A Reflection on the Death of David Bowie by Janey Hames
David Bowie fans have been hit really hard this week by the news of his death. I grew up dancing and bopping to his music and trying to copy some of his ever changing styles!
The way he reinvented himself was amazing, he had a fantastic ability to re-emerge with a totally new look and sound that kept him ahead of his game and in the charts! He played a great gig in Ha Yarkon park Tel Aviv in 1996 and loved Israel: At Freddie Mercury’s tribute concert he said there was only one way he could express his feelings about the death of Freddie - he invited the audience to join him in a prayer; he got down on his knees and in front of 72,000 fans led them in the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven…” Everyone joined him and there was a resounding “Amen” at the end!
Here’s what he said about it:
“I decided to do it about five minutes before I went on stage. I had a friend called Craig who was dying of AIDS. He was just dropping into a coma that day. And just before I went on stage ‘something’ just told me to say the Lord’s Prayer.” In rock music, especially in the performance arena, there is no room for prayer, but I think that so many of the songs people write are prayers. A lot of my songs seem to be prayers for unity within myself. On a personal level, I have an undying belief in God’s existence. For me it is unquestionable.”
He was a bit of a naughty boy at school - often found fighting - he once received a punch in the eye over a girl which his left pupil permanently expanded, leading to his famous pair of blue and black eyes!
David’s family had a history of mental illness - his half-brother Terry committed suicide and other close members had battles with it. He said his public life was an ‘act’ and it made me wonder if his different personas were a way of warding off potential mind problems. It is thought that his declaration of homosexual and bisexual culture had been more a product of the times and the situations in which he found himself rather than his own true feelings. So lying beneath the showbiz profile I think we see a pretty normal person. In truth, he was just like the rest of us.
Despite the fact he knew he was dying he recorded his last album “Blackstar” - quite eerie really - at the end filming himself disappearing into a dark wardrobe - much like the one in C S Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” beyond which was an amazing wonderland filled with references to the Christian life but more importantly Aslan - the Messiah of the world who died and arose again defeating death. I’d like to think that when David received the news of his terminal illness that he would have taken time to remember that same Lord’s prayer and would have known the person of his Saviour - Jesus. Having written this I’ve just heard of the death of another well-loved actor Alan Rickman - let’s pray for these bereaved celebrity families.