RIP David Bowie

….I am faced with that wretched sadness you get when a long-held dream has to die. But in human form.

I am not an uber-fan of Bowie’s music, though I love his work a lot. I came to awareness of Bowie’s music when Modern Love hit the Top 20s here in America, and within 5 years had seen Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and been awed by the man I saw on the screen. A decade and change later, I was a huge NIN fan when the two of them collaborated and then toured together, and I had an amazing time watching Bowie on the stage, cavorting like a marionette under a flexing wall/roof of fluorescent lights. I have loved Bowie as an actor as well as a musician – adoring The Hunger like a crazy person and loving him in The Last Temptation of Christ, The Prestige, and others. I could probably say that I like his acting more, but the combination of his amazing talent in both music and acting is hard to beat.

And yet. And yet.

I don’t know what year it was, but Bowie had an art show in CBGB’s Apartment Next Door. I remember wondering what it would be like, and seeing things that looked like a study of Picasso. And then I saw this:

Child in Berlin, 1977
(Description: A white-faced, hollow-eyed child looks up from a stair landing)
((Currently from Pinterest since my upload feature on WP isn’t working))

I went back to that painting over and over again that night. Kept looking at that child’s eyes. If I had had money, I would have bought it if I could. I have forgotten every other piece of art that night and most pieces of art I’ve seen in shows. This one, though, always stays with me.

This captures David Bowie’s importance to me. He could be strange, and delightful, and bizarre, and glamorous, and arrogant, and a narcissist, and all of these other adjectives, and all of that was terrific or bad or whatever you felt about him. However, what he did for humanity through his art is find a phrase or an image that was a crossbow bolt, straight through your emotional armor to the core of you… and changed the way you thought.

Goodbye, you extraordinary, brilliant human being. The world is much less without you in it.