The start of 2016 was a busy one, sadly it was one filled with mourning. Fresh out of a December that was rocked by Motorhead metal-god Lemmy's death, we were all faced with another disastrous affair that no-one really expected - the death of rock legend and musical chameleon David Bowie.
Remember David Bowie but Mark Perryman argues with a purpose A cultural icon passes away and the routine of acres of newsprint, pullout supplements a...
I was upset. It was the headline: 'David Bowie dead at 69 after secret 18-month battle with cancer'. Because for me it was far too close to home. All I could think of was my Mum, I couldn't help it. The facts were identical.
Our digital afterlife is raising many issues, not least, of course, ethical. Having access to a loved-one's digital life or having to deal with continued responses to someone who has passed away recognizes the fact that our data is immortal, even when we are not.
Over the next five, ten, fifteen plus years, lots of rock stars are going to die. This is not a statement of murderous intent, it's just a scientific and mathematic certainty. Some of them will be very famous and universally loved. Some more "niche". But die they will.
A week removed from the shocking news that David Bowie had died, Holy Holy's performance on 17 January in Huntington, Long Island, surely wasn't the solemn affair that the Tony Visconti-led band's gig in Toronto two nights after his death surely was. We had a week for it to sink in.
"Lord, Lord, my prayer flies, Like a word on a wing." You could be forgiven for thinking this is a sentence from a Sunday morning sermon. Or perhaps the lyrics of a venerable Gospel song. Instead, it was penned by one of the most creative singer songwriters of the 20th and 21st centuries...
Whilst realisation of your death was sinking in during those grey, cold January days of 2016, many of us went on with our day jobs. At the beginning of that week I had a discussion with a hospital patient, facing the end of her life. We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise. In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death, something many doctors and nurses struggle to introduce as a topic of conversation.
Photo Of Henry Wolfe by Jacqueline Dimilia "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent" Victor Hugo ...
Bowie had helped me as I struggled to understand my own gender identity and sexuality as a teen and I dearly wanted her to know his brilliance too. I hit play on the Bowie playlist that's accompanied so many of our post dinner dance parties and pulled out some face paints. With Bowie looking out at us from the ipad we painted on red stripes and quiffed our hair.
Bowie was an outsider. Some have suggested that the man who refused a knighthood would be unlikely to want to feature on currency - perhaps the ultimate symbol of the establishment. But he also made the music and imagery of a cult artist part of the mainstream by sheer force of talent.
As a 16 year old, David Bowie is someone who has taught young people (including myself) not to follow the crowd and to simply live your life as you want to. Don't have any boundaries or barriers. Don't let other people judge you or let them tell you how you should live your life.
In those 10 years, he produced 11 albums - Hunky Dory, The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane, Pin-Ups, Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, Station To Station, Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) - many of which stand comparison with any albums of any era. And, as a result, more than a dozen will find themselves in the Official Albums Top 100 today.
David Bowie was a pioneer. The first to embark on a vast array of uncharted turf musically, visually and often philosophically. Chaotic galactic ripples that stem from his work have even influenced exterior forces to bring unimaginable first-time circumstances to bloom, like astronaut Chris Hadfield playing a beautiful acoustic rendition of Space Oddity actually from space. Everything he did, whether it be the execution or the interpretation, was ground-breaking.
I'm not the biggest music fan: so I asked myself why I felt so sad and affected by his exit. His image has been around my whole life and I've always connected it with freedom, and flipping the bird to cultural norms.
Bowie was also a public relations genius. He played the media as well as he played his music. As a long-time fan, I find it hard to think of an artist who has used the media more consciously than Bowie.