A Goodbye to Bowie

Hassan Baker

Everyone relates to music differently, that’s a given.

We all project our own emotions into art. Since the announcement of David Bowie’s death, his friends and family have come out with statements on the matter, such as fellow musician and long friend Iggy Pop who stated: “David’s friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is.”

People from many different generations and walks of life have been giving their statements, which just goes to show how much of an impact Bowie had on more than just music. For example, my mother who barely speaks English, heard of his death as soon as I had as it made Arabic news. The Starman clearly had a worldwide impact.

He was much more than a musician, a cultural icon and an artist in the truest sense. Draped in glamorous costumes, make-up and face paint as Ziggy Stardust, as Aladdin Sane, and every other alter ego, he shook and revolutionised the sound of pop music as well as the look.

Photograph courtesy of Conor Lane.
Photograph courtesy of Conor Lane.

Madonna, the Queen of Pop said: “I never felt like I fit in growing up in Michigan. Like an oddball or a freak. I went to see him in concert at Cobo Arena in Detroit. It was the first concert I’d ever been to. I snuck out of the house with my girlfriend wearing a cape. We got caught after and I was grounded for the summer. I didn’t care. I already had many of his records and was so inspired by the way he played with gender confusion. Was both masculine and feminine. Funny and serious. Clever and wise … Thank you David Bowie. I owe you a lot … The world will miss you. Love M.”

I would consider myself as an avid follower of music, but I’m not exactly a diehard Bowie fan, not to say I’m not a fan at all. However, it’s hard to follow most musicians without appreciating what he’s done and how he’s influenced the entire industry. So at the risk of sounding like I’m jumping on the bandwagon, I’ve decided to give my statement on the artist as well. The genius in Bowie wasn’t just his amazing song writing, it was his ability to seamlessly change with times, all the while sticking true to his quirky self to create great and sincere music.

I can’t help but respect a guy that can abstract incomprehensible things like space travel into a sincere and human experience, all the while dressed in some crazy bit of clothing, portraying some equally ridiculous fictional character. Best of all, he did it during the 60s when everyone was paranoid and frightened of these concepts, as well as men in strange clothing.

In my opinion, Bowie taught us to embrace what we don’t understand rather than fear it. I don’t think anyone actually understood who David Bowie truly was, what with all his strangeness, but he was still appreciated nonetheless. His death really was a shock, because he had changed his name and his look multiple times, he’d truly abandoned all sense of human character and transcended it all like a timeless alien.

By far, the most outstanding statements have come from his fans, which seem to be celebrating his life more than grieving about his death. So rather than just quoting the numerous celebrity tweets, I decided to get some statements from some big David Bowie fans.

Photographs courtesy of Conor Lane.
Photographs courtesy of Conor Lane.

“Can’t help thinking about my David since I heard the news this morning. My dad passed on his diverse, passionate, open minded sense of music to my brother and I and it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for ❤ Bowie was one of his heroes. I hope my Starman gets to meet his someday. “I’m happy, hope you’re happy too.” ✨??”
– Robyn Corrigan

“I will attempt but it could just be tears on the screen like. Man I’ve been crying all day like, you should have seen me this morning”
– Jack Corrigan

“David Bowie could turn anything into art. He was the greatest artist in musical history. His eclectic exploration of genre and ability to bring consistently new and influential ideas to music is so far beyond what any other musical artist has ever been capable of masterminding before. Beyond that, he had a message and stood for people who at a time had no voice. Even his death was a work of art. Releasing an album on his birthday that is a message to the world about his deathbed reflections, and died two days after in a crescendo. That’s how Bowie was always meant to go.”
– Drew Linehan

“If there was ever a king of the redheads it has to be Ziggy Stardust. Besides his glorious red mane, he dressed the part. His costumes were to die for, playful, innovative and instantly recognisable. Bowie pulled from the best sources to bring Ziggy to life, he had the bold graphic lines from Warhol and the outrageous, whimsical makeup from drag queens. Ziggy was a leader, he toyed with sexuality and gender before the sweet transvestite that was Dr Fank n Furter came on the scene to make it cool. Everything about him was graphic, the bold prints of his spacesuits, the electric orange of his hair and his shocking onstage antics. He was truly ‘out there’ and yet every costume and performance was executed with an extremely deft hand. He was cunning and charming and crazy, and for that reason he is a true ginger king.” – Máirín-Rua Ní Aodha

“Down at the mural there was a really sad and respectful atmosphere. A lot of people openly crying and stuff, which was kind of nice. People streamed along all day to leave flowers and thank you notes.
As for my own relationship with Bowie, I consider him a real role model in how he guided his career. He was fearlessly iconoclastic and totally unafraid to pursue his artistic vision, no matter how ridiculous it seemed by his contemporary social standards. That same lack of concern for his reputation has given him an artistic dignity no-one since has come close to. Still struggling to get my head around his death, but the grief I and so many others feel really drives home just how much joy David/Aladdin/Ziggy/Major Tom gave us in his too-brief time here.”
– Conor Lane (Conor has been staying in London and payed a visit to Brixton London).

Photographs courtesy of Conor Lane.
Photographs courtesy of Conor Lane.

The man was a powerhouse when it came to his career, working till his final days. It was only 2 days before his death he’d released his latest album ‘Blackstar’, which did not disappoint. Consistent greatness, that is what David will be remembered for. So to finalise David Bowie, musician, performer, actor, artist, cultural icon, alien, starman and blackstar passed away at the age of 69 on January 10th 2016.