Truly sad

When I heard the news about David Bowie's death this morning I was very moved and truly sad, a bit to my surprise, actually. I was at work, when I flicked some media open on my screen and saw it, and had tears in my eyes after reading the brief 'breaking news' story.

Come to think of it; maybe it's not that strange? For more than thirty five years I have never not listened to him, he is perhaps the one youth idol that has truly stayed with me, in the most constant way. 

The mass and scope of his art and of his whole electrifying person, is almost not comprehensible, and all his many colors and forms (and albums) have been interwoven with all important periods of my adult life. And all the unimportant ones, as well. And he, that is his music, has actually been a very real part of my life, I realized. I don't think I can say quite the same about any other artist? 

So yes, a sad and deeply thankful goodbye to David Bowie.

And a memory, one among many....

I was nineteen and lived in Sweden at the time. I worked and lived in a Waldorf School teacher seminar (I was a kitchen worker) out in the countryside, near Stockholm, and had - with a great deal of trouble and standing endlessly in line, secured myself and some friends tickets for the 'Serious Moonlight Tour' concert in Gothenburg, at the big Ullevi Stadium. We were really poor, and couldn't afford train tickets, and hitchhiked (also with a great deal of trouble) across Sweden, and made it to the concert just in time. It was such a journey (I wasn't much used to hitchhiking either), but that somehow felt appropriate, I mean: we were going to a Bowie concert! I remember how much I looked forward to it, the ticket stuck on my wall for months. Perhaps I actually still have it somewhere, I wouldn't be surprised.

The concert was a bubble of golden unreal. It was during his glamorous, blond, pastel suited, suntanned superstardom, following the irresistible 'Let's Dance' album, and wonderfully alien to my days of peeling organic potatoes and brewing herbal teas in the big school kitchen where I worked (and loved to work!). 

I just googled the set list - because that's what you can do these days - and that was almost too much for me. So never mind the set list, I'll stay with the golden bubble memory of that June evening in 1983. Because that was the only time I ever managed to catch him live, despite several opportunities.

Of course we couldn't afford a hostel or camping either - so we hitchhiked back to Stockholm again after the concert. I remember we had a single beer or two after the show, because we didn't dare to become too sleepy - and then it was back to the highway again, and the loooongest trip home after any concert, ever.

Here he is, dispensing Serious Moonlight to a delirious crowd:

Somewhere in that crowd was a girl, who was already a big fan, and had been for some years - and would remain so, through all kinds of periods in my life where I delved deep into things (as I tend to do). I had a year long period of listening almost exclusively to jazz - and several ones of listening a lot to classical music, opera. And there has been my Motown era(s). My African, Arabic and Latin American periods. But Bowie was always listened to, as well. Always.

Now I listen to all of the above. And much more to silence, which means that I choose my listening with more care, because we are only here for a brief, wonderful time.

As we were reminded today. 

My favorite albums? Space Oddity, Honky Dory, Young Americans, Heroes
Perhaps especially Heroes. Something about how it just captures a certain time. It's a time capsule for me, still.

The photos above are from a contact sheet of photographer Masayoshi Sukita, who took the legendary cover photo, and many, many other iconic Bowie portraits (click the link and read about their life long collaboration).

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