David Bowie's Fan Club

David Lynch


David Lynch

Last week this column bemoaned the difficulty of that first Monday back after the Christmas break.

Waking up to the news on Monday morning just past that David Bowie had departed was a real gut-punch.

Bowie was way before my time. Way, way before my time, in fact. But, I had quite a few of his albums on CD in my teenage years and I also went and bought the ultimate blagger's guide too - 'Bowie: The Best of'.

Bowie, even in my day, was an anomaly. Never quite comfortable in the mainstream, but still the one to set the pulse for the artists that followed him. His music, even today, sounds relevant and fresh. Time may have dated his Ziggy Stardust look and glam-rock facade, but the music - which is, and always was the priority for Bowie - remains potent.

Last year this country - and this county - voted overwhelmingly in favour of same sex marriage. Bowie and his androgynous, gender-shifting public persona laid a certain amount of groundwork in the public consciousness about the acceptance of the supposed 'outsider'. For this he has, and will continue to be applauded.

Yes, the 1970s was the era of glam-rock and the effeminate, peacock-rock-star look, but nobody pushed it as far out as Bowie did, and he never set out to declare his sexuality either way - which was incredibly admirable and even brave looking back now, considering the power of record producers and the desire to present a certain marketable image.

From a personal point of view Bowie's music and Bowie himself always makes me think of my uncle. Outside of my grandmother's house on Bachelors Walk, he and a fellow young Bowie fanatic scrawled the words 'David Bowie Fan Club' on the late 19th century red brick. It's still there to this day, after over 30 years.

My uncle was over recently from America, were he has lived for the best part of twenty years now. He and that same fellow fanatic decided to go to the Spirit Store just after Christmas to see a Bowie tribute act - Rebel, Rebel.

With a new album in the offing it's unlikely they would have guessed that within a matter of days their Hero would be gone.

Many glowing obituaries will be written about the man that was Ziggy Stardust, but the fact that his music pierced right to the heart of 1970s Dundalk and made a lasting impact on a couple of teenage Irish lads says much about Bowie's global reach. It's unlikely anything like Bowie will come around these parts again. In fact there will be no one like him again.

Dundalk was an industrial town and I smirk a bit when I think of my uncle bravely flying the flag for Bowie, while most were listening to more traditional, safer fare.

As I had mentioned previously, Bowie had just released a new album, Blackstar, on Friday last - his birthday. I haven't bought a Bowie album in a long time, and even before Monday's sad news, I had decided that is was going to be my next purchase.

More's the pity now that it'll be my last.