David Bowie is 65-years-old today. He has been my Rock God since I was old enough to reach the knobs on the stereo.
The man has been my sonic, cinematic and aesthetic inspiration. I’ve loved him for auditory and masturbatory reasons.
(Admittedly, I’ve never been particularly skilled at masturbation. I always seem to lose interest in me.)
When I was a teenager living on Whidbey Island in Washington State, he was the only man who Never Let Me Down. (Even if that album wasn’t one of his best.) No matter show shitty school was or how much I hated my parents, I could turn off the lights in my room, light a candle, crank up a Bowie album and everything would be okay. It was a religious experience. He offered salvation from the suburbs; a glimpse of a glam promised land where my life would be my own.
Of course, his influence wasn’t always positive. I’m fairly certain I can blame Bowie worship for my decision to represent my high school in a speech and debate competition while wearing vintage gold knee-high platform boots, shorts and a matching gold lace jacket.
(In case you were wondering-I was reciting Mark Twain at the time. And no, I did not win.)
Furthermore, his appreciation of William S. Burroughs’ “cut up technique” led to 16-year-old me writing some of the worst, most convoluted short stories imaginable. Sample line: “It was a garden of genocide.”
But I forgive you, David Bowie. I’ve spent endless hours scrounging for your rare import records in used record shops, leaped from a stadium balcony (while wearing a dress and heels) just to get closer to the stage, defended your circa 1987 haircut.
We live in the same city now, and I keep thinking one day I’ll catch a glimpse of you crossing the street; going to your local deli or getting a newspaper. But I hope I never do. What if you were wearing a ratty pair of sweats? What if I saw you up close and you had something hanging out of your nose? No. I need you on your glittering pedestal; remote and perfect. You’ve been up there for too long. I’m not sure what I’d do without you.