We awoke this morning with the sad news that David Bowie has died. I thought I'd offer you some insight as to what he and his music meant to your Grandmother- who as a teenager bumped into his genius as we all did at that time- when Ziggy Stardust exploded in our ears.
I remember sitting late at night at a party in Kemp Town as we all sat serious faced listening to the album. I was transfixed- a story I didn't quite understand- one I'd never heard before- yet seemed familiar too- all at the same time (Carrollian even.)
At school, following the Alladin Sane album, a boy in my class got suspended for shaving off his eyebrows and dyeing the sides of his hair blue. Before this- it was merely that long hair meant suspension- and I was quite apalled that this boy, who had cut his hair short- was suspended!
Listening to Dom Jolly this morning talking about Bowie- he said that he was a Clarion Call for it being ok to be different- I can relate to that Emily, though you don't need one!
I never met Bowie- and actually I never felt the need to- his influence was so strong he felt close anyway.
I cut my musical teeth on Art Rock- Bowie and Ferry my men. A fresh and completely original march away from the fading Hippy movement- and precursor to Punk, it inspired, and delighted me- and has ever done so.
When daddy was still in my tummy- I remember his dad and I singing Kooks "Will you stay in a lovers story, if you stay you won't be sorry. Coz we believe in you. Soon you'll grow so take a chance with a couple of kooks hung up on romancing..."
I loved Bowie's originality- his spin on the zeitgeist- and moreover his encompassing commercialism. Not for him the high-brow- his own arched brow just was and is and evermore shall be.
Never before was there a David Bowie- and there never will be again.
A culture-shaper, without him- life would have been less interesting Emily...
Your ever-loving Grandmother,