The show is fucking over, folks. It’s been more than a day. He is not coming back and he is gone forever and it’s time that we sucked up to the facts: we will never be David Bowie and we will never see another one again. Life, as we know it, is over (or something like it) so take off your tights and brush your hair and it’s time to wear that button-down shirt unironically and retire to your desk like a normal, antedelusional workperson you know you were supposed to be: that square peg in the circular hole that goes home to his shitty apartment in the middle of some bustling metropolis someplace where fun is around every corner before it disappears by the time you get there, or the basement of your parents’ house because despite being twenty-six and beginning to gray in the hair, the world just isn’t what it used to be back when you could hitchhike across the USA like Kerouac or the King; it’s frightening out there and it’s that sort of gloom that hollowed out his voice into the cathedral that he squeezed into strangulated higher tones and croons—rock isn’t something to play with, boy; your hair isn’t orange enough.
So you sit again, listening again to the song you lost your virginity to in the back of the ’76 Chevy, or the song that was playing in the bar where you first got socked in the jaw, where it showed some kind of glow and you pretended to walk through the lyrics on your way home subvocalized and unintentionally screwing them up in your head; a life lived parallax to the rest of the world, eyes wide and blazed from the coke or the music or both. He has already shaped your life more than you will ever even realize. The great equalizer: nobody dislikes David Bowie (except exceptions). Even with those slurred guitars and those three microphones mixed together by Eno and all those tracks recorded at the Beeb. Even with those shirts and suits and tights and all that hair dye; he could look you in the eye and you were not certain that you were talking to a human being, and in fact you weren’t entirely sure you were one, either. And the passion wreathed in irony and purged by its own punchline turned into something real somehow. All those songs about lost loves. All those songs about doubt. Remorse. You can never really be sure.
He led a secret life. We all do. We live on, but he will never again. Goodbye, sweet prince. One-inch thoughts; a thing only so-called heroes endure, lowly lodged between the monsters, creeps, the dogs and diamonds, cruise to the station with a young yank and you’ll know what I mean. This isn’t clever and I’m not fooling myself into thinking it is. It’s the next best thing to a trashy pseudo-brief biopic in the form of an obituary. Improvise the whole damn thing, like they did the back-ups on The Idiot—big deal for an album although in all honesty Lust For Life was better in every regard. Frippertronics existed, certainly, but he didn’t use them in the Berlin stuff. Quick, help! My girlfriend is being swallowed by the TV!
Oh but of course, mention the seventies stuff, no problemo mango. Just don’t talk to me about Faust, about CAN, about Neu!, about Devo. Don’t tell me about Exposure—ARGUABLY THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD. All of these people knew each other. Think of how they feel, ancient and decrepit, wasting away while their little fingers needle away at strings too frail to sing. And again the cavernous voice collapses. And again Bowie reminds us to stay nauseated, virile, awake and afraid. The truth is, Ewan McGreggor should play Robert Fripp in the unlikely biopic.
IF YOU AREN’T COMPLETELY FORMLESS, TIMELESS, AND UNRESTRAINED BY THE BOUNDARIES OF HUMAN CONCEPTION, YOU AREN’T FREE.
But he is, just like that bluebird in that new single; a man who knew he it was coming and stared it in the face and welcomed it. The suicidal madman driven toward the divine. Some brilliant burning speck of madness or comedy, blazing backward into the abyss from whence he emerged. The earth fell into Man. The Man was made from the dust expelled in a sneeze from beyond the firmament. For love is like the wind (even when it’s covered by a Brit), a white coke-addled fiendish lunatic, glorious, moving, always one step ahead. Free. Manic. Terrible. Won-der-ful.
And he did very, very well.
Sorrow does not do this feeling justice.
RIP David Bowie