Thank you David Bowie
The first pop song I ever knew word-perfect was David Bowie’s Kooks. Every word was special to me, and the melody and accompanying music reinforced my feeling that in Bowie was someone who really understood. Way back before I was a teenager his words resonated uniquely. I was far too young to understand why. With hindsight his influence has become much more clear.
It wasn’t just the man’s words or his music. It wasn’t his confusing sexuality or the serial invention of his persona or the way that he dressed or presented himself. What helped me as I grew up was the message that his public image presented, and that it appeared to be backed up by an emotionally consistent artistic intelligent private individual.
The essence of what I took from David Bowie and the zeitgeist that he influenced was that it was fine for me to be myself, even if that person never quite seemed to fit in. His example showed that it was fine to explore my limits and acceptable to experiment with how I presented myself, thereby learning how this influenced other peoples’ perceptions. His influence contributed to a belief that I had every right to change the direction of my career if and when I felt it appropriate, that it was possible to embody my passions in my work, and that I should embrace all of my experiences – good and bad – so that they could inform my personal development.
So thank you David Bowie. You engendered a significant nudge towards the development of a more considerate, open and tolerant society. I’ll never be sure of the true extent to which you influenced my development or whether you are a large part of why I am who I am, but I know you’ve been significant. I am sure that, as a result of the changes you catalyzed, my sort of difference is now considered so marginal that it is barely worth mentioning. Thank you, because nowadays most people don’t notice I’m different at all.