Treading the cobbled streets of London this morning my footsteps felt heavier than usual. As the song ‘Rebel Rebel’ blasted in my earphones, the rhythmic clonk of my boots on the ground did not carry the same comforting sound they usually did. The January clouds up ahead did not resonate the image of a gloomy, yet achingly pretty winter, as they had so often. They were just gloomy. It was clear to me that a great hero, David Bowie, had sunk deep into our city’s landscape and, as commuters launching ourselves half-heartedly into our daily routine, we all knew it.
I think we can all unanimously agree that David Bowie was not just a musician. His natural ability to transition between the art, film and music world cemented his image as a truly innovative artist. Characterised as bright-eyed alter-egos Ziggy Stardust and Halloween Jack, he arrived in a burst of oranges and reds and made a splash in a 1970’s age that unknowingly craved everything that David Bowie was, and everything that he stood for. You’ve seen the pictures or posters of him, crispy on the walls of old record shops and they’re probably stuck with clumsy cellotape on yours. At the time, you might not have understood why he had a bolt of lightning painted on his face on the cover of his 1973 album, Aladdin Sane, but you really bloody liked it. You remember watching The Man Who Fell to Earth on a bulky TV with your dad when you were eleven years old. Even though the film was terribly long, and the special effects were terribly bad, no one could argue that Bowie didn’t rock it as a sexy alien who had plummeted gracefully onto our planet. And in your heart, you knew that ‘Heroes’ had made you cry at least once with happiness WAY before Perks of Being A Wallflower made it mainstream.
Casting his iconic image, films and music aside, perhaps what we can thank Bowie for the most is how he changed our perceptions on sexuality. In an interview with PlayBoy magazine in 1976, he casually stated: “it’s true – I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me”. So, we lost an unprecedented artist and hero amongst us today. David Bowie, the man that fell from the Earth has climbed back up again and left his genius behind him. He will forever be our favourite ‘rebel rebel’, and really, how can we ever forget a man like that?