The Man Who Taught Me To Be Different – David Bowie – January 8th 1947 to January 10th 2016


The Man Who Taught Me To Be Different – David Bowie – January 8th 1947 to January 10th 2016


David Bowie, the pop artist that I used to complain about every time I climbed into my good friend’s Ford Fiesta. The car that had no frill, no extras nor finesse, but it had a cassette player and it was our bit of freedom. Over and over, my friend David, would play Bowie tunes on his cassette tapes, whilst we drove from place to place. I remember asking him to put something else on one day; something more modern to which he replied, ‘you just haven’t given him a chance yet.’ He was right of course, I hadn’t, because even though I was deeply into my own artists at the time, David Bowie’s tunes were the ones that stuck in my head.

Slowly, I stop fighting it and started really listening to his material. It wasn’t long before I heard the genius in his work and eventually sought out his songs for myself. I look back and recall the turning point being when he released, Let’s Dance – This song stuck with me for weeks after its release and then I found, Fame – and that was that. Life on Mars ––IqqusnNQ and Space Oddity – the songs my friend played over and over, finally became firm favourites. There was no going back, David Bowie had become an integral part of my music collection.

Heroes – has to be my ultimate favourite track however. This song said so much to me – it talked about giving yourself permission to be brave, to strike out and take the lead. It also represented every person who ever stood alone, up against all odds and didn’t back down. Today, this song has been used to represent the bravery of individuals from the armed forces to the child dying of cancer. Never did I guess that this quirky man, who liked to be different and outrageous was the biggest hero of all.

Today, I reflect upon a man whose life had so much impact upon my own. Even though we never met or knew one another, as I writer, I take from that imprint and realise the impact that we have upon one another without realising it. He wasn’t perfect, he enjoyed controversy, and I believe it is this very thing that attracted me to him in the end. Writing and releasing an album just before dying is something that I couldn’t ever understand before becoming an author. With the fight of his life on his hands, why would he have wanted the hassle? Once upon a time, I would have simply assumed that it would be about making money, but now I understand the creative process, I realise that it’s far greater than that. Money means nothing to a dying man, but having so much more left to give and not being ready to go without a fight, does. He must have put every ounce of energy he had left to give, into getting this – his final gift to the world – out. Now, I appreciate that wanting to give one last thing to the world. To create the thing that will outlast yourself and be enjoyed by others, because faced with the same position, I would need to write until I couldn’t write anymore. The energy it takes a healthy artist to create something for the world is phenomenal. I don’t know how he managed this, other than sheer determination. A commendable attribute and the sign of a true hero.

We’ve lost such a talented artist and it is so sad that he is now gone. All I can do is call upon the happy memories that I associate with listening to his music and the way it made me feel. David Bowie made a very big footprint on my life and I shall treasure this always.

May you rest in peace, David Bowie. Thank you for the wonderful memories your music gave me and the example you set as a creative.


Serina Hartwell Author of Hidden – The Hidden Saga Book 1
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