I took a detour before studying abroad, and stayed in London with one of my very good friends from high school, Darryn, who moved here after graduation. It was really great and amazing and extraordinary, but I’ll write specifically about London later. Let’s talk about what happened today.
The first time I heard of David Bowie, I must have been 7 or 8 years old, when his song with Queen came on the radio and I was with my parents. Queen was the first concert I ever went to, and I still have those memories vivid in my mind. Driving all the way to Philly, wondering how I could be at a concert that the lead singer wasn’t even going to be there. I got to leave school early too, and my mom printed out the lyrics of every song that was on the setlist. Little did I know how much that concert would mean to me, and how much I would fall in love with classic rock. Younger, I hated when my dad would put on 104.3 in the radio, the local classic rock station, but today I am glad that I can appreciate something as beautiful as that type of music, sing along, and feel the feels.
This morning, I woke up with a text from my mom and two news notifications explaining that the great David Bowie, at the age of 69, passed away after a year and a half long battle with cancer. I woke up, told Darryn the news, and instantly the memory of my mom singing Queen and David Bowie during a long car ride flooded my mind, the first few notes of “Under Pressure” could suddenly be heard in my ears (one of my favorite songs from that era, no less.) I ended up in London, for lack of a better word, at such a beautiful time, and made it a point to go to Brixton, Bowie’s birth place, and pay tribute. After bugging Darryn all day, we caught one of the final tubes to Brixton.
We got off the tube, and started looking around to see where everyone was when we saw this huge group of people huddled, and you could hear the vivid lyrics of “Starman.”
“Where is it?” Darryn asked. I pointed to the congregation of mourners, celebrating his life and we began to walk over. People were covered in glitter, dressed as Ziggy Stardust, wearing extravagant earrings, spiked hair, and neon clothes, with wine bottles and beer cans in the hands, crying and laughing of the memories they had of the Tin Machine front man. People were lighting candles, leaving old records, flowers, and just really celebrating his legacy. I think something I will remember forever is the people who gathered there really made his death almost like a “going away party,” paying tribute to all his songs, drinking and laughing. It was very emotional for me to attend this, since I really wasn’t expecting all this to happen. I can’t get over how happy people were. They were just truly celebrating. Even getting on the tube after leaving, people were still singing his songs. I still have the tune of “Starman” stuck in my head.
David Bowie, to me, was someone different. He was in one of my favorite songs ever, “Under Pressure.” He was someone who aided in paving the way for 70’s classic rock n’ roll and the glam rock era. I realize how important he was in his way of being androgynous, probably helping millions of people with more than just his music. His innovation and personas are just mind boggling to me, especially in that time period, it’s just amazing. One of his most important influences, to me, was his helping in introducing a type of sound for punk music. So I gotta thank him for that, because without him, I truly wouldn’t appreciate the music I listen to and being in the scene I’m in, so thanks for that David, you were inspiring. It was an amazing experience to be able to pay tribute to you in your hometown, and I’m glad I could be a part of the celebration of your life tonight. Thank you for being the star, icon, personality, and human (or alien) you were. Thank you for reminded people it was okay to be different, be yourself, to be a leader, that it’s okay to change, and for the beautiful memory of me and my mom being able to sing together in the car on the way to my first ever concert. I can’t thank you enough for being the musical genius you were, and giving the world what you gave us. Let’s Dance in paradise.
“I don’t know where I am going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”