Monday, January 11, 2016

Dear David Bowie:

by Dick Mac

Good morning, Sailor:

Look at you, you're in heaven!

Everyone says hi, we all miss you so much.  The telly is filthy with stories about you.

I heard the news today.  Oh boy!  I was flabbergasted and I am gutted.  You're gone.

It's impossible to say which song or moment is the most memorable, you gave so much.  When you gave us was a very special time.  You would come into the chat room and say hello, and banter along with us.  For some reason at this moment I am remembering the day you spent a chat session teaching us all to speak Cockney.

When I was back and forth between New York and London, you'd ask me how things were going.  Never long, drawn-out conversations, but you cared enough to ask.  You gave me some tips about places in London, and even deigned to respond to a question I had about the footy.  I won't ever tell anyone you said "Chelsea" when I asked if there was a side you liked.  I guess I was disappointed you weren't a Gooner, but looking back I now realize that David Bowie chatted with me about soccer, and how lucky I am, and how special all these memories are.

Then there was BowieArt.  What a fucking brilliant idea!  As a small-scale art collector, I was blown-away by this idea:  introduce the world to new, unknown artists, and give them a platform on which to show their work to a worldwide audience.  I learned about Spanish artist Marta Marce from you, and I adore her work.  My wife and I took the train out to Clapton Junction one evening after work to visit her studio, and we bought two paintings.  You were so excited when Beth told you about our acquisitions, and you dropped me an email thanking me.  How many rock gods do that?

Then there was the release of Heathen.  Other records had come and gone since your appearance on the internet, but for Heathen you were full-force out there.  You were very public, and so much fun.  You became the King of the Internet, and we were your subjects.  You were so generous.  You gave so much.  As much as BowieNet gave us access to you, it gave you access to us and you jumped right in with us!

Suddenly we knew what you were going to be doing - because you'd tell us - and you made sure that Blammo invited us along:  television studios, secret shows.  You had shows just for BowieNetters at Roseland, just because we were part of this community you'd created.

Remember that 2002 show?  You came out in your Thin White Duke costume from 1976, told the story about bringing "Low" to the executives at RCA, and them begging you to make another "Young Americans"and they would pay you any amount of money you wanted, and then you and the band performed the entire Low album from first note to last for us.  I think I wept at one point.

You made me weep many times during performances.  In particular, I was at the Area 2 show in the middle of the woods in Massachusetts with my best friend who was so very sick.  I didn't know how long he was going to live, but he was with me that day.  When you sang "Everyone Says Hi" we both had tears streaming down our faces.  He lived another year-and-a-half, which was wonderful.  You gave me that moment with a man I loved so much that I cried listening to you sing about taking the big trip, the trip you are on now.

Then there was the day in front of the Diana Ross building, in Queens.  I know, right?!?!?  Why would it be called the Diana Ross building?  I mean, Louis Armstrong lived in Queens and if you want to name a Queens building after a musician, why Diana Ross?  Anyway, I digress.

You had to film a couple of the new songs for the BBC in conjunction with the release of Heathen.  You made sure the audience was filled with your people, us.  Then afterwards, you hung around the studio, still in your costume, chatting with us.  Suddenly, you said:  "Wait!  Let me get out of all this, and meet you out front."

We waited out front while you changed and took care of business, then you were there:  hanging on a street corner in Queens with a dozen of us, chatting and taking pictures with us.  It was amazing.  I mean, how many rock gods hang on a street corner in Queens with his fans?

You asked if I was living in London or New York.  you asked how my wife was doing.  You remembered me, and you cared enough to ask about ME.  You wanted to know about ME!

I knew that day that I was involved with something special, a community of people brought together by you who shared so much in common and had you as our ringleader!

Meltdown 2002!  Great job, man!  Perhaps the best 5 days in a row I ever spent in London.

The Marathon Tour?!?!?!  You are such a New Yorker!  What other entertainer of your caliber would book a show in each of the five New York City boroughs, along the route of the New York Marathon?  None!  No other entertainer was as cool as you.

My brother is a firefighter, and he was in town for something related to the World Trade Center disaster.  I took him to the Staten Island show and at the end he said:  "That is the best rock concert I've ever been to."  It was an amazing show and we had friends in from all over the world for it.

Then that amazing Brooklyn show where you sang something like 32 songs, including "Bewlay Brothers"!  Queens, where Tony was kind enough to give Carla and me his after-show backstage passes.  We got to chat with all of the band, but you were out pretty quickly that night.  Then in The Bronx, you played Jimmy's Bronx Cafe and said from the stage:  "We're here every Friday night, and we only cover David Bowie songs!"  Manhattan, Philadelphia and Boston were all the pretty much same show, but amazing nonetheless, including a live performance of "Alabama Song"!

Then after you did "Reality," you toured the world, then settled-into your home in SoHo to raise your daughter.  You were gone.  I'd hear things about you from Blammo or Tony.  Always minor things, but they were connections that remained after you decided to take a break and be a dad.

There are so many memories.  You gave me so much.

From the early-70s, when I was an awkward urban urchin confused about sexuality, drugs, and life in general, and you sang songs that seemed written for me, to the opening of Lazarus at the end of 2015, the empty moments of my life have been filled-in by your creations.

You gave me Leeza and Helen, Kelmar and Carla, King Tommy and Cavebat, Rex Ray and Myriam, Beff and Liz, Leah and Blammo, Princess Ramsey and Ursula, NNMaddox and Mayumi, Mary and Nikki, Demerson and Irmavep, Luis and all the Marks, Karen and Susan, Kate and Iana, Georgina, Patti, Shakeh, The Rabbi, Rednik, Andy, and scores more:  people who are remarkable, people I love, people I can count as my friends, because of you.

I feel like I've lost a close friend.  You made me feel special, you made me feel important, that I mattered to you.  Even when we disagreed, you were always generous of time and spirit, and now you're gone.

Life goes on for me, but it will be a slightly less amusing life without you.

I'll keep my memories close and I'll buy a little frame, something cheap . . . for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liked your post. Yeah, it's hard to imagine being in a world without David Bowie. I also read an earlier post of yours when you were talking about your daughter singing the lyrics of Rebel Rebel and you tried to convince her it was "food" not "ludes". Well, I don't know for sure, but perhaps Bowie read your blog entry about that. In the song Blackstar there is the lyric:

Take your passport and shoes
And your sedatives,Boo.

What do you think?
All the best!