Blue & Gold: Chronicling the Zeitgeist-Defining Saga of Mr. David Bowie
(This article originally appeared on TheHemponair.com.)
They say that eyes are the windows to the soul. Heterochromia Iridium, which is the genetic condition where the pupils of both eyes are of a different color, is rare enough in of itself; when it occurs later in one’s life, however, it’s about as rare as an albino raven.
David Bowie was born with two blue eyes. In 1962, when David was 14 years old, him and his schoolmate, George Underwood, got into a bit of a scuffle. Accidentally grazing Bowie’s eye with his fingernail was enough for the metamorphosis to occur. Kismet was proclaimed! From that instance on, David would not only be defined by his idiosyncratic condition; he would reciprocally define it. Times and fashion would inevitably change, but there was always that gold and blue hint divinely driving it into its prognosticated stages. Like the majority of hip, young Brits in the 1960’s, David’s first defining style was “Mod.” Yeah, Baby! The shaggy hair coupled with ironed shirts and shiny loafers defined the era; but it was Bowie that would accentuate it. Back-dropped by his hetero iris/pupil, David added a certain whimsical quality to an otherwise conformist epoch. This would continue on through the 1970’s and all the way up to his passing just a few days ago on January 10th, 2016.
The late 60’s into the early 70’s saw David begin to experiment more with his looks. The myriads of clothes and accouterments that he would purchase (or barter from thrift stores) began to shape his “Ziggy Stardust” persona. Characterized by paradigm-shifting androgyny, David eclipsed all past precedents of sexual and creative expression. What Warhol did with his silver factory, Bowie was doing with his genre-defining persona(s). The likes of Klaus Nomi began to gain notoriety — all due to Bowie’s theatrical and open-minded game plan. Who else could pull off a giant, inflated penguin tuxedo!?
The mid-1970’s saw David create his “Thin White Duke” image. After all, what’s Rock & Roll without the sex and drugs part? Bowie’s “TWD” spliced into his cocaine-laden Berlin Neo-Dada days. He showed all of the predestined Gucci and Prada male models what the look for them was going to be like in the 2000’s… a good 30 years before they would ever stroll down the catwalk. All of the blush, wigs, dyes, blow, disco jackets, hooch, lovers, and lyrics changed; his eyes, however, remained constant.
The 1980’s seemed as though they were outright predicted by Bowie — before his “Space Odyssey” phase over a decade back had even manifested. Part Greaser, part Billy Idol (circa 1983, the Serious Moonlight Tour), part Ziggy hybrid — the 80’s saw some of Bowie’s quickest and most overlapping manifestations. Controlled by the cheesy “Big Hair” bands of the 1980’s, Bowie was comfortable in catering to his own mix and match of over-the-top qualities.
The 1990’s saw Grunge take over. Many rock connoisseurs claim that Neil Young was the archetypal Godfather of Grunge; others, however, can (just as) easily argue for Bowie’s influence. Flannel shirts and sagging pants were a bit blasé for Mr. Bowie. After Kurt Cobain famously covered Bowie’s “The man who sold the world,” a whole new generation began seeing the fathomless contributions that Bowie had given to our humble realm. With all of the angst and disarray associated with the Grunge era, Bowie decided to shift the stance and try out his electronic phase. Slowly but surely, the fashion sense of the 90’s began to take on more subtle and sophisticated tones.
The 2000’s epitomized David Bowie’s eclectic full circle. What started as prim — and eventually evolved to glam — had become dapper once again! Y2K had brought to life a refined resurgence in the masses. This new era saw David Bowie reinvent the classic attire that a man was to don. Well groomed, hair slicked back, pristine matching and symmetry — all the while the fads were spinning; this was a new millennium, after all. There was a calm to the storm. There was that omniscient gaze that even Dr. T.J. Eckleburg would be proud of. Times were changing (as they always had), but one thing remained constant… those gold and blue cat eyes.
David Bowie left us only a few days ago. As of this moment, he is playing on Mars with the spiders. If you look up into our little Milky Way galaxy and see blue and gold stars shimmering… know that the Starman is looking back down on you and judging that ridiculous looking man bun your sporting! “At the center of it all… your eyes, your eyes.”
By Andre Zemnovitsch