When a legend leaves…

 

It’s taken me some time to put into words what I feel at the loss of David Bowie. Like everyone else, his death has come as a huge shock and, in his own words; “The stars look very different today” now that he’s left this world.

I’m in the throes of exams at the moment and yesterday was supposed to be all about studying. I logged onto Facebook in the morning and was met with a wall of lamentation and loss. The news floored me, knocking me off-kilter for the rest of the day.

I found myself wondering at this. How can the death of somebody I’ve never met affect me so profoundly? It was something I found myself pondering at length while coming to terms with Bowie’s passing. However, after seeing how others around me shared my feelings, after hearing about spontaneous gatherings of people to celebrate his life and read all the tributes and eulogies online, I’ve come to the conclusion that we did know him. All of us.

David Bowie became a star before I was born, so his music has been part of my whole life. I grew up with songs like ‘Heroes’, ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘Space Oddity’ playing in the background and saw him on Top Of The Pops. His face was in the teen magazines my sister bought. As the eighties progressed, my teenage self became intrigued with Bowie’s ever-changing persona. He taught me that it was ok to be different and to walk to the beat of my own drum. ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and ‘Fashion’ played heavily on my bedroom turntable and rarely a night at the local alternative disco, The Grove, went by without at least one Bowie track being played.

I remember going to see him in ‘Labyrinth’ and developing a huge crush on Jareth, the Goblin King. (I won’t go into my brother’s equally huge crush on Jennifer Connolly in the same movie!) and buying the soundtrack to the film. As the years passed and I matured into an adult, I became interested in other bands, genres and musicians. But Bowie was always there in one guise or another. I may have not been a huge fan of some of his later musical experimentations but I would still fall back on his earlier material. When I joined the Grove Radio Show, he became a regular feature on the playlist.

So it’s not surprising after all, that I, along with so many others, have felt David Bowie’s loss so keenly. They say music is the soundtrack to your life and the musicians and bands you cherish become inextricably associated with the high and low points of your days on this earth. They are there in your laughter, tears, triumphs and failures. They ease your hurting heart and lift your wings. And in the process, weave themselves into the fabric of your soul.

In light of this, it’s almost to be expected that, on learning of the death of someone who was such an intrinsic part of our lives, the knowledge is painful and we feel like part of our hearts has been ripped out. Because it has.

Bowie may be gone in body (I like to think that Ziggy has simply gone home) but he has left us the gift of a last album, Blackstar, and five decades of back catalogue. His legacy to the world. So cry for him if you want, drink a toast to his memory, and play that music LOUD!

Thank you, Starman, and goodnight. X

 

Jennifer Roche

Dublin

12/01/16

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