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

  • Watch: First scary trailer for Stephen King's 'It' debuts [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Get ready to hate clowns again. The first trailer for the new big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s terrifying novel It landed Wednesday and if the brief glimpses we get of Pennywise are any indication, real clowns are going to have a hard time getting birthday party gigs this summer. Source
  • Marci Ien officially announced as co-host of 'The Social'

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Former "Canada AM" host Marci Ien has officially found a new home on CTV's "The Social." On Wednesday's episode of the daytime talk show, co-host Traci Melchor returned after a long absence and announced she will not be returning as a permanent panellist. Source
  • Talent agency Wilhelmina signs Nicki Minaj

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Wilhelmina talent and modeling agency has signed Nicki Minaj to its celebrity division. The agency said in a statement Wednesday that it will work to further the six-time American Music Award winner's influence in fashion and beauty. Source
  • Lamar Odom regrets affairs, says cocaine helped end career

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Lamar Odom says he's "a walking miracle" after being found unconscious with cocaine in his system in a Nevada brothel in 2015. Odom tells US Weekly he hid his cocaine use from ex-wife Khloe Kardashian for a while, but she found out about two years before their 2013 split. Source
  • Straight Outta Compton, Vin Scully's call to be preserved by Library of Congress

    Entertainment CBC News
    First it became the basis for an Oscar-nominated movie. Now, Straight Outta Compton — the groundbreaking album from rap group N.W.A. and a one-time flashpoint in the nation's culture wars — has been selected for the prestigious U.S. Source
  • Jackie Kennedy's intimate letters with U.K. diplomat go on sale

    Entertainment CTV News
    Letters written by Jackie Kennedy to a British diplomat rejecting his marriage proposal years after the assassination of her husband, U.S. president John F. Kennedy, go under the hammer in London on Wednesday. The correspondence between Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore, Britain's ambassador to the U.S. Source
  • St. Louis services set for April 9 for rock icon Chuck Berry

    Entertainment CTV News
    ST. LOUIS -- Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n' roll visionary. Berry's family announced in a statement Wednesday that what they called a public "viewing" will be held from 8 a.m. Source
  • Harry Styles announces first solo performance

    Entertainment CTV News
    Harry Styles is set to make his solo debut, over a year since parting ways with his former boy band One Direction. The pop star will appear as a musical guest on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on April 15, the show's guest host for the week, Jimmy Fallon has revealed. Source
  • Family and close friends say goodbye to George Michael

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Singer George Michael's publicist says his funeral has been held in London. The private funeral ceremony took place Wednesday at Highgate Cemetery in north London. Michael's publicity agency, Connie Filippello Publicity, said in a statement it was attended by family and close friends Source
  • Spider-Man out of Marvel Cinematic Universe after 'Homecoming 2'? [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Now that Spider-Man is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may want to enjoy his web-slinging antics while you can. At least when it comes to seeing him battle evil alongside Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the Avengers. Source