Tenacious vocals surge and herald, I heard the news today, oh boy. Tear a tear from blue depths, we heard the news. Cursive curls around words that wade in the ripple of my mind’s tide, his songs in the foreground of a thought, of memories and truths my life has borne. I’d know every nuance and realm of how his heart and voice have cried out over fifty years of soul. I pay my respects to David Bowie and his sound words as my heart may muster as it floats with a lightness of soul into the stars. Now, when I lean back on my radio and hear him, as my toes tread, I will try to live my life by his songs, some of the most important truths from Ziggy, a hazy cosmic jazz and a London cat cast to the stars to be a starman forever.
I’m sure Bowie was beating in the background of my childhood, my dad would have made sure of that, though my ears only pricked up when I heard Under Pressure. His voice called out from cars and walkmans and I grew up with The Labyrinth and there was the blue-eyed suit he wore in the 1977 Top of the Pops. I remember messing with chords, sitting at Will’s piano, whilst he carefully carried them onto the guitar, loving his lyrics, letting them latch onto our pulses, wishing we were heroes and dolphins.
Sometimes his words wander around solitude’s lonely days and ends but balanced with comfort, he becomes a guide. Looking after our haunting fragility, his words have sown a blanket that comforts. Let me put my arms around your head … don’t laugh babe, it’ll be all right. Our life risks being a crash-course … we’re gonna freak out, far out and we need to find solace somewhere and in someone. By understanding man’s ardent yearning for alleviation and assistance, he speaks like an omnipotent and cosseting ally. Everybody feels that everything is real, everyone can feel their chains. We all want to smile into someone’s chest mollified and murmuring you found me. Now I can be real, we’ll breathe.
We seek a ground control to coach us, to guide us, like a brother or parent or heathen or god, to help us through the door, out of the capsule. Days lack consistency, moonage daydreams escape obscurity as we bust our brains for the right words and ways. Helplessness can smother us rather than love mothering us. Ground control to Major Tom, your circuits dead, there’s something wrong, can you hear me major Tom?” This bridge breathes a broken blueness into my bones. The guide is gone, now thousands of miles away, we must accept our autonomy and find our own way. It trembles me and I remember the fears of my fifteen-year-old self reciting Simon Armitage, I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something has to give; two floors below your fingertips still pinch the last one-hundredth of an inch…I reach towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky to fall or fly.
Fear and solitude shout out in honesty, it’ll break up rooms and hearts and then yawn in apathy. In pain and tired, it’s the sky that makes you feel tried, it’s a trick to make you see wide. I nestle into these words of empathy and I stand alert at awareness. We are each other’s guides. Oh no love, you’re not alone. We are all on this journey together, to somewhere, to wherever, being tried by the same sky. No matter what or who you’ve been, no matter when or where’s you’ve seen, all the knives to lacerate your brain, I’ve had my share I’ll help you with the pain. He’s calling for us to turn to each other. As we loose the grip on that last one-hundredth of an inch, there will be someone there to catch you, we need simply to turn to each other and harness a hand of somebody reaching near. If it’s all a vast creation, putting on a face that’s new someone has to see, a role for him and me someone might as well be you.
He trebuchets tribute to youth and the choices they have to make, the pretty things driving their mamas and papas insane, look at your children, see their faces in golden rays, don’t kid yourself they belong to you, they’re the start of a coming race. Lending a voice to them, he sings for the rebels that get spat on though they are trying the best they can. Again aware of each heart’s foundering flaw, he is a soul’s defender, don’t tell them to grow up and out of it … they’re quite aware of what they’re going through. Fears and choices ricochet between my hands but his suggestion sooths. A girl, with mundane mousy-brown hair but a heart as real as any other is conflicted in her towering-tiny affaire, her mummy is yelling no! And her daddy has told her to go. The Kooks believe in you, so soon you’ll grow and then you’ll be able to take a chance and change the film that has become a maddening bore, get out and do more, make the film of your world worth fighting for. Find your passion that screams, fight for something he sings.
Everybody’s raised in blindness, everybody knows it’s true, so go the words that walk by the melting sax of Who can I be now? A paramount and penetrating question to be asked by everyone, everyday. In his words mingle strata upon strata of significance seeking a love for the world and for every man. A care for people on streets, of soldiers fighting in bars and to anyone who has gazed out to a shore which once raised a sea that rages no more. We bare a beast of responsibility to exert the capacity to be a hero, even if just for a day. Drive-In-Saturday shows us the Jungs, who are worked into a horrified hope that neither hands nor limbs will burst. He confronts us with Buddies who shrug off this fellow’s pain and in doing so he sings for change.
He shows us horror. Standing by the wall, gunshots overhead, angry men hurting each other, mice in their million hoards, sheep slinking on, lemmings leaping off, animals aching hearts, blind bandying moles. Let’s laugh at folly, let’s cry at relentless reality about to be writ again. Every day there’s a story to break a heart but obtuse numbness has lead to not one damn song being able to make us break down and cry. We must question ourselves and our motives! Why is it that Rule Britannia is out of bounds? A bleak blueness of the planet, an austere azure reflection of ourselves. He’s putting on the pressure to confront what we have made the world about. Though he sympathises soulfully with the people on the streets and the families broken in two, he acts as both the friend who listens to our scream, “let me out!” and an optician, fitting us with a better pair of glasses with which to see the world.
Young Americans opens with energy and some sensational sax, soon followed by an inquest into the passing of time. We live for just the twenty years, do we have to die for the fifty more? Sixty-nine years would have been too few had they not been lived. A day needn’t die. His final album released just before his death has been received as a concise closure of a life that many have not achieved. Time, the one that puts cigarettes in your mouth, also has the potential for patience, waiting on a song long enough to hear an afflictive axiom – it’s all worthwhile. We are in charge of our ripples and their size and how they roll in the stream. Days aren’t doomed to float into a nothingness gone by. He’s singing for all ages, for all souls, for those too old to lose it and for those too young to choose it and for those that have lived too long. Before our last dance, whilst we’re here right now, don’t let the sun blast your shadow, don’t let the milk float ride your mind. Give love a chance, grow and ask. Honour a love that dares you to care for people and that dares you to change the way we care for ourselves. You can set the world on fire in any way you choose.