This week has been difficult for me. The loss of Alan Rickman combined with the absolutely devastating blow that was the untimely death of David Bowie. I have not been able to discuss it until today and it still feels outside of reality. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t really know the individual on a personal level. You just feel the loss in a way but it can be unreal as you don’t necessarily feel absence of them. I feel it none the less. Bowie was a massive influence on me, on my youth and later on.
I don’t remember my first introduction to Bowie’s music. My parents were fan, and I grew up listening to Station to Station, and the Spiders from Mars on cassette in my family room. We also had them on vinyl, I still do, but we couldn’t listen to them because all three of us children were dancing around the living, jumping on the floors. That sort of thing. Labyrinth as well, no one could forget such an epic story come to life.
His influence on me was separate from the music and the films. It was him I was obsessed with. It was he as an individual that had touched me to such an extent I cannot even begin to put into words here. I read biographies, magazine articles, watched documentaries, all those pre internet media. He was my first love. Understand that I am talking about love the way a child would, we all have that individual that would pull at our souls. I know the words to almost every song, including his as David Jones.
Funny that I should have felt so enamored with him, when really his physical characteristics were not those that I would normal gravitate towards, he was a skinny White boy, I love big Black men. So I cannot say that it was his appearance that I was moved by, don’t get me wrong, I find him sexy AF but that wasn’t it. It was his sexual fluidity that attracted me. His counter culture way of being that seemed to more than a character. His characters, his various personifications of himself were constantly evolving, changing regardless of social norms or gender roles.
When I first saw the cover of The Man Who Sold the World, my first exposure to the idea of “cross dressing,” it struck me. This is a man in a dress, not a man trying to be a woman, not a man trying to be something or someone he isn’t. He just wanted to wear a bloody dress. That was an amazing thing to me, especially at such a young age. It created this realm about me, where gender was completely separate from the individual. That outward appearance has little bearing on who you are.
Not to mention the bisexual aspect. I grew up in a small town, like most small town, not so much racists or bigots, just a product of their lack of exposure (this is what I try to tell myself). So the idea of being bisexual, not just gay or straight, the idea of loving an individual for who they are rather than what dangles or doesn’t, as the case may be, was mind blowing. I realised this was how I identified, not just because he did but because that was how I am.
I am rambling, I know I am. I just had to write something about the massive influence a single individual had over me. Eye opening experiences even before I hit puberty! The man will be missed.