David Bowie has reportedly died
The Man Who Fell to Earth has fallen.
There will never be another David Bowie.
He was a unique artist…arguably, he was several of them.
He was an outsider, he was an intellectual, he wasn’t like the vast majority of people (maybe not much like any other person)…and he was a superstar.
In short, he was a geek the mainstreamers loved.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of David Bowie in gaining acceptance (even respect) for “weirdos”.
Is it fair to claim Bowie as a geek?
His first big hit, “Space Oddity”, was straight up geekiness (“Ground Control to Major Tom”). Its pop culture impact meant it would show up in other works, including Chandler speak-singing the song on Friends.
One of his early identities was “Ziggy Stardust”, who was featured on the album with the geeky title, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.
Bowie’s geek-friendly works extended beyond music and music videos.
He was perfectly cast as Thomas Jerome Newton in 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel.
He starred with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in Tony Scott’s stylish vampire movie, The Hunger…and would return to the world as the host of the TV series.
For some people, their first thought of David Bowie may be as Jareth, the Goblin King, in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
In recent years, he played Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, and did voices for Arthur and Invisibles and SpongeBob SquarePants.
There was always, for me, an echoing sadness in David Bowie’s work. Even a song that had people on the dance floor, like “Let’s Dance”, still had a melancholy to it.
Today, that sadness rises in me…but it brings with it a proud acceptance of my own peculiarities.
The loss of David Bowie is a hole which will never be filled…and a recognition that absence has a place in our lives, too.
Good-bye, Davie Bowie…the world is less unique without you.
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