Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (Five, Four, Three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (Two, One, Liftoff)
I remember hearing these lyrics on the radio when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I felt scared, curious and I liked it. I remember I asked my Dad who was singing. He said it was David Bowie with a comment added about how great and cool he was and that I should listen to more of his music. It was several years later that I took my Dad’s advice; of course I didn’t listen to him straight away. In High School my friend Katie had a ‘Best of Bowie’ album that we used to listen to all the time in her room. She later gave me this album and I got to know Bowie’s music more intimately from then on. My favourite songs being ‘The Man Who Sold the World’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and ‘Golden Years’, but really there are so many more.
I remember I researched him on the Internet and found out that his birthday, the 8th of January, was the same as mine(and Elvis Presley, but I wasn’t interested in him at the time). This started a crazed obsession with his lyrics, watching his videos and studying his clothing and style. WOW! What an artist? I remember watching ‘Labyrinth’ for the first time at about age 6 or 7 and wishing Jareth the Goblin King would fall in love with me. David Bowie has been a staple in my life, as he has been for many of us. Generations have been moved by his music, influenced by his fashion and inspired by his innovation and creativity. Some of the students I teach in secondary school love his music and think he’s really cool. Now that’s pretty amazing for a man who was in his late 60s.
The announcement of Bowie’s passing was strangely surreal. I was on the phone to a good friend who had just told me she was pregnant, and I was laughing and joking and carrying on from happiness. Then Luke, my husband, yelled from upstairs ‘Bowie is dead!’ It took a long time for the information to sink in. I spent the evening trying to read a book, whilst in between each paragraph I was on Google finding information on his death, looking at people’s posts and tributes on Facebook. Social media has the capacity to bring us together in times like this and that is exactly what I was seeing. It was beautiful. Before I went to sleep I watched Bowie’s video clips for his latest songs ‘Black Star’ and ‘Lazarus’. The videos were mysterious, dark and magical. They haunted my dreams and made me cry. A gift to us before his death. Thank you.
I never had the opportunity to see Bowie live, I was always too broke or too busy, silly me. When I messaged a friend yesterday she wrote that she couldn’t quite comprehend the news. She said she thought Bowie was immortal. It’s strange but I think we all kind of did. He was someone we worshipped and we continue to worship. Today a sense of loss fills me. My Dad messaged me this morning saying, ‘Sad about Bowie, I almost cried.’ I wrote back, ‘I cried. I remember you were the first one who told me how great he was. Thanks Dad’. The world has lost an artist like no other. My heart goes out to his children, wife, loved ones and friends.
Noel Fielding yesterday tweeted ‘What do we do now?’
I don’t know Noel, what do we do now? The world is forever changed by the greatness that was David Bowie.
I will dance in tribute to his greatness soon. Heck, I might even make an artwork about it. I will sing loudly and watch his videos and movies over and over again, in memory. But for now I’m quiet, reflective.
David Bowie forever.
The world is in mourning.
‘Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me’
lyrics from Lazarus, David Bowie, 2016.