought posters of Aladdin Sane, played all his albums as loud as I could without getting in trouble, and marvelled over the way Bowie shifted and transformed so easily. I loved everything I heard even when I didn’t like it. He sounded like everyone and no-one.
Queer kids need their idols. David Bowie flaunted his strangeness without apology and people loved him for it. It’s a horrible shame that he has left us, but that will never dent the legacy he gave us all.
I apologise that this has nothing to do with the usual themes of the blog but this morning we lost an important person. Nor can I write any kind of tribute to him beyond how he changed my life. It is a sad day, and I cannot let it pass without saying something.