So yesterday I learned David Bowie died two days ago.
I don’t really know what to say about this except that he had my respect despite me not knowing much about him. I often heard he was a great musical artist, great singer, great musician and, above all, a great creator, ahead of his time most of the time. Visionary as some might say. I can’t vouch for that as, to me, David Bowie was, or should I say still it to me, the strange, older, older equivalent to Marilyn Manson from the 70s and 80s in terms of style. The singer of Space Oddity, the only song I believe I really know of him (which I sort of rediscovered in Gravity). And the great Nikola Tesla from the movie The Prestige (one of my favorite movies of all time if not the favorite).
Davie bowie as Nikola Tesla in the movie The Prestige
I don’t really know him much more than that, I don’t have much idea about whatever else he did, but strangely he is still a great artist in my mind. Perhaps it is because of his appearance in that movie or the fact that I love his song since I saw Gravity (not just because of the movie, though it played a great part in that), but also because it’s a great song in itself. Or perhaps it is because I’ve unconsciously realized how great he was. I don’t really know. He was great, I just feel I don’t have the right or the authority to say this myself. I’m not a fan but I enjoy what he did a lot. Apparently he was fighting against a cancer without ever saying he was sick publicly, that’s why the news of his death came as a shock to me, and perhaps to everybody else. I wasn’t ‘ready’ for him to leave yet.
I didn’t know him well, not personally of course, but not even as a music fan, but I feel very sad about his departure. Perhaps he had a lot of things he still wanted to do… I know his new album debuted on his birthday, two days before his death, so maybe he was ready to go… I don’t know, all I can hope is that he didn’t have too much regrets leaving so soon and that he knew how much of an impact he has made in the world with his music (and everything else he did). I am sad to see him go, even if I didn’t follow him or his artist career a lot, I was always somewhat expectant to see news about him and sort of excited or happy when I heard talk about his music.
But what I am the saddest about is that I realized that I had almost missed the great homage the internet (and more precisely the users on Twitter) had given him earlier this week. I just realized that I had seen a few drawings, images or pictures of the night sky and stars with the words “The Stars Look Very Different Today” without understanding the reference. It somehow clicked when I saw a drawing of Charlie Brown and Snoopy looking at the night sky and a bubble of text with this small sentence in it, I suddenly thought about David Bowie and his Space Oddity. Not that I remembered it being part of the lyrics of his song but I somehow guessed it had a link. A quick research gave me a positive answer but also a sense of shame. How could I claim to like an artist and not even pick up such an obvious reference?
In the end I did understand, but it took me a few pictures of the sky from NASA, World of Warcraft and drawings of a few artists with these words to realize it was an homage to a great artist who had recently departed. That is why I say this is not an homage and I am not worthy (to use a powerful word) of paying one to him, I don’t know him enough, I can’t appreciate his work to its true value and I haven’t been immersed sufficiently in his universe to be able to do that. So, instead, I will simply say thank you to him for all he did, or at least the little he did that I know of, and for what it has brought/given me. It wasn’t a lot but it was sufficient to have a great impact on me. So, yeah, thank you mister Bowie. I hope the stars will keep shining for you and that someday I will finally learn to appreciate your work to its real value, or at least come to understand it a little better.
Space Oddity in the movie Gravity