This week, I meant to write an end of year wrap up/new year kick off note. Instead today, I come here with a heavy heart to talk about David Bowie. By now, you probably know that he passed away at age 69 after an 18 month bout with cancer. The title of this post is taken from a quote from Wil Wheaton, who said today “David Bowie isn’t a mortal like the rest of us. This doesn’t make sense. This isn’t possible.”
Like many people, my first introduction to him was in Labyrinth as Jareth, The Goblin King. There was something crazy, weirdly, seductive about him – one of my friends from middle school confessed a huge crush on him, so I knew it wasn’t just me who saw & felt these things. I’ve re-watched the movie many times since, and there remains a certain something about Jareth that draws you in, makes you want to go to the ball with him.
Over the years, I’ve loved his music, though have never managed to own any of it. There’s huge amounts of his music I’ve probably never heard, as well. But…there was always something about him and his songs. It is because of this casual relationship with his work that I’ve struggled today because when logged on to Facebook last night to see that he had passed, it felt like a sucker punch. Waking up today, I remembered, and then had “Heroes” playing in my head for awhile.
After spending some time reading posts from friends and others, I think I figured it out. An article from Medium shared by a friend has this passage:
”He was the patron saint of all my favorite fellow travelers: the freaks, the fags, the dykes, the queers, the weirdos of all stripes, and that most dangerous creature of all: the artist. He was the crown prince(ss) of the unusual. He was so marvelously, spectacularly weird, and he gave so many oddballs, including this one, hope.“
And it hit me – that’s why. That’s why me and so many others are in mourning today. Not only because a great musician and artist is gone from our world. But he was someone that we could all look up to and say “yeah, I’m different and it’s ok; I matter.”
Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, was released just days ago, on his 69th birthday and is intended as a farewell to all his fans. The final video was released today, “Lazarus,” and it is heartwrenching to watch.. Afterwards, I watched a live performance of “Heroes”, and there’s a line that we – all of us – should take to heart as we go about our lives: “We can be heroes, just for one day.”
The world is a darker, poorer place for his passing, but his legacy will carry on forever.
Good night, Jareth. You will be missed