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

  • Aziz Ansari tackles Trump, Islamophobia and 'casual white supremacy' on SNL

    Entertainment CBC News
    There was no impersonation of Donald Trump by actor Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live this week, but guest host Aziz Ansari gave his own two cents about the new U.S. president. The Master of None creator and star took the stage the same day as massive women's marches across the country and around the world. Source
  • Shyamalan’s ’Split’ doubles up on xXx flick at box office

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller “Split” blew away box-office expectations, earning $40.2 million in ticket sales over inauguration weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though many were focused on Friday’s presidential inauguration and Saturday’s nationwide women’s marches, “Split” doubled forecasts to easily lead all films. Source
  • Ryan Gosling, Denis Villeneuve among Canadians likely to get Oscar nominations

    Entertainment CBC News
    When this year's Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, there's a good chance some Canadians will be prominently in the mix, most notably Quebec director Denis Villeneuve and London, Ont.-born actor Ryan Gosling. The in-demand duo, who are working together on the upcoming sci-fi film noir Blade Runner 2049, has already racked up a long list of honours separately on the awards circuit. Source
  • Shyamalan's 'Split' divides competition to rule box office

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller "Split" blew away box-office expectations, earning an estimated $40.2 million in ticket sales over inauguration weekend. Though many were focused on Friday's presidential inauguration and Saturday's nationwide women's marches, "Split" doubled forecasts to easily lead all films. Source
  • No more nerds, sex bombs: Female animators draw away cliches

    Entertainment CTV News
    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney's desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men. Source
  • Neon sign from legendary Whisky a Go Go up for auction

    Entertainment CTV News
    BIDDEFORD, Maine -- A bright neon piece of rock 'n' roll history is going up for auction -- a marquee from the legendary Los Angeles club, Whisky a Go Go. The 13-foot sign, with letters alight in bright pink, adorned the West Hollywood club in the '80s and '90s, during the heyday of punk, new wave and grunge. Source
  • No 'Trump' sketch but SNL unleashes 'Putin'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Just how was “Saturday Night Live” going to tackle the pageantry, protests and press conferences that dominated President Trump’s inauguration and first day in office? By unleashing Vladimir Putin. Alec Baldwin, who has been playing Trump since the fall in a parody that Trump himself has repeatedly criticized as mean-spirited and bad, didn’t reprise the impersonation in the first post-inauguration episode. Source
  • Cyberattack on Sundance film fest briefly shuts down box office

    Entertainment CBC News
    Representatives for the Sundance Film Festival say that their network systems were subject to a cyberattack that caused its box offices to shut down briefly Saturday afternoon. The Festival issued updates to attendees via their official account and say that online ticketing for future shows is currently back up and running. Source
  • Celebrities out in full force for Women's Marches

    Entertainment CBC News
    If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight. Source
  • Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Miley Cyrus among celebs at women's marches

    Entertainment CBC News
    If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight. Source