The only thing harder to fathom than a world now without David Bowie in it, is David Bowie existing in the first place. Our getting to meet David Bowie somehow feels like a fortuitous cosmic accident. A consummate artist turned cultural icon, Bowie always seemed to cultivate a sense of the supernatural.
He appeared to be a benevolent, shape-shifting alien, transported here to enlighten earthlings about their own humanity. The Man Who Fell To Earth. A Starman, waiting in the sky. He liked to come and meet us, but knew he’d blow our minds.
Born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London in 1947, music industry politics led him to eventually abandon his birth name. Appreciating the spike of Mick Jagger’s surname, he redubbed his own after a fixed-blade fighting knife. Bowie’s blade proved long, plus powerful enough to deeply penetrate popular culture, while utilizing its sharpness to peel back layers of persona like an onion.
He famously inhabited a rotating cast of characters, particularly during his creative zeitgeist throughout the seventies. Ziggy Stardust. The Thin White Duke. Major Tom. Halloween Jack. Aladdin Sane. Each incarnation gave us some insight into the character of the man born David Jones, while also holding a mirror up to reveal something about ourselves.
From the first moment David Bowie arrived into the collective consciousness with “Space Oddity” in 1969, he floated through it in the most peculiar way. Due to that trajectory, our stars look very different today. In 2016, at age 69, Bowie’s free. Just like that blue bird, or in fact, just like me?!?