I had no idea that David Bowie was so tightly woven into people's hearts. I feel really sorry for his family, and of course for him; these days 69 is quite young to die.
The stills from his last video are horrifying, especially if you have experienced the death of a relative or friend recently.
All his life, Bowie flirted with the idea of death (Please Mr Gravedigger) and a large proportion of his songs had mortality at their centre.
He seemed bent on control over his life and his persona; this worked positively for his family because he was able to become very private in the latter half of his life. The staging of his death, I find excruciatingly peculiar.
I loved his early material, and disengaged gradually after that because of a combination of a deep dislike of his politics, and the move away from Tony Visconti as a producer to Eno, whose work I find difficult to connect with.
The expressions of sorrow on social media I watch through a thick, obscured glass. Is it because he was a Londoner (us Geordie's couldn't grasp the appeal of the TV show Budgie, for instance)?
No, I don't think so: I loved the Kinks.
Is it because I had a completely rural upbringing and he was simply too sophisticated for my country-bred brain?
I don't think so, because I loved Frank Zappa.
There was something in his celebration of artificiality that I couldn't grasp, and that stiffness and control. Although he seemed to yearn for freedom from his body, everything about him seemed constructed to trap him. Even his voice seemed not to be able to escape, although it tried its damnedest.
I thought of Poly Styrene. I am glad Zillah is documenting her life; regrettably, my one audio recording of her, where she sings the first song that she ever wrote, is clogged up with terrible electronic interference. Poly will never have the global recognition that David Bowie has, but today I remember her, and of course, McMum.
Perhaps this is the significance of a global superstar passing away; in the wake of their trajectory, space is cleared to connect with our memories of our own close and significant people,.