Friday, January 15, 2016

Loving the Alien - David Bowie

It's been a very difficult few weeks for celebrity deaths. Legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, Phantasm film star Angus Scrimm, Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and acclaimed actor Alan Rickman are just a few of the talented and beloved entertainers that have left us recently. Truly it seems that Death is overdue for a damned long holiday after this string of reaping.

But the death that has hit me the hardest is the passing of David Bowie. Not only was it unexpected but it comes so soon after the release of his latest album that it seems like something seriously wrong has occurred. As if there was some odd crack in reality I've stepped through where Bowie is creating some new project that requires his apparent death to set up a third act revival to the strains of a song that will forever be a part of my internal soundtrack. Because that is what so much of his music has become over the years - the soundtrack of my life. I love much music and the playlist in my head is vast and diverse, but one eternal is that I always return to Bowie's albums year after year. And, much like any good piece of art, I see new things in his work each time I revisit it. Things I thought and felt in my teens or twenties seem incredibly distant but his music can bring those memories rushing back even as my older self reflects on how different I am now. A song I've listened to hundreds of times can remind me of my youth and simultaneously clarify something that I'm experiencing at that moment allowing me to see a connection between the past and future I could not imagine before Bowie's voice and music threw it into sharp focus. It is this stunning ability, this magical gift for showing us ourselves in the mirror that he could hold up, that makes me weep that he is gone. He helped me know myself for over thirty years just by being the creative man that he was naturally. And now that is gone. And I know I'm not done looking in that mirror or needing the help he afforded me. And I fear that the time will come when I need his voice - a new song, a new insight - and I'll have to hope that age continues to bring me fresh ways of understanding what he has already said. Because David Bowie is dead. And he won't be there to offer his vision or his sound anymore.

Loving the Alien 

Watching them come and go
The Templars and the Saracens
They're traveling the holy land
Opening telegrams

Torture comes and torture goes
Knights who'd give you anything
They bear the cross of Coeur de Leon
Salvation for the mirror blind

But if you pray, all your sins are hooked upon the sky
Pray and the heathen lie will disappear
Prayers they hide, the saddest view
(Believing the strangest things, loving the alien)
And your prayers they break the sky in two
(Believing the strangest things, loving the alien)
You pray 'til the break of dawn
(Believing the strangest things, loving the alien)
And you'll believe you're loving the alien
(Believing the strangest things, loving the alien)

Thinking of a different time
Palestine, a modern problem
Bounty and your wealth in land
Terror in a best laid plan

Watching them come and go
Tomorrows and the yesterdays
Christians and the unbelievers
Hanging by the cross and nail

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