Monday, January 11, 2016

oh no, love, you're not alone

I didn't sleep last night--not a wink--so this isn't going to be as eloquent as I want it to be.

I can't remember when I first heard David Bowie, because he's nothing if not ubiquitous. The first time I consciously heard David Bowie, I had mixed feelings. I really liked the glam stuff, wasn't too into anything after that, except for "Under Pressure." I had a greatest hits CD.

It wasn't until college that the obsession truly set in. Sometimes I think works of art just hit you at the right time, and for whatever reason, college was a time that I needed David Bowie. It was probably a combination of many things--feeling like an outsider in Chicago (most of my friends went to art school), my burgeoning aesthetic and sexual interest in androgyny, my ever-deepening knowledge of music in general (I didn't have a cool older sibling to show me the way). At any rate, David Bowie filled some kind of need inside me. We clicked. I couldn't decide if I wanted to marry him or if I wanted to be him. Still can't.

And my love for him only deepened after graduation from Loyola. Those early post-college years were the true heyday of my Bowie-mania. That was when Lindsey and I hosted our legendary Bowie-themed housewarming party. I make a good Halloween Jack, don't you think?


I went out to Bowie dance parties around the city. I saw Sons of the Silent Age multiple times. I watched Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on the big screen at The Music Box. Meg got me Bowie earrings. My collection of Bowie vinyls expanded rapidly. By that point I was a fan of his entire oeuvre--except perhaps that brief techno period in the 90's. But even that was cute.

On second thought, I think I'm trying to force a narrative onto this by suggesting that this heyday existed--or rather, that it ever ended. Moving to Las Vegas has put something of a damper on Bowie-themed events--it's more of an Elvis town--but right before I moved here Meg and I treated ourselves to a Bowie Birthday Party in New York City. I can't find pictures of that, unfortunately, but I can find pictures of the petrified bat I bought at Obscura on that same trip, which I named Halloween Jack.


Winter of 2014, when I was back in Chicago for break, I went to the David Bowie Is exhibit at the MCA with Gena and Jane. When I saw the outfit he wore during the 1972 Top of the Pops performance of "Starman," I literally cried.


And, of course, I dressed up as Aladdin Sane just this past Halloween.


Last night I was at The Bunkhouse Saloon with LeeAnn, Sean, and Natasha to see Stop Making Sense, The Talking Heads' concert film. Towards the end of the movie, I received a tweet on my phone from David Bowie's official Twitter account. They weren't written by him--a publicist or something--but I always had them sent to my phone so that if he ever did decide to tour again, I'd be among the first to know. Since his most recent album, Blackstar, only came out a few days ago, I had high hopes for such a thing. But then I read the message:


At first I was convinced it was a hoax--surely the account had been hacked. There was no way David Bowie could die, because he's an immortal space alien. I told my friends, and we all furiously scrolled through our phones, searching for confirmation. Seems like most of the internet thought it was a hoax, too--until Sky News confirmed it. And Pitchfork. And Duncan Jones, his son.

The Bunkhouse, to their everlasting credit, took the news seriously. They made the announcement immediately, put his music on. Many toasts were made. I owe a lot to my friends, too, who were full of hugs and kind words and offers for drinks. It's sort of funny--you'd think I was a grieving widow or something, all the messages I've been receiving from people checking in on me. But I do appreciate it. I guess my Bowie obsession was more apparent than even I realized--and I was pretty aware of it, obviously.

God, this post is narcissistic. I'm not trying to prove that I am The Biggest Bowie Fan of All Eternity. I'm sure that's not true. There's probably a person out there with a lightning bolt face tattoo. There's probably someone who spent the whole day crying instead of working, which is what I did. The point is: I love David Bowie. I love him so much, and now he's dead, and I'm really sad about it, and I'm eternally grateful for him and his perfect music, and I wish there were some way I could have told him that I love him. It does feel like I lost a friend, even though we never met.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Bowie live videos: this 2002 performance of "Heroes" in Berlin. It's pretty straightforward, but let's be real--he looks sexy as hell. There's a man who aged well.

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