Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Few Words About Bowie

   Since hearing the news of David Bowie’s death, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of what I was going to say on this blog.  Before knowing of his passing, I’d intended this week’s post to be the usual random review of one of my vinyl albums.  Initially, I thought I would just proceed as usual with this plan.  However, once I actually sat down to compose this post I realized it wouldn’t be right to not acknowledge the impact David Bowie’s music has made on my life.  Keeping this in mind, I was not about to write a review on an icon who just passed away.  In my opinion, a time of mourning is not a time of critique.  I concluded that the best I could do, would be to pursue the route that I do best.  I would write a stream of consciousness piece regarding an individual that often played a starring role in the soundtrack of my life.  I can only hope that the words I choose here are worthy of a man whose own words I have found myself repeating many times…often boisterously…and horribly off key.
   I will never forget one of the first parties I attended upon moving back to my home state of South Dakota.  At the time, I was in a rather fragile emotional state.  I had recently endured a fairly lengthy and extremely painful breakup which had caused me to, "hightail it," back to the safety of not only the, “boring,” rural plains, but also my parents basement until I could piece together the shambles of my life.  I remember I had just started a new job, when a coworker of mine asked me if I would like to join her and some friends at a house party that evening.  I hesitantly agreed, petrified of my seemingly growing inability to relate to the general public.  However, at the time I was a heavy drinker and knew that after a few I would at least be able to relax. 
   The night proceeded fairly painfully.  Due to the fact that I knew virtually no one at the gathering, and seemed to have absolutely nothing in common with the people there I began to predict a bleak future in my newly acquired surroundings.  I believe it was at this time that the host, bless his charitable heart, must have sensed my growing despair and led me to his shelf of music telling me to pick out whatever I wanted to hear.  Yeah, we’re talking CD's people.  Man, I miss those things.  Anyway, there it was staring me right in the face, a fairly complete David Bowie collection!  I looked no further, grabbed the predictable choice of, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” and threw it in the stereo, skipping ahead to the song, “Starman.”
   What happened next was truly magical.  Again, keep in mind I was a pretty big mess at the time.  For about nine months I had barely spoken to anyone other than immediate family.  It was a HUGE deal that I had agreed to go to a social gathering.  My confidence had been destroyed by past events and issues that were still plaguing me.  Basically, I was just one big bubble of social anxiety ready to burst at anytime.  However, on this particular evening, right when I thought I may start screaming and jump out the nearest window in order to avoid another horrifically awkward conversation full of lies on how I, "found myself so happy to be back in South Dakota",…yes, on this evening David Bowie arrived and rescued me.
   All of a sudden I found myself theatrically belting out the lyrics, “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky.  He’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds.”  Considering this was the most I'd said the whole evening... and I was kind of singing, kind of half hysterically screaming many of the party goers looked rather shocked in response to my voice.  However, I didn’t care.  I loved the song, “Starman.”  It was a song that friends and I had sung together millions of times in the past…the way past…the good times before all the bad.  Sitting there drunk in that roomful of strangers, silently mourning the loss of my relationship, confidence, and independence it felt amazing to say, “Fuck it, this just feels good.”  So, I kept going, “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky.  He’s told us not to blow it cause he knows it’s all worthwhile,” I shouted.  Some of the people at the party started to laugh at my, “drunken,” outburst, but others began to join in.  Soon about four of us, including the host, was bellowing, “Starman,” at the top of our lungs.  It felt amazing.  I was singing.  I was singing so passionately I was spitting, but most of all at that moment I was smiling.  Finally, I caught a flicker of the person I used to be. Finally, for just a moment I'd returned to being that overly cocky girl at the party who wasn’t afraid to sing out of key.  Of course, after that evening of drunken sing-alongs I returned back to my socially paralyzed state.  However, at that particular party I realized I had the ability to find an individual in me I thought I had completely lost.   
   In conclusion, if I could speak to David Bowie now I would say, "Mr. Bowie in a way your music brought me back from the dead.  I had the ability to love the song, "Starman," during a time that I hated life most.  It's realizations like this that assured me I still had the capability and desire to become the woman I ultimately knew I was destined to be."  That's why I know David Bowie can't be dead. He resurrects the dead.  Like Bowie's character, Ziggy Stardust, we all rise and fall during the course of our lives.  However, I suspect the most talented and extraordinary individuals among us ultimately end up going to live with the spiders from Mars.  The rest of us plain Earthlings just sing about them.

(I highly suggest singing along)

1 comment:

  1. I know Bowie's death was very sad for you, but it precipitated this very revealing and touching "stream of consciousness" blog post. I remember those difficult days that you endured, but I did not know how much David Bowie helped you. I too have found solace in music during difficult times.