Is it already two years since David Bowie died? I heard someone mention his anniversary this morning and I immediately had to review my DB playlist and listen to a couple of tunes I hadn’t heard in a long time. Scrolling through the album covers on my phone, I was whisked back to a time when I first was introduced to Bowie, and then listened to him religiously.
There was something — no, actually, there was a lot — about Bowie that was so… incredible. His voice: rich, deep… and sexy. His music: so different, his songs so varied. Poppy, but with a dark, untouchable edge.
And his look: that uber cool, angular, slinky vibe, with slicked back hair, and boxy clothes hanging off him. Or his glam rock thing — the part hipster, part outcast Ziggy Stardust. And later, his Scary Monsters clown, which was an awesome ‘new’ Bowie all over again. (FYI: A very creepy rendition of the clown played a villain in the UK retro police show Ashes to Ashes (sequel to Life on Mars) — this clip is 1:10 — watch the last 15 seconds in particular.)
I have a few David Bowie ‘moments’ that have flitted through my mind today, so I thought I’d do a quick dash down Memory Lane and share them.
- Popping over after school (Grade 10? 11?) to Cheapies Records on Yonge Street. I so loved Cheapies. And it’s where I bought Changes One.
- Playing catwalk model (Grade 9) in my living room to the throbbing pulse of Golden Years — only to have my dad walk in on me. Soooooooooo embarrassing.
- Listening for the first time to Scary Monsters at my cousins’ place in Smiths Falls. The title song made me feel like the bogey man was coming to get me. And then I heard Fashion. I still have to dance when I play that song. (That bass! Fashion, turn to the left… Fashion, turn to the right…)
- Late-night basement parties with ‘the gang’, dancing away to Suffragette City, with everyone in the room bellowing at the appropriate moment: Wham bam thank-you ma’am!
- The time I watched my crush walk off a sports field with his recently reunited ex. A gang of us had attended a soccer game on a warm Sunday afternoon in summer, and I’d hoped (fingers and toes crossed) to ‘bump into him’. Then he’d shown up with her. Watching the two of them leave the game together, my heart ached. Someone nearby must have been playing a boom box, because Heroes is always the soundtrack to that memory.
- Watching Bowie — along with Catherine Deneuve — in The Hunger on Halloween in Ryerson’s Filling Station.
- Watching BBC’s Life on Mars and, later, Ashes to Ashes: great shows, with great Bowie music.
- Driving my teen-aged daughter and her friends around Mississauga, listening to Loving the Alien. (How do I remember that, yet forget to put on deodorant in the morning?)
I would never have called myself a hardcore Bowie fan. But I liked and grew up with a lot of his music. I also found the man himself fascinating. I felt he exuded a sort of invincibility; he was always creating and innovating, and over the years, he seemed to age well — he never really (to me) looked ‘old’. So it was a shock when the news hit two years ago.
RIP Bowie; your music lives on.