I was taken aback when I heard that David Bowie has left us. Only a couple of days after the release of his mysterious and seductive final album Blackstar, the legendary performer suddenly set sail for his personal afterlife odyssey, no doubt floating in a most peculiar way…
I should confess that I was not always a huge Bowie fan. As much as I enjoyed and appreciated his singing and songwriting, I always had mixed feelings about his image and multiple personas, and was never quite at ease with his eccentric stage presence, especially during his glam rock years. I often found his hermaphrodite look and exaggerated make-up aesthetically dubious, feeling that it somehow distracted from his otherwise remarkable art and brilliant music.
Having said that, as time went by I came to increasingly like his performing style as well as his diverse and multifaceted activity as an artist – apart from being an influential singer and songwriter, Bowie was also a record producer, painter, and talented actor (his performance on Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, for instance, is truly exceptional).
I remember watching him live as he headlined the Isle of Wight Festival back in 2004, one of the best gigs I have had the luck to witness. I can still recall very vividly his cool, youthful look -despite being almost 60 at the time- and the effortless way in which he could tease and excite the audience.
David Bowie was way more than just a great pop singer and charismatic performer. His extraordinary music and visionary art inspired successive generations of restless teenagers, providing the backdrop for their craziest fantasies, dreams and nightmares.
He was an oddity, and will remain a young dude and a hero – for much more than a day.