If you’ve spent any time online today, you know that David Bowie’s passing has touched everyone. Sudden, unexpected deaths at a relatively young age (69 is the new 59) of famous people tend to catch everybody’s attention. It’s been similar to the reaction to Robin Williams passing.
What has really struck me since first hearing the news this morning is how he has permeated culture and society. He was always himself, staying true to Bowie and only Bowie. People might not consciously appreciate that, but they certainly don’t like fakeness and superficiality. Now, in his passing, everyone appreciates that facet of his personality.
That, and he made great fucking music.
I’m not a music nerd by any stretch. I know what I like and it’s not the greatest range ever. I’ve never gone out of my way to listen to Bowie, never bought a CD, never torrented a download. But even if you tried to avoid Bowie you couldn’t. You would have heard plenty of him without even noticing it.
I’ve been having that “oh, that’s his song” feeling recurringly today. I either forgot about it or didn’t have the musical wherewithal in the first place. But then I kept remembering all the places Bowie popped up in my life. Labyrinth, for one. Perhaps my favourite band is Arcade Fire, with whom Bowie appeared on their most recent album, Reflektor. He also performed a superb rendition of Wake Up with the group years ago.
The BBC had a show based in seventies called Life On Mars, in which the song features heavily. Another BBC programme, crime drama Luther, barely goes an episode without mentioning him.
I’ve always had an interest in outer space. The final frontier, and all that. Bowie will forever be linked with space. There is no greater representation of this than Chris Hadfield’s cover of Space Oddity, performed, no less, in space on the International Space Station.
Furthermore, his songs have appeared on space related films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Martian. It’s almost compulsory at this stage for sci-fi.
But perhaps my favourite encounter with Bowie on the screen comes from an unlikely source. I don’t know why, but Seth MacFarlane decided to randomly throw in the video to Dancing in the Street by Bowie and Mick Jagger in its entirety. Beautifully bonkers.