Bowie. Funny, I never used to think I was a Bowie fan. I listened to the music, of course, but... fan? Then one day I looked at just how many of his albums I had. And I reflected on the films he'd been in I'd seen (I made sure, I remember, that I got in to see The Man Who Fell to Earth at the GFT the first chance I got), and acquired in various formats. Really, I couldn't pretend to be anything other than a fan.
I'm remembering it all again today, now he's, unbelievably, gone.
I recall the journeys I spent with earphones plugged in, passing the time listening to his music - on cassette, first, later CD, eventually as software. I recall clearly how on a couple of lengthy flights I listened to Tin Machine repeatedly.
I recall, too, just how often I had played Changesonebowie - how that disc never wore out I don't know. And then there was Diamond Dogs. And Ziggy Stardust. Aladdin Sane. At one point I did have all his albums except the very first one on the Deram label.
I remember the first time I bought a music video on VHS, it was Bowie's music from Tonight - now there's an album I thought was all right on its release which I have thought steadily more of as years go by.
There was the time there was a major cock-up in an exam at Uni, three quarters of the class (and there were about 200 of us in the class) were up for a pass/fail viva. I wasn't one of them - fortunately, I had worked out what the question was supposed to be saying as opposed to what it did say - but I ended up in the Extension bar comforting one of those who was and was freaking out. The music playing was "Heroes".
I remember all the times I listened to his music to lift my spirits, or console me. And I remember thinking of much of this on Saturday when I listened to Blackstar, now his last album, only released days ago. This one, I felt, would grow on me.
Beyond the music and his films, he was the first person I ever heard of who was identified as "bisexual". With Marc Bolan (with whom I saw him sing "Heroes" on Bolan's TV show), he showed that people didn't need to be constrained within traditionally sterotyped gender roles. Just seeing him on TV (I recall the Top of the Pops when he sang Starman - WOW!) expanded the ideas of how people could be.
I've been listening to his music since before I was a teenager. And now I can't get my head around him being dead. It's been a pretty awful time recently for good people dying, but somehow I never thought he would go; silly, I know. He seemed to operate by different rules.Just... Damn.