I’ve had three Bowie albums in my Amazon basket for over a week now. Even though they’re physically out of stock, they’re still hovering in the ether, waiting to be bought.
David Bowie died, and made a hole in the B section of the Rock & Pop shelves at HMV.
He had his own section at the front of the store. I thought the grief-vultures had already moved to maximise their profits but then I remembered Bowie had a new album out anyway, so it was probably already there – along with a couple of 90s efforts that they just wanted shifting.
Bowie made music while he knew he was dying – probably because he knew he was dying. Nothing like teetering on the edge of forever to get you feeling creative. It’s bound to add some sense of perspective.
Everybody had something to say about him, even those who have wasted 140 characters of their life on Twitter to say that they have nothing to say about him. Maybe they just didn’t want to feel left out.
I’ve been trying to work out how best to say it myself. A brilliant talented man gone, having touched so many of the people in my life:
My dad, a fellow cancer victim, absolutely loved him. His vinyl collection is in the corner of this very room; there’s definitely some Bowie in there.
My older brother who, like me, grew up liking all the same stuff our dad inflicted on us. We don’t normally text each other with ‘OMG did you hear’ texts, but this time it felt more than necessary.
My fiancée, who was charmed and frightened in equal measure as a little girl by seeing Labyrinth so many times. When we first met, ‘Bowie and his massive package’ was the subject of more than one drunken discussion with friends. The inclusion of ‘Magic Dance’ in our wedding ceremony was and is up for debate, even before he died.
There’s been more than a bit of hand-wringing for each ‘national treasure’ that we’ve lost since, in what’s been an absolutely horrible run of it. But for all the usual outbursts of ‘aww, not that guy, he was cool’, Bowie’s death actually turned me silent, contemplative, inwardly reflective.
That quiet reflection was best summed up today, which is why I wanted to write about it. It’s a nice bookend to the whole thing.
My local independent record shop; 1.30pm, Saturday afternoon. I decide that I don’t want to wait and see if those Bowie CDs are in stock at Amazon before I order them and have to wait some more.
There’s a Bowie section in here, too – but again, there always was. Right next to The Rolling Stones.
That’s an especially poignant placement because as I approach the shelves, I realise what’s playing in the shop – his cover of ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ from Aladdin Sane.
These shelves have been well ransacked too; no copies of Station to Station or Young Americans. Not even Ziggy. Even HMV had a couple of copies of Ziggy left.
Only a few left in here, including the exact three I wanted: Low, “Heroes” and Lodger. Multiple copies left of each.
I approach the counter. The bloke looks up and takes my CDs off me.
Let’s Spend gives way to Suffragette City; there’s a weird feeling in the air as I go for my wallet, buying Bowie CDs in an otherwise empty record shop that’s playing Bowie.
He only tells me the price. I only tell him thanks. No more needed to be said, really.
With him gone, there’s fewer people around who can so effectively suck up all that creative energy out of the air and turn it into something beautiful. This evening I’ll be listening to the ‘Berlin Trilogy’ and trying to figure out how I can hoover up my fair share of it.