“Oddity” is a Precious Thing. The Legacy of Bowie.
The last few days have been David days. No doubt — can’t call it any other way. Days of emotion; days of introspection.
At 7am last Monday morning, Radio 4 was playing a David Bowie song, and I just knew. David Bowie, the brilliant, original maverick was dead. Even in my half awake slumber I knew that. Let’s face it, you don’t have your songs played on Radio 4 at 7am unless YOU ARE up there with Major Tom!
This news was not ordinary. Not for me anyway. It was not another “thanks for the memory”, it was an instant transportation back in time to my childhood, and there I was in front of TOTP, a small boy watching an alien sing Space Oddity. Back then Space Oddity was like nothing else we had seen. It was terrifying and mesmerising and brilliant. It burnt images I can still see clearly forty years later, of my house, my family sitting room, my TV, my family. And of David Bowie.
Then as the news rolled in last Monday morning, David Cameron was quickly heard lamenting vaguely that ‘immense British talent……BLAH BLAH ……David B was a ‘genius’. A trundling and well rehearsed quote from one David to another David, whose galaxies could not be further apart.
I listened and considered the archetypal insider celebrating the ginger, bisexual, alien eyed, androgynous outsider (he declined the CBE and Knighthood)
Tuesday’s Times was enclosed by a four page tribute to David Bowie. Ironically on the cover below the word “Starman” was the other David. David Cameron. ‘All children should have ‘tiger mums’’ he said.
Before you could finish listening to Jean Genie you read how David Cameron knows that success requires hard work, dedication and discipline. (Indeed it can often do David C.) How children thrive on high expectations. (Yes, some do) How all kids should be exposed to the very best that schools do (We have some way to go on a universal British approach David C! )
David Cameron made no mention of celebrating the individual. Or understanding that some kids learn differently — that creativity like David Bowie’s can’t be measured or tested.
David Bowie was a child described as “a pleasant idler” at school. His one ‘O’ Level didn’t add up to much. Yet his desire to do and be something different set him apart. This was, he once said, the result of an ‘attention deficit disorder’ (ADD/ADHD). He believed this ‘difference’ contributed to making him who he was (MUSICIAN, BUSINESSMAN, ACTOR, STYLE ICON, ROCK GOD) He was powered not hindered by ADHD! .
Well we thank you for being different David Bowie. You opened up the world.
You showed us that there were endless possibilities for everyone. You unlocked the door for difference and creativity. You gave us the idea that we can create ourselves whoever or whatever we are….
“Bowie existed so all of us ‘misfits’ learned that an oddity was a precious thing. He changed the world forever.” Guillermo del Toro