It’s been 6 months to the day since the news broke that (almost) everyone’s favorite singer, actor, musician, artist and all round cool geezer passed away. At times it feels like yesterday that we received the sad news yet, in other moments of deep thought, it feels like a lifetime. Something that I have found intriguing is the way Bowie’s loyal and dedicated fan base has reacted and progressed emotionally since we lost our hero.
Some fans have literally been in a constant state of sadness. For many, Bowie was there everything, their inspiration and their escape from the harsh realities of the modern world ruled by war and capitalism. Meanwhile, others have actually been freed by Bowie’s passing as if his death gave them a new opportunity to move in new and exciting directions with their life. To be honest, being a Bowie fan can become somewhat of an obsession. It drives you to do things in life that you would not normally imagine possible. Crazy huh? How does one man, a man you don’t know inspire so many of us in so many ways?
Take the following anecdote as a fine example of Bowie’s influence on us.
Just last night I managed to find an album from a group called “The Last Poets”. They rose from the ashes of the American civil rights movement in the late 1960s and became renowned as the early pioneers of hip hop and rap music. For some 13 years I have been trying to find a copy of their debut 1970 debut. It was one of those things that always followed me on my jaunts into record shops around the world. Sadly, I was never able to locate an original vinyl pressing in my travels.
Then, just last night, I managed to trace a copy from the internet in the form of a naughty download. What’s more, the album itself has not left me in any way disappointed. Sometimes albums can let you down when they are talked up. To be honest, this one sounds like nothing I have heard before. Very bold and direct lyrics that smack you hard in the face revolving around the issues faced with the African American communities in America during the 1960s. It’s going to be a mainstay on my iPhone for the next few weeks because it is simply that good an album.
For me, this is just another reason why Bowie is an inspiration to so many. He had this astute knack of forcing you out of your comfort zone. To take a risk when the logical option would have been to follow the safe route. Many of his fans have become wonderfully open minded and diverse human beings because of Bowie’s influence on their lifestyle. That’s what makes people like him so special. They drive you in directions that would otherwise be unimaginable.
Six months on, I’m still in celebratory mode. I’ve embraced Bowie’s death as a way to move forward in new directions. And last night’s discovery of The Last Poets is firm proof that you are never too old to grow and already new mind.