Ashes to Ashes: A tribute to David Bowie

By Leilani Curry 13 January 2016, 12:00AM

Today my stars read: Sometimes you need a jolt to get you to shake loose certain habits that have kept you stuck in old patterns for far too long.

And that’s what happened when I read about the death of rock icon and legend, David Bowie, today.  The death of the Thin White Duke not only prompted an outpouring of grief, love, and deep gratitude on social media, but the passing of this creative genius also reminded me to make full use of the creative talents and skills at my disposal, which I have been procrastinating over for way too long.

For more than 50 years he has entertained us, taunted us, depressed us, danced with us, reinventing himself at every turn, shedding his skin as we shed our clothes.  

He bent gender and sexuality for the masses at a time when many people struggled to do so even privately, and he still represents a queer ideal that’s playful, sex-positive, and devoid of labels. David Bowie made being different look like the most fun, natural thing in the world.

Who can forget some of his greatest hits, Heroes, Ashes to Ashes, Young Americans, Let’s Dance, and Under Pressure with Freddie Mercury.

His musical curiosity was boundless and ranging from oft-delicate psychedelic folk, through rock, funk and even pop, creating chameleon-like characters such as Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom and the Starman.  And while his film career dwarfs that of his musical clout, some of his movies, The Hunger, Labyrinth, and The Prestige, will be replayed by many of us as we mourn his passing. Why? Because his unmistakable intelligence, fine-boned and razor-sharp as it was, was always cut with such warmth and such compassion, with such a desire to comfort and communicate through art.

Most of all, that’s what he was, a true artist, leading the world in music, fashion, eclectic performances, and celebrity that kept him one step ahead of the best, and all the rest of us who faithfully followed his reinventions.

Along with the movies, the music and characters he created, the true gift he gave us was to show us how to create at every turn, at every time of our lives. Even in death, he left us a parting gift, his dark album “Blackstar” released on his birthday, just days before dying of cancer, after an 18-month battle. 

As I wipe away the tears streaming down my face, remembering all the moments in my life where his songs gave meaning, or attending his Serious Moonlight concert in Auckland’s Western Springs, one of the biggest turnouts for a single artist, and one of the best concerts I ever attended, he reminds me that I too, am a creative being, one who can shed my skin and renew myself at anytime, one who can create art even during the darkest hours. 

The Starman has now ascended, and all that’s left is to feel sympathy for his family, who will feel the loss of the real man, David Jones. Thank you for all that you have given to billions around the world who loved you, the artist, and all you created, David Bowie. Rest in Love.

By Leilani Curry 13 January 2016, 12:00AM

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