I’m not so secretly obsessed with David Bowie.
it’s weird, i don’t talk about it as much as i used to. i mean like, i don’t just listen to Ziggy Stardust and wonder what it would have been like when glam was new, or listen to the Eno trilogy and think of how awesome i am that i know who Brian Eno is and give a shit that he worked with him.
I mean like, I own the deluxe edition of Black & White, arguably bowie’s absolute worst album, and I have every word memorized. It came with a DVD, and I have a chunk of that memorized too. Hell, I know the differences between all the remixes on the bonus disc.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to get a hold of a copy of his concert from A&E’s “Live By Request”. At barely eighteen years old, I came upon this show by chance. it was already in progress even. But i recognized who I saw on the screen and i was intrigued to see what his music was like live.
I fell in love with him that night. It was a Saturday night, and his latest album “Heathen” had been released the previous tuesday. My family was on a road trip at that point and we were planning to spend the day in Walnut Creek, California. We were shopping and i found a borders (having grown up in rural Illinois, i knew what a borders was, but at that point had never been - so this was all very exciting).
There it was.
In the middle of the music section, a large display of new releases. In the middle, Heathen.
I snatched it up immediately. I couldn’t even been bothered with the fact that i was paying full retail (17$ i believe) for this new CD. Then i went through the stacks and found another album of his that was relatively recent, 1.Outside. I bought them both. i blew half of the money i had brought with me on the trip for these CDs.
Throughout the second half of my trip no other albums touched my discman. I gave 1.Outside a brief listen and set it aside, determining i’d need more time to think about it. Then, Heathen and i had our moment. I listened to every track on the album intently. I read the liner notes and lyrics over and over. i looked at all the artwork inside the booklet. I even read the copyright information and the thank yous at least a half dozen times.
To do this day, i can say with all certainty, this album had a profound effect on me. I recognized so many elements of myself within the lyrics. I was introduced to the pixies by his cover of Cactus (which i had heard on Live by Request the night before, as he explained that his favorite American band was the Pixies - a detail that did not escape my attention and lead to my purchase of Surfer Rosa a few weeks later).
I learned during this roadtrip, while listening to david bowie, that i didn’t want to live in the closet anymore. that i needed to make friends who loved me and accepted me for who i actually was and not who i had been carefully pretending to be for all these years. I learned that i loved my family, but we had a long way to go before i was really part of them. More importantly, i learned that no matter how much i thought i knew, i always had more to learn and experience.
So, when I say I’m a big David Bowie fan, you now know why.