|(Pic : Rolling Stone)|
Losing Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman in the space of a fortnight isn't the most auspicious sign that 2016 is going to be any good.
I'm not one of these people to get overly sentimental or mournful over the deaths of people I've never met or don't know – you won't find me laying flowers in the street or sticking tags on profile photos. Having become somewhat world-weary I greet bad news with a shoulder shrug, however awful that news might be, and always expect the worst in anything. In what's becoming my favourite refrain - quoting Slaughterhouse Five - "So it goes".
Although there had been rumours about David Bowie's health for a while, that doesn't make it any less of a shock and I grimaced when I got the news alert on my phone Monday morning. I can't think of many other celebrities that would apply to, though as they're getting on a bit I won't tempt fate!
David was one of these once a generation types who'll be spoken about for, not decades, but hundreds of years. "True original" and "one of a kind" are apt descriptions. Musically, he influenced everything from flamboyant mainstream pop music, dance music, indie and you can even hear and see his influence in punk and some metal subgenres (like NWOBHM and hair metal) – anything trailblazing, brightly contrasted or slightly rebellious.
So it comes as absolutely no surprise that his passing has been particularly noted amongst the LGBT community. Even as a straight man it's fairly obvious that his, to use that antiquated term, "gender-bending" will have – as Arsene Wenger of all people said recently - sent out a strong statement to everyone in the post-war generation that it's OK to be yourself. Bowie was "being camp" when "being camp" was still considered at the very least extremely deviant behaviour.
The only people still living who can perhaps claim to have that level of Western artistic and cultural influence are Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Madonna. The only difference, speaking personally, between them and Bowie is while acknowledging their influence I've never liked any of their work as much as Bowie's - hell, I like more Madonna songs than Dylan's!
He was also a more than decent actor – Labyrinth might be cheesy, but it's still enjoyable - and although I'm no art critic, his paintings are quite impressive.
In perhaps his greatest achievement, David's the only person to have ever worn a bright ginger mullet and make it look good.
As is always the case, it's only when you look back at what he's left behind that you realise how good he was. Apart from The Laughing Gnome – which for a novelty song isn't that bad – and some of his more experimental stuff in the 90s I can't think of any he did that wasn't at least satisfactory.
Here are those songs I believe are more than satisfactory :)
5. The Man Who Sold The World
4. Let's Dance
2. Ashes to Ashes
1. Life on Mars?