Marrs Plectrum

Monday 11 January 2016

Sound and Vision. Muted and Black. RIP David Bowie.

Mrs Plectrum woke me this morning with the news that David Bowie had died. I’m not easily stirred from slumber, so surely this is a dark dream. Bowie? He doesn’t die, he re-invents, re-configers. It seems that the BBC, 6 Music and the entire social media world are in on this too. Bowie is gone. 

He’s been telling us. I picked up a copy of Backstar on Friday, having already heard (and seen) the title track Blackstar and Lazarus. We just weren’t paying attention. First play of that record left me with two thoughts. Firstly, whilst I always look after my records, I handle the Bowie ones with a reverence. They're a work of art, somehow closer to the actual David Bowie than records by other artists. Secondly, for how many people will Backstar be their first Bowie record? And how odd would that be?

Bowie’s timeline is out of sync with mine. I didn’t grow up with Bowie, but I quickly caught up. I started with Ziggy Stardust and Scary Monsters, bookends of the 70’s and immediately filled the gaps. Contemporary music gets put on hold when you discover a back catalogue like this. It’s a velvet goldmine you can spend years in. Anyone discovering Bowie after this tragic news is in for one amazing ride. And those recent releases aren’t too shabby either.

I was going to play through that incredible cannon of music today, but BBC 6 Music, good friends that they are, have stepped in. They’ve made today Bowieday and it’s been beautiful. Track after track, eulogies, memories, anecdotes. Moving and wonderful.

I’ve just heard Bowie called the greatest artist of all time, better than Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Mozart or Bach. That’s a tall order and bold statement, like Bowie himself. There’s no doubt that he’s been the single most important cultural icon of the last century. Certainly of my record collection and that’s what counts, right? I’ve spent a lot of time listening to music, probably Bowie more than any other artist. That won’t change.

So here’s to you, David Bowie, the most talented, smart and beautiful human being to grace this world. I’ll always be listening.

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