My wife called me early this morning from Germany to tell me it had just been announced David Bowie had died. I was in the middle of getting ready for the breakfast club, but as soon as it was over – and I’m so happy Monday is my day off – I drove to HMV to buy his last album “black star”. Oh my goodness, it’s a tough listen. I was crying listening to it on the way home. He was nearing the end of his life and he knew it. Every song is about his approaching death, and it’s a piece of pure art. Experimental, epic with some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. It’s not a record you’d play at a party, more one of those late-at-night-searching-for-meaning ones. I’m sure it will win heaps of prizes because it’s a fascinating and rewarding listen.
At 14 I first heard about David Bowie. It was when the Britpop band Suede were the zeitgeist and they always went on about how cool Bowie was. I quite liked Suede, but knew there was better music out there, so I picked up a second hand vinyl copy of “Ziggy Stardust” from Andy’s Records in Bury St Edmunds. I think that’s the first time I’d ever heard music quite so powerful, so exciting where the songs give you goosebumps, and you feel connected to music and to life itself. It was my favourite album for a long long time. Funnily enough Bowie led me to Lou Reed, also I guy I never heard of, simply because I saw he produced his Transformer, album, and a couple of years later also with Iggy Pop, again he produced “lust fot life” which I saw his name credited on the back of the record in Oxfam charity shop. I thought, who is this guy? Why is so brilliant?
At 16 life was so strange for me. We lived in a big house in the forest , quite isolated really. My parents had divorced, my mum couldn’t cope and my brother was entering a severe mental health collapse, and I didn’t want to grow up and face the adulthood where I only saw broken lives and hardship, but I didn’t want to stay a child either. I listened to “life on mars”, “rebel rebel” and “quicksand”, and it made me think – There is another way to live. Love doesn’t have to hurt. Life doesn’t have to break you….
Where are we now? Well, we’re left with some amazing music.