I was reading a forum this morning where one of the contributers mentioned how he still isn’t able to come to terms with the death of David Bowie. The very next comment came from a fellow music fan who simply stated, “David Bowie’s dead! Get over it!” and from there a heated debate ensued as it does when tempers flare from behind a plethora of keyboards. The following hour or so, as I kept returning to check for updates provided more questions than answers but it did get me thinking as to why so many people mourn the loss of the 20th Centuries most influential artist more than they have their own parents and loved ones.
One thing I need to clear up before proceeding is that this was not a Bowie forum. It was a music forum with fans of artists from all walks of life. So, before you shoot off to Bowie fan sites in search of drama, think twice. The beauty of the internet is that it introduces you to lines of thought you would otherwise not have followed. Sure, there are trolls out there who like to stir the pot however, for the best part, most music fans seem pretty decent when discussing their love of music online. Often, there is no right or wrong answer. When Bowie died in January last year, it kind of reminded me of John Lennon’s death in 1980. The first time I became aware of the impact Lennon had on people was in 1987 during the release hype of Sgt. Peppers 20th anniversary LP. My older brother was obsessed with The Beatles. He listened to them 24/7 and had posters of them all over his side of the room. We shared a bedroom at the time which must have been hard for a 17 year old teenager having to put up with his annoying little brother?
As part of the anniversary celebrations for Peppers, television networks focused in part on the assassination of Lennon some seven years prior. The footage was quite profound. People from all walks of life sobbing, uncontrollably for a man they didn’t really know outside of his music. Candles burning, flowers being laid outside his apartment and sing alongs around the world to celebrate a wonderful life. It was similar around the world when Bowie died. Even more so through the advent of social media. People could share their stories and memories. Part of the healing process for fans whose lives had changed indescribably thanks to the man from Brixton.
It’s been almost 16 months now and I still see daily updates on social media from Bowie fans who seem completely incapable of moving on. To be honest, when he died, I was a bit sad for a few days. Hell, I had a good cry once or twice as the initial shock set in though, I quickly moved on. Such is life right? Now, as a lot of you know, Bowie helped shape my life in so many ways. He introduced me to literature, film, art, social movements, history, fashion and most importantly, he helped me realize that it was fine to just be myself however that came. One thing I did learn from being an admirer of Bowie was that you should never dwell on the past. I doubt he would have wanted people to mourn his loss on a daily basis. He was never one for reflection. So why do so many of his fans still miss him like they miss a loved family member?
Part of the process comes with nostalgia. Many of his loyal fans are themselves now, sitting at an age where death is all around. I’m only pushing 40 myself and already noticing death of many childhood idols. As we get older and life gets serious, we often yearn for our youth when life seemed a lot simpler. It’s in our psyche to cling onto the golden years of our youth because it reminds us of how grand life is when you don’t have a mortgage hanging over your head or car loans, credit card debt along with all the other things that weigh us down as adults. Thankfully, I’ve never subscribed to the 2.4 kids and white picket fence approach to life. I still travel regularly, don’t have a credit card, never had kids and still live like a child in many respects. I guess I am still having fun so in turn, I don’t really have a need to look back and yearn for the freedom of youth as I still have it.
One of my long held theories is that too many of us spend our lives looking behind at the door that has closed behind us, yearning and craving to return to that particular period in our life. What we don’t see are the multiple doors opening in front of us. Many new beginnings in front of us because we focus too much on the past. Eventually, those new beginnings in front of us close up and we get trapped in the corridor of uncertainty where we yearn for the “good old days” when we were happier. This is why you must always pack a bag and move on.
We are all different and that is what makes the world tick over. Personally, I like to celebrate life. Others however, seem content to mourn longer than perhaps they should? Either way, David Bowie is dead and i’m almost certain that he wouldn’t want any of us to be still waking up every day with a heavy heart. Perhaps it is time we all just moved on?