Said you took a big trip/ They said you moved away/ Happened oh, so quietly/ They say
– “Everyone Say’s ‘HI'”- D.Bowie
I was probably about 6 or so when I first saw him. He was costumed in this dark material, sitting rakishly upon a windowsill. Playing with his balls.
It was not until almost 10 years later, when I heard this amazingly haunting voice call out to me over the radio about Major Tom, that I finally pieced together this mystery man and how he would forever effect the rest of my life.
I was 15 years old, and looking for a sound that I could identify with. Something that I could embrace as my own, as a soundtrack to keep me going through the rough years of being a teenager and already knowing EVERYTHING. At this stage of our story, I have already figured out that that half remembered scene of a man sitting in the windowsill was Mr. David Bowie, and I had worn down my VHS copy of The Labyrinth. (Actually I’m watching my Blu-ray copy at this very moment while writing this – because it it awesome, and because it’s a little too soon for me to process watching The Man Who Fell To Earth.) So now I needed more- I needed to reach beyond the Goblin City.
My very first David Bowie album was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Let me just say that this album and I have been through a lot together. First off, middle school is its own level of hell (and an entirely different post topic.) Secondly, my dad was dying from cancer. We knew it was terminal, and we knew it was only a matter of time. And I felt completely helpless.
So I took a lot of walks, with Ziggy as my only companion. From “Five Years” to “ Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” (and back again), I walked while Bowie medicated me. His music provided 15 year-old me the solace and strength to “climb to the top of the mountain” (and considering how hilly my neighborhood was, I occasionally needed the encouragement). Joking aside, though, I needed that album – I needed to cling onto something that I could rely on and know even better than myself at times.
And from then on, my collection grew. The staples were added, along with the rare and the B-sides. Flea markets were scoured for records. Posters went up all over the walls, causing some visitors to remark at their unease of being stared at by so many Bowie Eyes. (Same silly excuse my husband gives me when I suggest hanging the Giant Half Bowie Face poster anywhere that he might come face-to-face with it.)
(As another quick aside- I could not decide how to title this post, so I just hit Shuffle on my massive collection – “A New Career in a New Town” was the first to pop up, and it seemed pretty appropriate.)
I am glad that I face today’s loss having no regrets, as I was able to see not one, but two of his tours (Earthling and Reality.) David Bowie’s presence in my life has been an overwhelmingly positive one, and will continue to be a source of happiness and solace as needed.
My sadness goes out to another 15 year-old girl who has lost her dad to cancer. I hope that she is able to find her own musical solace that will stay with her for the rest of her life.