David Bowie


Like most people of a certain age, I grew up with David Bowie. My first encounter with him was, of course, Labyrinth, which I saw at my best friend’s house when we were in fourth grade. Hoggle terrified me. But David Bowie? He could kidnap me anytime.

In 2014, when M was 4 months old, our family went to Berlin. I saw a billboard advertising the Bowie V&A show we’d missed during a trip to London — it had been sold out. I wanted to surprise A, who loves Bowie and didn’t know the show was in town, and managed to get tickets for the morning of our final day. Unsurprisingly, every other day was already sold out. We saw Bowie’s costumes, his cane from Labyrinth, watched videos, read about his life, and generally immersed ourselves in everything Bowie.

Growing up, I loved different songs and videos — Space Oddity (which inspired our family’s Halloween costume last year — we had Major M, and A & I were outer space in our silver lamé pants), I’m Afraid of Americans (with Trent Reznor), The Stars Are Out Tonight (that amazing video with Tilda Swinton) — everything really. It’s his total rock star glam and persona coupled with his sense of humor.

Photo Oct 31, 8 05 36 PM (1)

He used to live in Lausanne, and one of the first things we did when we moved here was walk by his old house. He and Imam were married at the Hotel de Ville in a private, civil ceremony in the early 90s. He lived here for about a decade. Freddie Mercury lived about half an hour away in Montreux, and they collaborated.

So. This is hitting me hard. Every one of my social media feeds right now is entirely made up of Bowie tributes. He was only 69. I kind of imagined he’d live forever. Here he is singing Jacques Brel’s My Death.

Thank you for your music and for your vision.

© 2016 Anindita Basu Sempere. 
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