Floating In A Most Peculiar Way

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

It’s 3:30 in the morning on a Monday. I’m lethargic and upset because I’ve been rolling around my bed trying to fall back asleep. Feeling defeated I slide my iPhone’s lock open and almost mindless and without control I opened reddit. This morning I was too tired to prepare myself or even flinch at what news in the world would be on the front page. Needless to say, the top three posts were about the passing of David Bowie; the icon, the artist and one of the most influential people in the world the past forty years. It was a sobering thought, and not one that renders the mind aware, but a thought that takes you to a distant planet to an existential corner of the world where you try and comprehend what the hell is happening.

You see, plenty of wednesdays my closest friends and I have retreated to a little dive bar where they have a cd player that functions as a public jukebox. It is full of old time cds from Tom Waits to My Bloody Valentine to John Lennon and even N.W.A. Most of all though, a dear friend of mine had a love and passion for David Bowie that I myself would attribute with my love for Every Time I Die, for comparison. So moved by David Bowie that my friend beat up a kid in school for calling Bowie a queer.

And by all means, one could understand why someone would say that. In the early 70’s he was an entirely different person. He was Ziggy Stardust, the stylish tights wearing red haired messenger of aliens who also wore an eyepatch. It had nothing to do with his sexuality but everything to do with his artistry. If he really was brought to earth by a pack of aliens then they made it clear he was meant to make music. He transcended through so many genres that one could really call him the jack of the entire music industry or the jester of true celebrities. He was never afraid to tackle a new style of music, usually modifying his appearance and killing off his former self. As Nick mentioned in his review of Bowie’s Swan Song Blackstar, he had been reborn plenty of times; yet no one saw his final death. He didn’t let the world hear of his suffering, instead he let the world hear his glory. 

It’s an artist like this that bled through more than just one generation’s culture. Bowie made such an impact on culture that he was called on to act in both films and broadway performances. Almost a method actor in a way, he played roles that different drastically in terms of appearance but he always came through. How many of our minds were ripped to shreds from Labyrinth? He electrified my conscience in The Prestige, he took my heart away in The Man Who Fell To Earth. He was a genius conspiring to steal the souls of everyone, and in a way, he did.

Now I am not sure of how Wednesdays will go from now on. The next time I hear “Space Oddity” while sitting with my close friends playing cards will sound different. Through hindsight and a better understanding of Bowie through Blackstar, he has always been dialing into the heavens. Who knows, maybe he finally found his home on a distant planet with plenty of instruments to keep him satisfied. Maybe Freddie Mercury is there too, and Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin. Maybe all of Bowie’s former identities can finally welcome the physical body into their realm of immortal love.

The curtains have closed, and we are left with the score to his life through a vivid soundscape that is deeper than the Marianas Trench. I titled this piece “Floating In A Most Peculiar Way” because that’s where I am. I’m somewhere between reality and the audible realm of reality that Bowie left to us all. I’m floating away and tears are the only thing holding me down. Rest forever in peace Mr. Bowie, we’ll be dialing you soon in that same bar, in the same booth, with nothing but joy and love for the memories you helped bring.