I feel like I’ve known David Bowie in some capacity my whole life. I didn’t really know what to make of Labyrinth when I was a kid, but I watched it all the time, and was incredibly creeped out by Jareth. I wasn’t into that hair, and whatever was in his pants. I’m still vaguely creeped out by him. And that movie is still weird (and wonderful), and David Bowie is still David Bowie.
I got lucky. The first Bowie album I ever listened to all the way through was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (commonly known as Ziggy Stardust). To this day it remains the most crucial album in his canon (even when you consider Low and Heroes and yes, dammit even Let’s Dance).
Aside from his wide ranging and far reaching music catalogue, which is filled with so much strange brilliance from end-to-end, I hold so much respect for him as a person. For almost 50 years… He’s always busted conventions, and done whatever the fuck he wanted. Even at the very height of the Berlin period (when he released Low, Heroes & Lodger back-to-back-to-back), when he was releasing some of the most interesting and masterful stuff, his music videos were getting banned in the UK because he dressed as a woman.
I was lucky enough to see David Bowie Is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a few years back (not at the Tate, as some assumed). It was a really interesting exhibit which used zone-controlled listening devices, so you were constantly surrounded by the sounds of David Bowie’s voice and music, while looking at actual outfits he wore, or room-size screens of him as Ziggy, prancing across a stage in platform boots. It made me realize how different he was, and how OK it was to be different, and how much I loved him.
David Bowie, the love I have for you is unreal. Happy Birthday.