David Bowie died today

Here are the lyrics from Lazarus, a track on his new album, Blackstar:

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me
— Lazarus, David Bowie

I had already tweeted about how great his new album was. He came out of nowhere to release The Next Day which I loved, but then Blackstar blew me away with it’s creativity, bravery and energy. Now I know it was created by a dying man.

David Bowie was my first gig. I was at Roker Park on the 23rd June 1987 to see the Glass Spider tour, and I was just 13 years old. 

I used to go to the local library and hire out albums by random bands on cassettes. Anything I liked, I used to record and listen to over and over again. In this way I discovered Blondie, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. I listened to Aladdin Sane far too young and it forever left an indelible mark in my mind.

I was simultaneously scared and excited for the gig. My anticipation was only heightened by the fact that he was late to the stage and the crowd stamped their feet in the wooden stand to encourage him on. 

The scale of the set was mind boggling to my 13 year old eyes and the whole experience was overwhelming to me. I followed Bowie’s career ever since, even into both Tin Machine albums. Tin Machine introduced me to John Lennon’s Working Class Hero!

Sadly his star waned somewhat in the 90’s and 2000’s, but he still pushed forward fearlessly into new areas of experimentation in music, and of course he had the most amazing back catalogue of music to dig into and rediscover.

I could also find him in films. I thought Labyrinth was stunning as a kid, and not long after I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth, again, far too young to really get it. It connected with something in my soul, though. It remains one of my favourite films.

At this point in my own little creative journey I will remember his own philosophy which was to go against the grain and be extraordinary.

I’m so sorry he has died.

It’s so sad.

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me
— Lazarus, David Bowie