Devastating news today.
We've all just learned that David Bowie has tragically passed away after an eighteen month long battle with cancer.
It's a heartbreaking piece of news that seems to have come out of nowhere. Perhaps because despite all his decades of envelope pushing and transgression, Bowie was an elegant gentleman who never really courted celebrity or coverage.
For so long, he seemed to be so busy inhabiting the many alter egos and brilliant music he created, that he seemed less a man and more a creative force who projected so many larger than life entities into our world.
So it has come as a surprise - a heartbreaking newsflash as rigid as that old lightning bolt that our evergreen Thin White Duke, our Ziggy Stardust is no longer with us.
How very sad that we (and of course his family and friends) have lost one of the greatest artist/entertainers the world has ever seen.
There are so many things to love and admire about Bowie.
He was a pioneer; bold, creative and the one person who designed the blueprint for all the non conventional artists that followed. After all, Bowie spent more of his life setting and ignoring trends than he did chasing them and yet managed to maintain his influence longer than most.
I'm an eighties boy in nearly every sense of the word, but the 80s and the music world as we know it today wouldn't have been the same without the presence of Bowie.
What a ground breaker! A remarkable singer/songwriter, a performer who blurred every line that was possible even in an era when artists didn't have access to mass media, nor instant media as they do now.
In my novel Vinyl Tiger, there are numerous references made to him or inspired by him because I truly believe that the most engaging, challenging pop artists from the eighties onwards, like the main character in Vinyl Tiger, owe a huge debt to him.
The main character in my novel is someone who engages in reinvention and androgyny, but what separated Bowie from most of the artists that followed him was that those transformations were genuine and inspired. They were part and parcel of his artistic process and not about pre-calculated moments but more about bridging the gaps between traditional musicianship and conceptual/performance art.
Space Oddity is where it began, back in 1969. And the journey he took along the way - always seemed to be about following his integrity and his artistry even if it didn't always connect with audiences or bled into other artistic mediums.
He maintained that commitment right through to Black Star, his last (and recently released album) including for Lazarus - the video and song whose symbolism will be seen as Bowie's last testament to an artistic life of conviction.
May he Rest in Peace.
Dave Di Vito
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Dave Di Vito is a writer, teacher and former curator.He's also the author of the Vinyl Tiger series and Replace The Sky.
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