What a surprise, another ‘Icon’ dies and in comes the floods of comments on social media about how this person made their life complete and that now he has died there is no more happiness left in the world and we should all just bloody kill ourselves. Come on, you know what you are doing! Bowie is exactly where he has always been (in your music collection) and anyone who says that he could have accomplished so much more if he had lived on, is kidding themselves. David Bowie has a wealth of work behind him and is a respectable person in music history, and he doesn’t need lousy comments from some 16 year old girl who only owns the greatest hits of Bowie, andsearches the internet for some scrap of Bowie lyrics, trying to pass themselves off as a mega-fan. In my personal opinion the only people who can truly mourn David Bowie are those people who have met him personally, spent lots of personal time with the man and who were able to see behind the façade that is fame. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people shouldn’t be allowed to feel upset that an artist has past away, but do not cheapen the moment by trying to win the competition of who was the biggest fan. Every time I see a status by someone who is showing their Bowie Vinyl collection or writing comments like “RIP Bowie – So glad I saw you live” I want them to be banned from ever using the internet again. Who is so rushed to pass on their condolences that they need to write “RIP” instead of “Rest In Peace”. Perhaps this need for speed comes from the very fabric of this current generation, who never truly appreciate the magic of music until the artist has died. I am quite comfortable with the fact that David Bowie is gone, as well as Kurt Cobain and even Michael Jackson because they have already spoken to me through their art, and that feeling will never go away. I do not understand the need to plaster your facebook wall with ramblings about David Bowie unless you are craving attention yourself, almost as if you want to be seen on some high pedestal as the only person who truly understood the man behind the work. When statuses are written like “RIP David, thank you for all the great tunes, is there life on mars?” It makes me wish that David Bowie could respond, and that his Status would read something like this:
“Sorry I am not sure who you are, but I am curious that now I am deceased you see fit to thank me? Where was my thanks over the course of my entire career? Also, If you thought I was dead did you really think I would be logging on to some sort of ‘afterlife twitter’, where I can massage my ego reading about your nonsense. I once wrote a song called “Life on Mars” which was released in 1970 as part of my Hunky Dory album, but I am not sure why you have tagged on the title of that song to the end of your status? Surely if you wanted even the illusion of profundity you would have used a lyric from ‘Changes’ as that would be more fitting?”
In most cases I do not think people intend on sending the wrong message about Bowie, but when you see people writing such awful statuses you realise how hard it is to use any sort of medium to express how we are feeling inside. Art has always been an outlet for people to express their inwards feelings (outwardly) even if those concepts are hard to stomach. The great Bertrand Russell wrote in his book the Conquest Of Happiness (1930) that “When the public cannot understand a picture or a poem they conclude that it is a bad picture or a bad poem. When they cannot understand the theory of relativity they conclude (rightly) that their education has been insufficient. Consequently Einstein is honoured whilst the best painters are (or at least were) left to starve in garrets, and Einstein is happy while the painters are unhappy”. Doesn’t this statement just sum up the inconsistency of how we appreciate achievement and the true values of great art. Hopefully in the future our culture will open our minds properly and show as much respect for many different types of complex art not just so we can use it as a shield, but so we can use it as a medicine.