THE BLOG

David Bowie: Mourning A Legacy

12/01/2016 15:29 GMT | Updated 12/01/2017 10:12 GMT

David Bowie. What a way to go. No playing up to the media for the sympathy vote. Got his affairs in order. Gave the fans a last great album. Contacted all those close to him, then closed his eyes.

Most of us won't have felt the impact Bowie made when he appeared as a bolt out of the blue in the 1970 but he opened the door for a lot of young people who were stuck in shit, boring, suburban lives to express and embrace parts of themselves they might otherwise have had felt compelled to suppress.

It makes me think that, apart from the music, that's another reason that us young generation are so upset: because that initial shock, of icons like Bowie in the 70s, bringing a promise of perceptions changing, of us all living in a more creative and exciting time like that now feels like it's long, long gone.

There are few big artists left who not only has all the radio hits that everyone knows but also have hidden gems that only you like. With Bowie, I always I am always finding a new song that I undervalued the first time you listened or one that means more to me at a certain point of your life.

With someone like Bowie, you can go through periods where you listen to him for weeks on end, then two years without listening to him at all, then you'll hear a song of his and go on another Bowie odyssey.

This shouldn't make you any less or more of a fan and the people who have complained about adults grieving publically about something they only knew superficially are wrong to do so.

Yes, grief tourism is gaudy and grotesque and some people are always going to go to extremes, but I ask you this: Have you ever cried over a song? Laughed at a film? Recited a poem to yourself? These weren't written for you, or about you - but I bet they touched you.

They help dot the lines along your years, through the songs you danced to with friends, to the lyrics you listened to alone, and the films you still signify with now because they remind you of a time in your life or a feeling you had, maybe one you hoped to share.

As I watch the tributes pour in for Mr Jones, they all say the same thing: that if they hadn't been into Bowie and embraced the cultural shifts that happened because of him and people like him, they wouldn't be the same person. Culture unites us.

It unites in a way that people are unaware how weird it looks to see someone talking to a dead person that they've never met. Knowing that the only people that will see it will be other people that have no family connection either. These same people who probably didn't even go to their extended families funerals.

But so moved by that person's contribution in their life that they feel obliged to connect everyone else over it. Just like they sing Heroes in the pub with their mates with no idea of its backstory of where it was written, or who it was for or about. They identify in their own, unique way. Should we judge them for that, too?

Yes, most of these people sending condolences out for Bowie aren't the type who go in for the whole 'national grief' over the death of someone famous. But who are we to judge them on whether in this instance if they are actually genuinely upset or shocked by someone's passing.

This nation through the ages grew up on Bowie. He was a legend to them, to me, and we're all fucking gutted. This is probably the first and only time most of us will be upset over a death of someone they didn't personally know. The man was a creative genius, innovative and ever-changing. Knowing he knew his illness was terminal and still created an album that will now be trawled through for signs of that knowledge and for messages sums up how fantastic he was.

There is nothing wrong with feeling for that. Thank fuck the grief we feel is for somebody most of us have never met and be grateful that it isn't for someone you have.