David Bowie superfan on lessons learned from the legendary artist

Today the world mourns the loss of the giant. David Bowie passed away Sunday night from cancer just days after releasing an album and celebrating his 69th birthday.

See Full Article

I've been a fan since I was old enough to understand music. The first record I bought was the Space Oddity 45 and today a 6' x 5' photograph of Ziggy Stardust dominates my living room. I guess I’m what you would call a superfan. I own all the music, have seen him in concert almost more times than I can count but today isn't a gloomy day for me.

Simon Pegg summed up my feelings, tweeting, "If you're sad today, just remember the world is over 4 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie."

Today, in that spirit I choose to celebrate his life. Today I choose to look back at someone whose work affected me more than any other artist. Not just the songs—which are always great, occasionally challenging and frequently transcendent—but more his outlook on life and art. He taught me it was OK to walk my own path, to never rest on my laurels, to push even if it goes against the grain. When he sang "turn and face the strange,” in the song Changes it struck me like a thunderbolt. For anyone who ever felt like a misfit here was an artist who celebrated "the other." More than any other of his lyrics, with those five words it was as if he gave me permission to look beyond my borders. That was a potent message when I was a teenager and remains one today.

Through his music, his actions and his lifestyle he embodied a way of thinking and it affected me on a cellular level. He revelled in the differences that set him apart from the rest of the pack… and so did I.

Listening to him I learned about literature, Bertolt Brecht, electronic music, The Elephant Man, fashion and much more. I studied the album covers and memorized the lyrics. They opened up exotic worlds for me but the biggest lesson I learned from my nascent adoration of David Bowie was a simple one: be yourself, find your own voice.

He transcended being a pop star or even a pop icon. Instead he was a cultural guiding light, the saviour of square pegs tired of being forced into round holes.

At least that's how I view him.

I'm sure today as his children and wife grieve him they see him differently, as a father, husband, a man. My heart goes out to them for their loss, but for me, as I sit here writing this and listening to his latest album Blackstar, he is an inspiration, a person who never stopped pushing boundaries right up until the end. We should all be as lucky as David Bowie to have the kind of restless creative spirit it takes to live a life filled with ever shifting boundaries, exploration and challenges. A life lived like an extended art project was his gift to us. Today, as always, I am grateful for it.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • American Music Awards reflect 2017 pop music, in which male acts dominate

    Entertainment CBC News
    The performers at the 2017 American Music Awards are evenly split between men and women, but the nominees? Not so much. In categories like artist of the year and favourite pop/rock album, where men and women compete, no female acts are in contention. Source
  • AMAs reflect year in pop music, where male acts dominated

    Entertainment CTV News
    The performers at the 2017 American Music Awards are evenly split between men and women, but the nominees? Not so much. In categories like artist of the year and favourite pop/rock album, where men and women compete, no female acts are in contention. Source
  • Ann Wedgeworth, known for 'Three's Company' role, dies at 83

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Actress Ann Wedgeworth, who gained fame on film and Broadway before taking on the role of a flirty divorcee on "Three's Company," has died at age 83. Wedgeworth died Thursday in the New York area after a long illness, her daughter Dianna Martin said. Source
  • Rep: 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy hospitalized

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • 'Partridge Family' star David Cassidy 'surrounded by family' in hospital: rep

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- "Partridge Family" star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • Partridge Family star David Cassidy hospitalized

    Entertainment CBC News
    Partridge Family star David Cassidy has been hospitalized in Florida. His representative told The Associated Press on Saturday that Cassidy is "now conscious" and "surrounded by family." The rep adds that Cassidy was in pain and taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Source
  • Renowned fashion designer Azzedine Alaï?a dead at 77

    Entertainment CBC News
    Some might know his name from a quick reference by Alicia Silverstone about her party dress in the 1995 film Clueless. Others will recognize his extensive celebrity clientele. Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaï?a, whose form-fitting designs earned him the title "king of cling," has died at the age of 77, according to media reports. Source
  • Harry Styles, Miguel set for Victoria's Secret China show

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Singer Harry Styles and R&B star Miguel will perform at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai on Monday. People magazine reports that Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Chinese singer Jane Zhang will also perform at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Source
  • Woman must pay Katy Perry for interfering with convent sale

    Entertainment CBC News
    A jury has found that a businesswoman must pay $5 million US to singer Katy Perry and the archdiocese of Los Angeles, finding that the woman intentionally interfered with the sale to Perry of a hilltop property that was once a convent. Source
  • AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young dead at 64

    Entertainment CBC News
    Malcolm Young, who founded the Australian rock band AC/DC along with his brother Angus, has died at age 64 after suffering from dementia for several years, the band said on its Facebook page on Saturday. Malcolm Young was a songwriter, backing vocalist and rhythm guitarist for AC/DC, a hard rock and heavy metal band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Source