Remembering David Bowie

david bowie RIP with wings from glass spider tour

david bowie RIP with wings from glass spider tour

My cat’s name is Bowie – a strange honor bestowing the thin white duke’s name on a fat black cat. I woke up at 4:00 AM today to the sounds of a hairball working it’s way out of his system and onto, probably, the rug. I got up, looked around to clean it up but couldn’t find anything. Got back in bed, couldn’t sleep. Checked Facebook and saw the news of David Bowie’s passing. Felt crushed and I’ve been up since. I’m listening to Blackstar now while I write this. 

I’m going to start by apologizing for not updating the site recently. 2015 was a busy year for me personally because I spent some time trying to figure out ways to make money instead of working full time. I started a business which is taking a lot more away from music than I thought. And honestly I got a little disillusioned with chasing press, likes, tweets and all that. The constant pressure to do more and devote more to something that always feels like it’s less than it could be. And all that time could be spent on writing more music and doing more creative things than spamming people to talk about you – which is the unfortunate reality of creative people who don’t have representation.

I don’t ever write rants and I’ve been doing way less Facebooking than ever. And I certainly could give a shit about most celebrities. But David Bowie is different. When I was a kid David Bowie was my babysitter.

Whenever my mom needed a break from taking care of three kids she parked us in front of the TV. But we didn’t watch cartoons. We’d watch an incredibly shitty VHS copy of David Bowie’s Glass Spider tour taped off the TV. If you’re not familiar with David Bowie’s Glass Spider Tour, the entire thing is on YouTube and you can watch it for free.  Critics hated it. It got some horrible reviews. But as a kid something about the magic of the entire performance was alluring.

Watching David Bowie was a magical experience. And the loss of such a creative force is upsetting. I don’t know if the emotions are selfish, a reflection on my own mortality. Or maybe the loss of a special connection you share with someone through their art. But it’s important to remember that the connection is not broken. The magic of recorded music and other art is that the connection with the artist can be shared time and time again by pressing play.

The fact that David Bowie chose to leave us with his final album Blackstar and that this album is streaming free of charge to the public is important. As I mentioned earlier, on a personal level 2015 was largely focused on figuring out how to create a sustainable income for myself. But in death we realize income as measured by dollars, rupees, pesos or whatever is no longer of importance. The income that takes priority is an income based on reaching people and creating connections in our final moments.

Most young artists are frustrated nowadays because they don’t feel like they’re being heard or making these connections. I have those feelings and concerns myself on a daily basis. It can be absolutely paralyzing. But with Bowie’s passing, I remind myself that I’m playing the long game and that my goal is too create connections with people over decades, not months. Whether that is creation of music, creation of video, creation of games – whatever media. And I truly do feel that the answer to life is not mysterious at all. It is simply to create. To embrace your freak chance of existing in the universe. To scream out into the void that god damn it I was here. From the response on Facebook, of which 95% of my feed is Bowie related, it’s clear the man who fell to Earth did that.

Graham is a singer / songwriter / guitarist in the Chicago rock band The Thons. He also catalogs the local music scene, new releases and muscular kangaroos in The Blog From Mars.

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