Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone: Breaking Glass, by David Bowie

by Dick Mac

The 30 Day Song Challenge has been presented to me by my friend Beff. The month of April will be dedicated to those thirty songs.

I have been a David Bowie fan for a long time.

I was a member of his fan club at RCA records in the 1970s, and still have the t-shirt I received as a gift for joining.

When the Low album was released in 1976, I really didn't get it. Some of the cuts were really amazing; but as an entire piece I didn't embrace it. Years later I was able to appreciate it and it is now one of my favorite Bowie albums.

In the 1990s an online fan club and a Bowie listserv group started. Eventually Bowie launched a ground-breaking internet website that became the envy of every rocks star. His web design company was hired to create web sites for everyone from the boy group Hanson to the New York Yankees. He won awards and acclaim that showed him, again, to be a pioneer.

I joined all the web sites and the listserv and although I wasn't much keen on participating in these virtual communities, I was able to get information about upcoming shows, personal appearances, and new releases.

By paying to join his website, I got access to exclusive events and tickets, a chat room where David Bowie himself would be chatting away with his fans. I still found it kind of creepy and was never a fan of internet chat rooms, so although I was there and chatted a little, I mostly just lurked. When a user who was not named "davidbowie" started saying he was the real David Bowie, I refused to believe it until everybody else in the chat room explained to me that it really was David Bowie.

Some of the names were people who eventually became friends: mask, rednik, leeza, susans, rexer, totalblamblam, and breakingglass, were some of them.

In 2000, I moved to London where I had no friends, I had colleagues and a wife, but had not yet made social connections. So, I started spending a bit more time in the Bowienet chat room, getting to know some of the names in my new time zone.

I started to rely on the Bowie website to provide me suggestions of cultural events to attend, and I began to meet some of these people.

After I was in London for a few months, I met totalblamblam and susans. We stayed in touch and eventually Blammo, as he came to be known, asked if my wife and I were planning to attend a particular event. I said no, and he insisted that I should come so that I could meet a group of others. So, I attended and I met a group of people who were to become friends for life.

Every time I hear the song "Breaking Glass," from the album Low, I think of Helen, the woman who was known on the internet as breakingglass.

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