Let the children boogie

I've been trying to sort out why the death of David Bowie had me in tears earlier today. I'm not one of those people who feels deeply affected by the death of a celebrity nor am I given to being teary (most of the time).

I think that the large outpouring of emotion across the media from my generation is related to the part Bowie played in our growing up. His music tended to happen at the important bits of our young life. Space Oddity was released as we became teenagers, Ziggy and Aladdin Sane were the soundtrack to puberty and the first fumblings of relationships, Station to Station and Low were when we started our first jobs. As we settled down and made adult mistakes he carried on banging out albums and we could demonstrate our worldliness by saying that his later stuff wasn't as good as the classics. For those of us who listen to lyrics some of his stuff is dreadfully good - not all of course but some is poetic and stands with the best of Bob but the important part was that he was there.

Nor was it just the music. He was a style icon and his album covers were probably the first piece of visual art many of us had ever owned. His performances on Top of the Pops were electrifying. The people who raved about Boy George in 1983 were the ones who hadn't seen Bowie 10 years earlier.

He was a touchstone, he was special, a successful young Brit and he was always there; somewhere. He was also a constant commentator and a narrator who provided the tracks we'd hear around us as we grew up. Today my generation had to grow up a bit more.

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