Eight year old me, was merely an embryo of fabulousness and as Bowie engrained his alien glitterati warrior lifestyle into my brain, the phoenix ignited. I was soon leaping out of bed to golden years and imitating what was to me, an everlasting icon.
Yesterday, that icon was taken from us all. The question that keeps popping up in my mind, is that if Bowie influenced me so much, how did Mr. Bowie change our world?
Firstly for me he provided a space-world of limitless creativity and amazement, and I would assume that many people would say they occupy that galaxy with us. David Jones hailed from Brixton, not that there’s anything atrocious about that, but its not exactly Mars. Bowie showed us that even if your background is unremarkable, and a council house in west Yorkshire may be your current domain, you can dominate the rest of your life and pummel mediocrity into non existence through hard work and a genuine passion for the fantastical and fabulous.
The escapism of Bowie's fantastical world was never wasted on his fans. A creative conversation began between him and the public and a shriek echoed through British culture: ‘It’s time for ch ch ch ch changes’.
On 6 July 1972, Bowie blasted into the living rooms of England with his stunning rendition of Starman. That striking red hair, that jumpsuit, that make up. Imagine having just got your first ever colour television, and witnessing this effervescent beast of extra-terrestrial loveliness bathe your mind with a glimpse of the divine. Truly, utterly enthralling.
At that moment in time, a cultural shift happened towards Bowie and the attitude towards the unknown. Who was this androgynous tastemaker and why was it now mainstream to blur the lines of gender and sexuality? Now it wasn’t a taboo as such, it was artistic expression manifest. These groundbreaking cultural shifts were triggered by Bowie's juggernaut of other worldly music.
His constant self-reinvention from Ziggy Stardust, to Thin White Duke, to Aladdin Sane to The Man Who Fell to Earth were not seen as a publicity stunt, but the evolution and rebirth of a true artist, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of his fascinating multiple personas. As a result of his constant reinvention, his ardent fans questioned their own identity and now made conscious decisions aboiut the person they wanted to be, rather than what mould they were born to fit into .
No longer a boy from Brixton, an alien had landed and we were all witnessing its metamorphosis. The thing about Bowie that always impressed upon me most was his limitlessness, intrinsically linked with an absolute sense of humanity. Bowie achieved a balance that not many others can; so alien but so relatable. Bowie changed the world, maybe not for everyone, but for anyone who wanted to believe in a Starman, it feels as if he’s just gone home.
Celebrate David Bowie this Thursday at Small Cinema Liverpool, screening The Man Who Fell to Earth at 7.30pm, and all weekend at FACT - click here to book tickets for Labyrinth.