David Bowie: 1947 – 2016

Everyone has a Doctor Who they think of as ‘their’ doctor. Mine’s Peter Davison – it didn’t matter that he had a stick of celery stuck to his lapel, he was brilliant.

Looking at photos posted over social media this morning, it’s clear that everyone has a different David Bowie. For some, he’s Ziggy Stardust, for others, The Thin White Duke. For many people my age, he’s Jareth, the Goblin King with the enormous hair from Labyrinth.

And just like the Doctor, with his ever changing faces, I think we all thought David Bowie would be around forever.

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I didn’t have a clue who David Bowie was till about 1984. My mum had bought a poster of him on a trip to London and put it up in my room – I’ve been trawling Google for it, and the closest I can find to it (I think) is this…

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‘My’ Bowie is early 80s suity man. The first time I heard him sing was the Dancing in the Street video with Mick Jagger – *such* dad-dancing. I knew Bowie was a big deal in music but I was too young and obsessed with A-Ha to know much more than that. His picture stayed on my wall but was gradually replaced with boybands, brat pack pin-ups… I feel bad for today’s youth that they’ll never have the joy of spending a day rearranging their posters (and freaking out that the blu-tac has wrecked the paintwork).

Then came Labyrinth, which blew my tiny mind. My mum took me and my sister to see it at the ABC in Tunbridge Wells and then we came home and had lasagna for tea, which mum never cooked as it was so much faff, so Cinema + Lasagna = pretty much the best day ever to 8 year old me.

So David Bowie, the man on my wall, was a film star as well. Basically, the coolest thing ever. I still didn’t know much about his music, but I knew he made a pretty awesome goblin king.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m at college trying to reinvent myself. I changed my name, I changed my wardrobe, I even changed my accent for a bit. I learned about pre1980s music and bought a double cassette of Bowie’s greatest hits for 50p from the charity shop. One afternoon, hungover and lying on my bed trying to come up with some kind of proposal for a devised theatre piece, I’m listening to Ziggy Stardust, and suddenly a whole concept comes to me. I scribble something down and it gets picked to be developed into a full blown production, and it was a raging success.

(OK, it was the most pretentious bunch of student bollocks known to man, we set fire to the theatre , and we all got pisspoor marks, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?)

Fast forward another few years and I’m skipping along the South Bank, pleasantly pissed with one of my best mates, lalala-ing to Kooks. Corsica 2004, painting a fence and trying to do the clicks on Under Pressure at the same time. Dealing with a bully at work and storming home listening to Queen Bitch. Life on Mars *always* making me cry, wherever and whenever I’m listening to it. So many songs, so many memories.

Thank you and RIP, David Bowie. You really did create the soundtrack to my life.

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