David Bowie was groundbreaking. There is no other way to describe him. Since I was a small child his music has been with me and though I came to know him through the "Scary Monsters" album, and "Ashes to Ashes" in particular, his whole career has been an inspiration, even if out of necessity I discovered it all in the wrong order due to the fact I wasn't born until several years into his career.
David Bowie taught me one of the most important lessons I've ever learnt; that it's not just ok to change as the years go by, but those changes should be embraced. It was with Ziggy Stardust's encouragement that I bought my first forays into Goth subculture, realised it was too uniform and turned it into something that was more authentically and uniquely me.
Long before I became a Witch, I would lie in bed with my cd player going listening to tracks laced with occult references. Whether it is the opening lines from the "Hunky Dory" track "Quicksand" - "I'm closer to the Golden Dawn / Immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery" to the Nietzsche-inspired themes of Homo Superior in "Oh! You Pretty Things", and even the folk rock of "Moonage Daydream", I was subtly fed influences that I wanted to learn about.
|Image from www.davidbowie.com|
Bowie's interest in the occult is well documented, though not always accurately; the wild rumours were actively encouraged by his manager Tony DeFries, but there does appear to be significant evidence for at least a grain of truth in among the excesses. By the mid-1970s he was apparently doing enough cocaine to cause massive paranoia (I personally don't believe he overdosed three times in a single week, but only because that story isn't often repeated). He was living in the Los Feliz area of L.A. and was so concerned with demonic forces attacking him he used, among other things, tarot and numerology to protect him, finally getting a "white" witch to perform a cleansing ritual on the building to lift the perceived curse, with his wife Angie claiming in her memoirs that the water in the pool thrashed as the curse was lifted.
His last studio album was released on Friday, his 69th birthday, and just a couple of days before his tragic passing. I love that as soon as tracks became available the internet was alive with theories of occult references. For the record I am still waiting for my copy of ★ to be delivered (when it comes to Bowie a digital copy just won't do, even though he was such an internet pioneer with such things as Bowie.net) so I cannot comment on the lyrics just yet, so for now I shall have to be content with his classic albums.
When I was at my lowest point David Bowie saved me from the brink with a cry of "Just gimme your hands" but I wonder who will save me now, as my soul wails its sorrow. It seems only appropriate that I let him have the last word. Sir, you will always be missed but never equalled. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. RIP.
"Oh no love! You're not alone.
You're watching yourself but you're too unfair.
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! You're not alone
No matter what or who you've been
No matter when or where you've seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I've had my share; I'll help you with the pain.
You're not alone!"