I was lost for a time when David Bowie died.
It was strange to feel that sad for someone I didn’t know or had never met. I felt his death more than I did my own grandfather who I watched pass away in a hospital bed a few years back. He turned different colours while the life inched its way out of his chest, his fingertips and eyes. He looked terrified. He was surrounded by family but to me, it gave him no more comfort than had he been alone. He wasn’t lovingly staring into the faces of his children like in some film; he was jerkily glancing around the hospital room in fear of an unknown thing and peace came only when he was emptied and gone. That is to this day, the closest to death I have ever come. Why didn’t I feel as sad for my grandfather? Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t totally apathetic but what I felt was more like sympathy or empathy for those present. I didn’t feel the immediate anguish I did on the morning of January 11th upon hearing the news. I didn’t feel the lasting grief of the weeks that passed. I didn’t feel it in my gut. That’s weird isn’t it? This feels silly to admit but I’m aiming for honesty in these essays so here you are. After Bowie died I would periodically start crying in the middle of routine tasks or spend long moments silently staring at nothing. I wasn’t trying to contemplate or reflect, I would just catch myself zoned out staring into space. I was getting nothing done. Trying to create anything seemed almost pointless or even in bad taste for a while. Silly, I know. Though eventually, like everything does, the sadness passed and life resumed though not as per usual for the world was now without one of its most creative sons and it felt like it…and then Prince died. Fuck 2016. When Prince died I was prepared for it. Not the actuality of his shocking death; that I wasn’t prepared for. I was however ready to deal with it. Bowie dying has prepared me to mourn all my heroes and sadly it seems like we’re just getting started.
So, what’s the point of this you may be asking? Well it’s all to do with the new album I’m writing. It has become arguably “too ‘80s” for its own good. I set out to make something with an ‘80s feel but as I’m writing it I’m pushing the feel further and further in and it’s all new to me! Why am I doing that?
Is it because these heroes of mine have passed and in some way I’m subconsciously trying to honour them? Maybe. I’m trying to get as far away from the folk sound that I began with and these new songs are night and day to the first album? I honestly don’t know. I will hopefully start figuring out what the hell I’m doing as I go further down the rabbit hole of sweatbands and shoulder pads but for the moment I leave you with this:
“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” David Bowie
I can safely say I have left my floaties back in 2016.