Dienstag, 12. Januar 2016

Bowie Bandwagon

Last night, we ate dinner in front of the record player and played each other our favorite David Bowie songs - pausing for the BBC special and to watch the episode of the Extras, when Bowie sings to Ricky Gervais.
My husband and I went on our third date to a Bowie concert in Boston. I began to have my doubts about him when he started calling the Fleet center xenophobic for not accepting his swiss passport to buy beer, but reconsidered when I discovered they wouldn't accept my RI license either. Then there was that point when I saw his face when Bowie was singing Ashes to Ashes and I was so moved.
I'm a child of the 80s and so 80s Bowie was my first Bowie. But the time that I began to appreciate Bowie as an adult was at a weird basement bar in downtown Providence. I started going there with my boyfriend when I learned that they would serve an underaged me. (I'd order scotch neat so that they wouldn't know that I was a secret 19 year old.)
There we attended the weekly open mic night, mostly in support of my boyfriend's co-worker. He was a slight man with an astonishing voice. But each time, a middle aged man with messy hair, a paunch and a bit of a grimace on his face would sing Space Oddity, using different props each time and making exploding sounds at the end of it. At first I disliked this guy. His voice was ok, but he seemed so uncool (and I was 19, so it was my job to organize things into "cool" and "uncool" categories.) But over time, I came to love the way that this guy was expressing him. It was clear that this song was important to him and he was singing it with his whole self. It became beautiful to me and I can't hear it without thinking about this fella's enthusiasm and love of Bowie or Kubrick or space or whatever it was that was moving him.
When Kristin Wig sang it in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I cried. As I've mentioned in past posts, I'm a crybaby. But I was also thinking of that open mic guy. My mom and I talked about that film before she died. She expressed an interest in seeing it. I think she'd read the book. And what I remembered most was this scene (my husband most remembers the long boarding ahead of the volcano.)
My husband is not a cry baby, but when the BBC went from the different places where Bowie had lived and showed the mourners collected, he got a bit weepy. It sometimes feels weird to be so sad about the death of an artist, but seeing all of those many people who were so touched all over the western world was really moving. 

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