I’m not one to get sentimental about such things, but Bowie in particular has been a formative influence throughout my life: His music, his creativity, the ever-changing re-invention of himself over time, and that strange, enigmatic persona that he always had was a constant reminder that it’s OK to be different and weird, and – in fact – there’s something very special about people who see the world and themselves differently to those around them.
My earliest recollection of a Bowie song was ‘The Laughing Gnome’ – unhip, and unconventional, I know – but as a kid it appealed to me in a sort of whimsical, subversive fashion. A sort of hybrid between Petula Clark, The Kinks and Jethro Tull, but with Bowie’s own unique spin thrown in, just for a laugh – but that’s what he so often did, taking conventional music and giving it the Bowie treatment to make a true classic. Then again, he also pushed the boundaries, brilliantly.
There’s one song though that became ‘my song’ – it felt like it was my story, encapsulating my feelings and emotions. A sad and wistful song, and whenever times were hard and life was getting me down, no matter what the cause or how deep I was sinking, there was always ‘Life on Mars’, and somehow the world would feel a better place.
I can’t tell you the number of times I played that song, over and over again, lost in the words and the moment – and I still do. It’s a rare occasion that I’ve not listened to that song without a tear in my eye.
And I know there are many who feel as I do, particularly in the SL community. Since I’ve been inworld, I’ve met many kindred spirits for whom The Thin White Duke was more than just a musician, he was a magician – able to conjure up feelings and emotions that had a lasting impact. How many of us have secretly, (and not so secretly), said the words; Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…” – because, let’s tell the truth here, he really did have power over us!
We all felt we were in Ziggy’s band.
Rest in peace, David – musician, visionary, and genius. We’ll miss you.
But her friend is nowhere to be seen
Now she walks through her sunken dream
To the seat with the clearest view
And she’s hooked to the silver screen
David Bowie – Life On Mars?