Everyone has a favorite David Bowie song, and “Heroes” is mine. A wistfully haunting song that I’ve always interpreted as the exchange between two lovers who have something wonderful, but are choosing to walk away from each other because life is difficult. It is song about love, regret, and the celebration of life despite both .. all rolled up into one.
I’ve never given it to another person, but have kept it for myself; to nurture me through hard times, and to remind me that hard times still have joy in them :
I’ve listened to this song after deaths.
I’ve listened to this song through broken hearts.
It was the song I was listening to the moment I decided to become sober.
It is that kind of a song for me.
Like many people today, I woke up to hear the news of David Bowie passing. My Facebook feed a wall of tears, several text messages in queue on my phone. As the day progressed, more and more people stepped up with kind words, or fond memories. High-school friends. Former co-workers. ‘Famous’ people, from a-list to minor gaming celebrities.
Slowly, I started to notice a common thread.
Everyone described a time when they felt alone, apart from the world. When they felt alienated or different; Everyone of these people then described how David Bowie – simply by being David Bowie – reached their hearts with his music .. and made the world a little better. Bowie was weird, he was quirky, he was brilliant – and I think it can be safely said that he gave zero fucks.
Imagine your worst day.
There is this metaphysical party that you never got invited to. Somehow you manage to show up, a few friends sneaking you in, only to have someone tell you ‘sorry, too many people in here as it is .. you are going to have to go wait outside.’ before pushing you out the door and closing it. You are sitting there on some stranger’s lawn, listening to muted music and laughter .. just out of reach. All by yourself. The entire fucking *world* is in there having fun .. without you. It is getting dark, and it looks like it is going to rain. You are just about ready to walk away ..
Suddenly a window pops open, a thin guy hops out. He saunters over to you, somehow both coming across as purposeful and lackadaisical. Stopping right next to you, he puts his arm across your shoulders and says ‘That is the most boring party I’ve ever been to mate. Out here, there isn’t anyone to tell us how to behave.’ He then turns, walking down the street into the dusk, lighting a cigarette. Almost impatiently, he looks over he shoulder and says ‘OI! You coming or what?’
I’ve seen a lot of folks expressing sadness today.
I’ve not seen the usual round of naysayers, telling us to get some perspective .. because he was only a celebrity, and hundreds of people die every day.
Because he was fucking David Bowie, the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust.
Being weird, being different, standing alone …
He made them cool.
And everyone has a day when they’ve been alone.