If I am being perfectly honest, I can’t call myself a David Bowie fan. The sole Bowie album in my collection is a Greatest Hits compilation and while it is a pretty comprehensive one, I doubt it does him justice. However, love of his music or not, I had a lot of respect for the man and while I may not have had the personal reaction to his passing that I did to someone like Lemmy, it was still a sad day for music.
It also led to the usual host of people coming out to admonish the modern day music industry. To declare that where we once had Bowie and Lemmy we now have Cyrus and Bieber. Which made me wonder whether these people paid any attention to where Lemmy and Bowie came from? Because these two men who spat in the fact of the mainstream and did what they wanted to do were not handed to the paying public on an X Factor shaped platter. There are musical inspirations out there, you just need to look for them and we all seem to have got too lazy to do so.
Which is all the more frustrating, because it is exactly that kind of thing that heroes like Lemmy and Bowie stood for. These were guys who took their inspiration from the underground or from the weird. They embraced the fact they weren’t like everyone else and made that okay. So why do those who hold them as heroes not do the same?
Now, I’m not admonishing those who have expressed their sadness at these men’s passings. If you were saddened by it feel free to say it. I don’t care if you didn’t know them. That’s not important. You knew their music. Having a go at someone for having an emotional connection to music is like screaming at a child for enjoying fun. You are the one in the wrong, however you might try and package it in your head. But you do wonder if we learnt the lessons these men taught us. If we listened and agreed but then went back to doing what we do anyway.
I guess my rather rambling point is that while you can spend this week listening to Bowie or watching the films he starred in, it is also worth taking some time to find something new. Go find the next musician who is breaking the mold and being ignored for looking a bit different or not sounding like what’s right. Go find the filmmaker that asks the questions that Hollywood long ago ran from in fear. There is nothing wrong with respecting the past but if you do it to the detriment of the present then you are missing out on so much more. The next Bowie is out there right now and he will be nothing like Bowie and might require a bit of searching for, but he’ll be worth it.