Monday, 11 January 2016
I woke up this morning feeling great.
I used to hate Monday mornings (see my post: Tell Me Why I Don't Like Mondays).
I'd wake up feeling groggy and hungover after a restless night, knowing that I'd have to start dealing with the excesses and ramifications of the weekend.
Now, I adore Mondays. A brand new and shiny week, just bursting with possibilities.
And today was a good one: the kids are settled back into the new term, the mains pipe burst in the cellar is fixed, I've lost the Christmas weight gain already (easy when there's no booze calories involved), and I'm getting to grips with the to do list.
Then I heard the news:
David Bowie is dead.
His circuit's dead, there's something wrong. Can you hear me, Major Tom?
I cried. I can't remember ever crying about the death of a stranger.
But Bowie didn't feel like a stranger to me. He was the sound track of my youth. And he was a genius.
Look at all the manufactured pop princes and princesses of today. Puppets of the record companies, and driven by focus groups.
Bowie was the antithesis of all that.
Not only was he an extraordinary musician and lyricist, he was also an artist, an actor, a visionary and a style icon.
But that wasn't why I loved him; I loved him because he was a Rebel.
Rebel Rebel, you've torn your dress
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!
I always saw myself as a rebel. It defined me, the decisions I made, and my relationship with alcohol.
(See my post: Rebel Without a Cause)
And Bowie was the ultimate rebel. Even his irises didn't play by the rules: one blue, one brown.
He didn't believe you had to stick with the name you were born with (David Jones, in his case).
He changed his identity more frequently than most people move house. He played around with his sexuality.
He called his son Zowie Bowie (his only major error. His son later changed his name by deed poll to Duncan Jones).
So, we would drink, dance and sing to David Bowie, believing that
We could steal time,
just for one day
We can be Heroes, for ever and ever
What d'you say?
But the truth is, however rebellious you are, there are some rules you can't break, and you may be able to steal time just for one day, but not forever.
One day it catches up with you.
Bowie, like us, drank too much, for too long and - inevitably - became addicted. He quit in his fifties.
In an iconic Paxman interview, Paxman asked him:
"On a personal level, you don't do drugs anymore and you don't drink? Not even a glass of wine?"
"No, it would kill me," replied Bowie. "I'm an alcoholic, so it would be the kiss of death for me to start drinking again. My relationships with my friends and family have been so good for so many years now, I would not do anything to destroy that again."
So, if Bowie - the ultimate rebel - can go sober, then so can we.
If you can't do it for yourself, then do it for me, do it for him, and do it for Ziggy Stardust.
I'll go back to my January 'Reasons to Quit' series tomorrow, but in the meantime I'm going to....
....put on my red shoes and dance the blues.
Love SM x