My week long “digital detox” from Facebook and Twitter ended on Monday, just in time for me to read of the news of the death of one of my heroes, David Bowie. David Bowie wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but he certainly influenced my youth, my taste in music and my view of originality. He showed me that it was fine to stand out, to be different, to say challenging things, and because the way that he delivered ideas was always in a non threatening way, he managed to get his point across in a way that seemed to really work. David Bowie didn’t make angry music, instead he wrote thoughtful songs about emotions and life situations. These past two days, because of my return to Facebook and its never ending feed of information and posts, I’ve been on a long, and occasionally tearful, jog down memory lane back to my childhood when Ashes to Ashes and Let’s Dance were hits. I was too young to enjoy the Aladdin Sane and Thin White Duke eras first time around, but I lapped up the albums as my interest in Bowie grew. I liked his style and I liked his groove. I respected him as an poet, a style icon and a performer: even when he did that awful song “Dancing in the Streets” with Mick Jagger he got away with it.
As the world started to react to the news of David Bowie’s passing so it also listened closely to the lyrics of this songs: the most recent single, Lazarus, released only last week on his 69th birthday opens with the line “Look up here, I’m in heaven”. Even in his death David Bowie was expressing himself as elegantly and originally as he had done in his lifetime. He seems to have faced and considered his own demise with clarity and thoughtfulness, measuring out exactly what he wanted to say about it, delivering it perfectly.
But now he’s gone, who do we have breaking the mould, standing up and being themselves, not being afraid to express themselves profoundly? We must take inspiration from this amazing man’s life and be proud of our individuality and of our thoughts, there is nothing wrong with being well educated, of reading, of having deep and intense conversations. Having spent a week away from social media I’ve realised that recently I’ve been too busy trying to collect information and not busy enough trying to understand it. That should be our mission for now, to try to absorb and understand more, to reflect out, to be more Bowie, and less X Factor.
RIP David Bowie. 1947 – 2016