It can’t be news to anyone that David Bowie passed away yesterday. As much as I love his music, what will stick with me most about Bowie is the timeless sense of cool he brought to the world.
Lots of people march to the beat of their own drum. Most eventually conform to the masses. The few that stick it out are often one-trick ponies: aged punk rockers working in record stores, and wearing clothes that just don’t look right on a 45-year old. Bowie managed to constantly evolve, yet always be wholly unique. He went from being a freak on the fringe (he was often harassed in his pre-fame days for his look) to someone who was truly himself. I’d say he embodies my favorite quotation better than any other:
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
- e.e. cummings
I can only hope I have the courage to continue on my own path, as I’ve tried to do these first 31 years, the way Bowie did his whole life. It makes one capable of the extraordinary.
My first exposure to David Bowie was in 1997. My parents do not listen to great music, so I never was exposed to Bowie from their record collection like many of my peers. Instead, I remember coming home from school one day and catching his collaborating with Trent Reznor on MTV in the afternoon. Nine Inch Nails was popular at the time, so I tuned in and it turned me into a life-long fan of his eclectic work: