It never felt like David Bowie would die. That’s something that can be said for all immortals, but he was a special case. David Bowie really and truly felt like he was not of this earth, a notion he embraced thematically, lyrically and theatrically as a creature of the cosmos. He had the look: A handsome specimen with mismatched eyes, slightly reptilian features and a sleek, slender figure. He could croon like a lounge singer, but carried himself with a flamboyant bombast. He was an alien’s perception of an Earthling entertainer, the spectrum of spectacle in an androgynous skin.
He had been creatively reborn so many times; as recently as last week, for instance, that it seemed like we’d be listening to him in advancing incarnations forever. His bravery in the studio and on stage was unmatched; his ambition exceeded by few, and no one in music history has been as prolific and consistently excellent for as long as he had been. His influence cannot be understated and the place he holds in our hearts is as outsized as his personality.
I am tired of reading about David Bowie as a “chameleon.” In one of today’s countless eulogies, Tom Ewing rejected the label and perfectly articulated what I have disliked about the cliche for so many years. “Chameleons change continually so they won’t be noticed, which was not an option David Bowie ever entertained. He regenerated periodically, trying on new faces, reacting against his former selves.”
David Bowie’s work has commanded our attention for the last half-century. He has given us so much to explore that we’ll never run out. So much, that it almost feels like he will never really go away. But he has, and it hurts more than I can possibly say. Godspeed, Major Tom.
In the event
that this fantastic voyage
Should turn to erosion
and we never get old
Remember it’s true, dignity is valuable
But our lives are valuable too