Like everyone else I woke up thinking it was just another Monday, a very cold Monday at that, only to find out that while I was sleeping the world lost David Bowie and now the stars will indeed look very different tonight because he will be up there partying like the rock star he was with Freddie Mercury and Mick Ronson and possibly even Lemmy as I am sure their paths had to have crossed at least once.
When I was about 12 or 13 years-old I went to my cousin Debbie’s house for dinner with my parents. She was not a close cousin (unlike my cousins on my mom’s side who I saw every week), she was on my dad’s side and while we used to spend time together when we were younger we hadn’t seen each in a couple of years. All of which led to our being together in her rec room while the grown ups chatted upstairs more than a bit awkward. We talked about the usual stuff, school and boys and music and that is where things got a bit weird.
Unlike me, Debbie had older siblings in the house to influence her music tastes while I was left on my own, stuck with Top 40 radio and blissfully unaware that there were other much more interesting options to choose from. After I mentioned my love of the Eagles she fake barfed and proceeded to play one of her brother’s David Bowie records (not sure if it was Diamond Dogs* or Ziggy Stardust), but by the time the chorus of Rebel Rebel kicked in I no longer knew or cared what an Eagle was other than a possibly endangered bird that was like a symbol of America or something.
Bowie was so transformative musically for me that from that moment on my musical tastes no longer reflected the majority of my peers and I turned into my cousin Debbie, fake barfing if someone told me they liked Grand Funk Railroad or worse, Olivia Newton-John. (Elton John was still okay, I loved Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and still do.)
Considering all the bands I saw in my go-to-every-concert-years I never saw Bowie live. For one thing he did not tour much, and when he did I think Minneapolis got passed by. (If someone tried to get me to come here in the winter I would also politely refuse.) So when the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth came out, and was showing at the awesome and now sadly departed Cooper Theater, my friend and fellow Bowie enthusiast hopped on our bikes, (it was the 70’s, kids did those kind of things, without helmets even) and headed on over, ready to plonk down our not-at-all hard-earned allowance monies to at least see him on film. Or so we thought. The Man Who Fell to Earth was an R rated film and we weren’t 17 and those bastards carded us. For reals, for a MOVIE.
I am not normally a band shirt wearing kind of person, but I do own one, a vintage Heroes era Bowie shirt that I paid too much for yet don’t regret doing so in the least. I am wearing it today and quite possibly tomorrow, such is the sartorial life of the currently unemployed. I just need to put on some red shoes while I dance the blues.
*it was of course Diamond Dogs