I’m sitting here at a loss for words. It’s rare to have enough power, impact and talent to transcend generations with your image and work. Fortunately, in 2015 we don’t fear the ‘different’ and the ‘obscure’ as much as we did in 1967 when David Robert Jones released his first album. In 1969 ‘Space Oddity’ propelled Jones into a stratosphere all by himself – an untouchable image held up as a symbol of ‘what could be’ by people who still feared unleashing their truest selves to society. Jones did what many could not and what many still struggle to do; he looked inside of himself, saw something he liked and unleashed it to the world.
With one name, the world had a new star – a beacon of light that fearless artists could walk towards and those fearful of their idiosyncrasies could bask in the glow of.
This isn’t a piece about Bowie’s music; I’m nowhere near qualified enough to judge it. I can only say that I’ve enjoyed it. This is just a young fan reminiscing on his impact.
I remember seeing images of Bowie growing up that confused me. I was a 6 1/2 year old Catholic school student who had just heard ‘Yellow Submarine’ for the first time and spent my days singing karaoke on my Little Mermaid microphone set – this man with a red lightning bolt on his face was alarming and different. He didn’t emit this masculinity I was so used to assuming came with being a male or wear the same GAP jeans and Old Navy pull-overs. He challenged the images I had of people and what I was used to seeing in a very small town with a very specific demographic.
What a gift it was to see that at such a young age.
I’d hear ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘Home’ and ‘Under Pressure’ and be captivated. His eyes beguiled me because they were a juxtaposition to his whole persona. It seemed to me, that when he looked out at the camera or out at an audience he was physically attached and present. His words brought people to another place, yet those eyes just burned through you. His body, his image, his eccentricity was very present but there was some cosmic activity going on behind those eyes and it was positively alluring.
It wasn’t until I saw The Runaways (2010) with Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning that I saw a representation of a young Cherie Curie painting her face sans inhibitions like Jones in her mirror. As a young creative, she felt like she was given permission to be herself by this one man.
This image was the catalyst to a series of thoughts that aided my own internal reflections. Being different didn’t seem as a bad if it meant that I was a little like Bowie. Being called weird or doing something strange can often be an invitiation for us to devalue our actions or invalidate our expression as something we need to change. When we become our own worst critic, how can we ever uniquely progress and soar to new heights?
I feel really moved by people who feel strange or uncomfortable in the lanes that society has carved out for us over the years. I feel a magnetism towards them. I feel like it’s a part of the reason that I started this site.
When Mattie Vant expressed his philosophical opinions on immigration, when Ryan of Son Lux expressed a passionate love for both Bjork and his wife and when Dale Norton of Broken Hands asked listeners to come aboard their spacecraft on a journey to a rock ’n’ roll planet – I fucking loved it.
The only way I could have this site, and have it honestly, was if I was able to facilitate these kinds of voices any way that they needed it.
I don’t get a cent, I’m not in a band or pushing my own mixtape. I just really want to let other people hear the ‘weirdos’ that made me and many others feel like being lost or feeling excluded was okay – that it was actually a way of cultivating a greater sense of self.
It’s when we’re most alone that we can actually find ourselves in the songs, hobbies and experiences that become our companions.
Every single person on this site is fucking strange and different and fearless enough to embrace that and in turn, follow their passions. Something about that gives people like me and you permission to do the same.
I guess we can thank David Jones for that. I know we can thank Bowie for it.
In living and creating art so courageously and outlandishly, David Bowie became ‘superhuman’ – at 69 we were collectively shocked by his death, but I’d argue we’d be shocked if he ever passed at all.