11 January 2016

Goodnight Starman

Space Oddity, sung by a spellbinding person with mesmerising eyes, burst on the scene in 1969.

We mid-teens shuffled round the floor at the famous Grove Club in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland and I, along with the rest of the air-guitar heads knew that a star, with a capital S, had entered our lives.

So began for me, a lifelong adoration of a total genius.

It’s lasted for 45 years.

When Hunky Dory was released, just before Christmas in 1971, I played it almost non-stop, over and over again; I could not get enough of it, and, unusually in an LP (long before CD’s of course) there wasn’t one track I wanted to skip over.

The needle stayed down for the entire album, as I, in my little bedroom, danced around the room and sang along, imitating David’s many different voice tones.

In no time I knew the whole thing off by heart and was positive that some of it, at least, was about me. Ch ch ch ch changes…..”Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it”… Yes!

I was certainly, also, at that point, the girl with the mousey hair, whose mother was yelling ‘No’.

Of course I didn’t understand every single reference in the songs on Hunky Dory. After all, I was a few years behind David in age, and I guess most of us young fans were years behind him in life experiences, but I knew this was the man for me.

And it wasn’t only his music.

Here was the guy who had it all; a rare talent, musically brilliant, someone with a capacity for wondrous experimentation, wildly, dangerously exciting, who introduced us to mad, fabulous fashions, to make-up and hair colour that had the established salons and their artists rushing to keep up with him.

For us, his style was to be copied and worn, yes, out in the street. We did it, silver lipstick and all, with hardly any money, but a sense that we were part of something new, something marvellous.

David Bowie had come along and shone a dazzling beam of light on those of us who were looking for something different, those of us with imagination.

I know I’m certainly not alone on the planet, all these years later, in saying that David Bowie, only eight years older than me, provided, for years, the soundtrack, the background, to much of my life, especially in late teens and twenties.

Even when I, or he, (perish the thought) seemed to lose the plot along the way, I continued to love all his splendid re-inventions.

When I saw him live, in the Glass Spider Tour, it was as if I had reached a sort of Zenith of existence. To see such spectacular talent up close, and to appreciate that everybody on that stage represented David’s immense creativity, was a mega day.
Waking this morning to the news that he was dead, was a profound shock.

Like so many others I’ve seen and heard all day on various TV news and tribute programmes, I had no idea David was ill.

Tonight, before I finished this piece, I looked at YouTube again and watched David sing Heroes, live.

It had been hit 21,323,181 times. More than twenty one million people.

So, I am in good company, mourning my ‘friend’ of forty five years.

Last thoughts, as I end this strange day, are with Iman & his family.

My Starman has gone to join the others.