– by Brittany Seki, Senior Editor & Andrea Dixon, Bowie Enthusiast –
Lazarus has taken on a whole new meaning.
From the words of David Bowie’s longtime producer and close friend Tony Visconti, Blackstar is rightfully dubbed a “parting gift” to his fans. To us. His death hit us with a devastating blow. He meant more than is possible to express, except to say he is the reason we are who we are. Even when struggling with liver cancer at the age of 69, Bowie’s thoughts remained on five decades of loyal followers. After the release of his newest album on his birthday (January 8), the world had no idea in moments Bowie would be no more – in body only.
His spirit, his words, his music are forever, and accompanies us throughout life. Whenever and however we discovered him, we couldn’t shake him and we didn’t want to. As 80s children, most of our generation fell for Bowie in his mesmerizing role as the Goblin King and his resonating tunes throughout the 1986 film. Labyrinth opened our eyes to the music of an outsider and unmistakable Bowie-ness. This is where our journey began as a Bowie fan. He stuck with us through all these years, and it was impossible not to share him with others.
From Ziggy Stardust (1972-73) to The Thin White Duke (1975-76), Bowie wasn’t afraid to show us his struggle to find himself. We are no strangers to donning our own masks to endure the day to day, and Bowie was no different. He used Major Tom, the mime Pierrot and the rest of his characters to overcome anxiety and rise to stardom. Each era he shed a persona and moved to the next until he found who he wanted to be. Even his interests were fluid, exploring uncommon practices. He was fascinated with Buddhism and Japanese culture, incorporating it into his costumes, music and stage performance. He was an adventurer in sexuality – androgyny, gender-bending, sex with men and black women during a time when it wasn’t socially accepted, and the list goes on. You don’t have a choice but to admire his fearlessness and his relentless exploration of the deep recesses that make us human.
There is no question Bowie’s oddity is what connected him with so many of us – relating to, changing or defining peoples’ identities. In 25 studio albums, spanning multiple genres (glam rock, pop, grunge, soul, jazz etc.), there is no doubt an album for every type of music fan. Through Bowie’s repertoire, his followers recognize an underlying current of isolation, anxiety and fear of insanity. But at the same time, he didn’t take himself too seriously and shared his kookiness, gnome voice and all. Regardless, Bowie is an encyclopedia of creative expression with a child-like curiosity about all things alien within the human condition. We all have so much to learn from him, but namely to be viciously open about our own journey of self-discovery.
Bowie, you’ve gone up the hill backwards and landed in the stars. Say hi to Lou and John for us xx.