We are the dead

It’s very hard to write anything, and I don’t really know where to start. I am just one of millions of people who felt they lost their oldest and most understanding friend on Sunday 10 January 2016.

I first saw David Bowie when he sang Starman on Top of the Pops in 1972. I was 11 and was so entranced by him I just couldn’t get close enough to the screen. He made me feel things in a combination that no other person or situation has ever achieved. An incredible mix of admiration and desire, and an overwhelming need to analyse and understand what he was singing about – surely if he had written it, it must be hugely important? Such a hypnotic presence, and that smile! And then he threw a casual arm around Mick Ronson’s neck and I was his for ever.

I credit him almost entirely for my education – I read books written by the authors he referenced, I investigated the religions he alluded to. So many people: Jung, Kahlil Gibran, Warhol, Baal, Charles Manson, Cassius Clay, Che Guevara, Basquiat, Nabokov, even Benny Goodman – none of those would likely have entered my sphere of consciousness if he hadn’t introduced me to them – personally, it seemed to me. He seemed to collect people and ideas, and then share them out to his fans, ‘Hey, look at this one – have you read this yet? Have you heard about them?’

I think I’m just trying to explain why I feel this loss as such an immensely personal one – I really don’t know who I would have been had I not, together with so many others, been pulled into his orbit and had the opportunity to collect those sparkling gems of information with which his work was littered.

Someone died, someone I never even met, and yet my whole identity is shaken simply by knowing that this person and I are no longer sharing a planet.


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