A friend and I had been listening to David Bowie for hours when I heard that he had died. We had been talking about how important his music was to us and our profound and lifelong love of him; what our favorite albums were, ways in which this iconic chameleon had influenced us in our personal journeys to weirdohood. As I was getting ready to go home, “Starman” came on and I commented on how it was one of my favorite songs; a few seconds later my friend looked at his phone and said, “what the hell…David Bowie is fucking dead.” We just stared at each other for a few moments as David sang about a starman waiting in the sky. Then I crawled over, put my head on his lap, and cried.
I’m not going to pretend like I was his biggest fan in the world, but I loved him; I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love David Bowie. I, like so many kids of my generation, experienced a sexual awakening at the gloved hands and gyrating hips of the Goblin King. I was too young to have loins to quiver, but quiver they did. Quiver they did.
As a teenager I plastered my bedroom walls in pictures of Bowie in all his different personas, but mostly I fixated on Ziggy Stardust, the androgynous, ethereal, hedonistic angel that I simultaneously desired and wanted to emulate. He was so strange and so beautiful, he almost seemed to have an otherworldly glow about him. He always did. The first time I heard him sing “Starman” I felt as if I had looked into the night sky and realized the impossibility of being alone. His music, his art, gave a voice to all the weird kids who never felt fully comfortable on this plane of existence.
The world is a grayer place without my favorite glitter alien, but I personally think he’s already told the harpies guarding the gates to the underworld all about how his life changed the world, and that his atoms are drifting among us right now, making us shine a little bit brighter for his having been among us. (And, yes, I subscribe to the Philip Pullman version of the afterlife). Without further ado, here is a special edition of science fiction mix tape with my favorite sff songs by David Bowie. Let’s all sparkle and cry together.
Life on Mars?
(Just fyi, I am 100% crying right now.)
As the World Falls Down
(Btw, when I was little I had 0% doubt that this entire scene was going to unfold in my future. It was what my entire youthful expectation for romance was based upon.)
I am not going to apologize for including two Labyrinth songs.
I think it’s only fitting to end with Ziggy Stardust. RIP, David Bowie, but if you ever feel like haunting me I’m totally down.