It's an unusually sad day, one of the saddest in recent memory.
David Bowie has died.
This information is very hard to process. Does someone like Bowie give in to the banality of death? Or, as others have suggested, was he just passing through our little blue planet on his way to somewhere better?
I'm floating in a most peculiar way, dipping in and out of Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane and Low and Ziggy Stardust, unable to do much work today, immersing myself in his massive, beautiful talent, so very sad, tears coming and going. I have never shed tears over a celebrity death before, not Lennon or even Lou Reed, but this one I'm taking personally. It is personal. He was the soundtrack of our youth, every song, as my friend Vivien points out, represented a love affair, a moment. Every single song takes us back to a particular place, a specific time. When I was 19 I was sure he was God. Not in a silly way, not in a drunken, oh wow maybe Bowie could be a deity way, profoundly, insistently. I thought he knew something that no-one else knew. His lyrics were magic, each word imparted with intense meaning. He spoke to ME.
And I find I'm not alone. Today, I'm surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people who think this is personal, who believe that Bowie spoke specifically to them. He was a refuge for the freaks, the outsiders, the dorks, the people who didn't fit in. He sucked the humdrum out of life as a teenager in the English countryside, made us dream of glamour and transcendence and glitter, and blew our minds. He was everything.
And only a few days ago I was driving with the man I love through the cold, blue sunshine of Joshua Tree, windows rolled down, singing Life on Mars at the top of our lungs, holding hands and smiling as the sun flickered through the desert. And he knew the words too. All of them. How is this possible, I thought, to be in love with a man who also knows and loves Bowie as I do. This could be the most perfect day (it was January 1, 2016). This could be bliss.