Do Not Go Quiet

2016 has been a year. It hasn’t blown in, it’s scythed in. We’ve lost idol after idol after idol and though I am sure these things go in cycles, and it’s not actually that extraordinary, this year dammit it seems personal.

Someone mused today that Terry Pratchett is no longer around to keep Death confined to pages, so now He’s out, and running amok. We all know He loves music with rocks in, but please….man…enough.

I’m refusing to believe Lemmy is gone. It’s easier that way.

Bowie has transcended this tired earth, and gone on to the stars. I’ve written about him at length, but I’m still not ready to write more, to actually believe.

Chyna – she really was amazing. She – along with others that we have lost too soon – made it ok to be not the norm, not a size 6, not tiny/super pretty/blonde.

Chyna

She was beset with pain for most of her life, ridiculed for what she looked like, but she emphasised her size, and ramped up her power.

She did her own thing, her own way, all the time. This is a woman who had her swimming pool built in the shape of Paul Levesque’s arse, for goodness sake.

She was beautiful, and powerful, and somebody who made me think Yes, ME AND MY BODY ARE NOT WRONG. I just wish that her pain had been ended a different way.

Victoria Wood…too much. She was a friend, she felt like someone you knew, had already met. She was that person who knew how we felt, how we all felt, and echoed it in her characters. Everything had life running through it, our lives, our experiences, our blushes and our fears and our laughter.

Prince…I can’t even take that in today. I sat on the train tonight, tears rolling down my face, as I searched for that one bit of hope that TMZ had got it wrong, knowing in my heart that it was true.

Today is the one day that I have worn purple, in years. I hate that this is fitting, but I’m damned sure I’ll be wearing it tomorrow.

Prince2

His Purpleness caused outrage, and scandal, and in doing so made sure that people knew that sex, and sensuality, were NORMAL. Things to be sung about, talked about, shown and dreamed about. Having sexual feelings isn’t wrong, and he confirmed that to us time and again.

He glorified in sound, and rhythm, drums and bass and guitars and vocals. All of it, everything, and then some.

He gave women performers their space, and their time to be recognised, when often they were ignored or relegated to ‘background’ vocals. (Though many songs would be nothing without those vocals.)

He pushed artists into areas they were not used to, and pushed those areas into accepting performers they never normally would because it would have taken a spine made of adamantium to stand up against his will.

His genius flowed outwards and over others, bringing them into the fold, and making stars out of them too.

He told us, insisted, that being sexy wasn’t something to be hidden – and why should it be? Bodies are beautiful, and ours. They are the ONE thing that truly belongs to us. No shame, no fear, no “I should be…”

He gave us more than music, he gave us, along with Bowie, permission. Permission to be weird, to be us, to be and sing and play and wear what the hell we liked, regardless, and against the odds.

His music went far beyond his own.

Saying He Will Be Missed doesn’t even come close. It can’t.

Prince

You will be mourned, and celebrated, and played, and shown, and loved.

 

Prince Hair

Camilla

I do feel sorry for Camilla Long and her ilk.

I realise this is a bit of an odd statement, given how she’s pretty much horrified and insulted Bowie fandom by telling us to ‘man up’ (I’m a woman, by the way Cam old girl, no ‘manning’ needed) and to not display our grief in public.

“I think grief should be private,” she argued. “This is to do with the utter insincerity of social media grief, the odd mimicry and circle-jerkery of it.”

Why should I feel sorry for her? Someone who finds it satisfying to publicly berate grieving people in their hour of sadness surely should not be the receiver of sympathy or softness in any way. But oh…what did we have? What DO we have that she doesn’t?

Those of us who lost an idol, a hero, a friend-in-imagination, maybe a lover in dreams, a sound, a heartbeat that ran through our lives and provided the background and the pulse, what did we have in those hours, and the following days?

We had like-minded others.

All across the world, disbelief and loss was shared, myriad candles went on like stars across the earthscape, music was played, albums were taken out of their precious sleeves and played to within an inch of their lives, films were watched and books read.

Commiserations with total strangers were exchanged, dances were had, tears and silent sobs acknowledged and greeted with mutual understanding.

ACROSS THE WORLD this happened.

The radio stations were filled, the airwaves echoing time after time after wonderful, heartbreaking, brain searing time with his beautiful voice and sharp as cut glass words, and then…and then…with our voices, our thoughts and feelings and our sadnesses mirrored across a whole damned planet.

In our loss, we had everyone else’s loss. We knew, we know, and will continued to know, for decades to come, where we were when Bowie died, what we were doing. We will meet another’s eyes, and we will know.

We will never lose that. She cannot take it away. No matter how much scorn she, and others,  pour on us, it doesn’t matter.

It absolutely doesn’t matter because we have Bowie.

Her words will fade, but his…

Yes, he’s gone, in as much as such a legend can be gone when the pulsing network of music and video and electronic communications across the entire planet is  full of him.

His music echoes across the emptiness of space. It went to the stars, and we went with him. His words, those notes that he searched for, the keys and the chords that speared his ferocious and intense interest and then brought us all along for the thrill of the ride.

A bitter hack who seems to be channelling Katie Hopkins, cannot ever take that vast, shared and literally universal experience away from us. After all, who got an entire new album as a legacy gift?

Look where he took us. Just look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stars are Very Different Today

I know that many will be fed up with this, with the outpouring of public grief for a man that we – most of us – didn’t even know, but tonight my heart just isn’t in anything else at all except listening to his music, and reading other’s memories and stories.

Today has been one of the most unexpectedly hard days for a long time. I’ve never really been into fannish behaviour, or obsessions with bands, but this…this has caught me an uppercut to the chin, lifted me off my feet and dumped me in a crumpled heap in the corner of the room.

While I write this, my husband is upstairs playing Motorhead’s new album, and it’s almost too much, in combination.

If anyone tells me that grief about such a celebrity isn’t real, or valid, or painful, then I have no time for them. No matter how averse to their music others may be, to their fans, that music screams and cries into their soul, reaches out into their brains and holds on.

There’s no difference between feeling that for Bowie, or Bieber, Joplin or One Direction – despite what people would have you believe. That devotion, that feeling, is the same. I won’t say that my grief is more profound, more earned, just because of who it is about. The individual talents may be worlds apart, but that doesn’t change how the fans feel.

For Bowie, though…he just went beyond anything ‘celebrity’ and passed almost into myth and legend, for me, and I can’t quite latch on to the fact that we’ll never hear more from him and his talent. I wanted to see where else he went, and now…now…

He’d survived a heart attack, he’d ‘come back’ when we thought we’d lost him and it turns out he was actually just here saying goodbye. You couldn’t have wrung more emotion out of this even if it had been David Tennant in the lead role saying goodbye to Bernard Cribbins, I swear. I feel exhausted.

I think I fell a little in love with each incarnation, just that bit more each time. I found The Man Who Fell To Earth one of the saddest and most beautiful films ever, the same for The Hunger. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoiler it, but it’s vicious, and hard edged, but also stunningly beautiful and heart aching in its portrayal of love and loss.

Those two films made me experience everything along with the actors, such was their talent, and the sheer skill of the writing.

Labyrinth was brilliant, and I adore it, but it didn’t get so deeply entrenched in my head like the other two. They had huge swathes of emotion, harsh realities mixed with beauty and despair and desire and longing. You felt that each character wasn’t just a role for him, it was him, or a facet of him and his crystalline mind.

My life had him as its soundtrack, so it feels now like the tape has ended. There’s just the whickering noise of it at the end as the spool runs out and the room goes dark.

I think, perhaps, I need to watch The Hunger again soon, and of course The Man Who Fell To Earth but not for a while.

This will pass. I haven’t lost a father, or a husband, or a friend. I’ve lost those before, I know that grief well, but I have lost an ever present sound.

Saying “You will be missed” isn’t enough but it’s all I’ve got.

TheHunger.gif