Monday 11 January 2016

David Bowie

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


  1. Amen to that. Couldn't believe it when I heard. One of the most beautiful men. xx

  2. Bowie was (and will continue to be) a legend. He was the first person I can remember who could carry off being a goblin king credibly.. (I had a major crush on him in those skin tight pants in Labyrinth!) Interestingly, if this had happened a few months ago, I would have opened a bottle of wine in his honour.. but today, with a clear mind and head I'm instead asking myself... What's my legacy? When I'm gone, what will I be remembered for and have I done it all yet? (No) Oh dear... Brain has started working again.. Must be a consequence of double figures!!

    1. I'm afraid one of the issues with sobriety is you'll be asking yourself a lot more of those questions over the next few months SWMum! Xx

    2. Tee hee.. hubbie is becoming unnerved by my cleaning fever.. I seem to remember you doing something similar!

  3. Thank you for this post today SM. Felt exactly the same and like you have never shed a tear for a stranger, not big on tears, still upper lip and all. Found myself bursting into tears while walking the dog (thankfully in the dark) when they played Starman on the radio this morning? I was instantly transported back to being a 7 yr old watching on top of the pops the most incredible sight od Bowie and Mick Ronson in those suits - never seen anything like it before, the colour and the makeup, remarkable in the grey 1970's.

    As everyone of a certain age has said, the soundtrack to our lives. So sad. Xx

  4. Yes. He was iconic. And I am sure he has moved on to another amazing adventure. Beyond anything we can imagine.

    I am happy for him.

  5. "I heard the news today, oh boy" - from MWaSD as it's the first website I open in the morning in my California time zone - so the news of Bowie's passing was from SM. A lovely article and I didn't know about his move to sobriety in his 50's. I agree if the ultimate rebel can do it - we can too. Lovely tribute blog today by you SM. - E (a not so young American)

  6. Cried when I heard the news break at 7am this morning, then on and off all day when I thought about it. A true legend who's always been there and who we assumed always would be. So private despite his megastardom. Going to watch Labyrinth DVD with the kids and probably cry some more. And not drink. Love SPB. xxx

  7. RIP Starman. We'll miss you.

  8. oh no, not me
    I never lost control
    you're face to face
    with the man who sold the world

    Stay sober for Ziggy, stay sober for DB but above all do it for you. Spare a thought for Lemmy as well, probably have lived longer without the Jack D.


  9. Yes, RIP. Your 'reasons to quit' blog posts are excellent. don't know how you do it. thanks a lot.

  10. Hear hear. He is one of my heroes. And having been born in 1970, I realise I have never known a world without his music in it. Great post SM. X

  11. Have just listened to new track Blackstar and wept. I was blown away X