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Todd Powelson
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David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World

I’ve got to admit, the death of David Bowie has been on my mind a lot this week. More than expected, because I didn’t know him outside of his creative work. Of course, getting older means that you’ve seen too many people pass away… People you know, and people you don’t. I don’t think the passing of any other celebrity or musician has ever bothered me this much.

I read about David Bowie’s passing right before going to bed last Sunday, January 10th. After reading about it, I wasn’t able to get to sleep until after 3am. Strange. The news really bugged me. And then when I finally did get to sleep, I had a short dream that Bowie was visiting with me in my front room and then he walked out my front door. Also strange, but not too surprising. I guess it isn’t all that suprising he’s been on my mind off and on all week either.

It bothers me so much because David Bowie has always been there, releasing fantastic new work. There might’ve been gaps, but he’d always show up again with some creation new to enjoy. A movie, an interview, artwork, a concert and, most especially, new music.

I think I must have been 9 or 10 when Bowie first registered for me. My family was living in Taiwan at that time, and I remember we rented a Christmas special that had David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing Little Drummer Boy. I don’t know why I have such a clear memory of that, but I do.

When I was 12 years old Bowie released his album Let’s Dance, and I bought and listened to that a whole lot. Getting that album had me going through and buying from his older catalog too. Scary Monsters stands out as one I really liked. But I became obsessed with Pin Ups, listening to that record over and over (and over). It wasn’t until later, when I was in High School maybe, that I found Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold The World, and Diamond Dogs. Those three albums… Wowie-Zowie! Still my favorites! I think Diamond Dogs is among the greatest albums ever recorded. I remember in the mid-90s he released Outside, and that was another CD that I just couldn’t get enough of. Such great music. Then there was Heathen a few years later. Yep, Bowie was always there, releasing new stuff. I’ll miss that.

Of course, Bowie was not just a musician. He was an all-around performer. An actor, performance artist, visual artist, and more. Constantly challenging, redefining and reinventing himself.

Do you remember BowieNet? I used to go there all the time in the late 90’s for inspiration… In addition to David Bowie, there were some really great visual artists and musicians being showcased on BowieNet back then.

Kind of dumb memories, but I guess I’ll still share them. Why not? Back in 1997 I got my very first personal computer and printer. My very own. One of the first things I did with that was print out the artwork from The Man Who Sold The World (shown at the top of this post) as a heat transfer and put that on a t-shirt. I loved that t-shirt! Bowie’s Panic In Detroit was also the very first, and only, ring tone that I customized and added to my cell phone. I didn’t keep it for very long though because I was always bummed that I couldn’t listen to the whole song and had to answer my phone.

I remember watching David Bowie in concert on the boob-tube back in 2003 or 04 and being so impressed by his performance. Then there was this long silence. I missed him. I read that he’d had a heart attack… I missed him, but still had his music.

Now we have Blackstar, Bowie’s final gift. I know I’ll miss knowing he is out there, making new music, creating new things… but I appreciate the music and creativity he’s shared with (and inspired in) me already.

R.I.P. David Bowie

Todd Powelson
Todd Powelson works as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Visual Artist.

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