I am shocked and saddened by the unexpected passing of David Bowie, at age 69, of cancer. He has been and will remain an inspiration to millions of musicians and ordinary people alike, who were touched by both his music and his humanity. I can think of none in the pantheon of world class musicians I admire as much. And it speaks volumes that those with the good fortune to work with Bowie over the decades are nearly unanimous in their gushing accolades for the man, and not just with respect to his extraordinary talent, but to his generosity as an artistic collaborator.
He and his family split time between London and New York, and I ran into him once at the amazing (and now shuttered) club Don Hills, when he was there just checking out new talent. There are very few times in my life I’ve been starstruck—you know: weak-kneed, tongue-tied, conspicuously blushing—and this is despite having met and worked with some of the biggest stars in the musical world. This was one of those times. Bowie’s presence, even when he was not performing, was just as magnetic and compelling as his stage persona—and if you’ve ever seen him in concert you know that is saying something, my friends. I always counted among my blessings the fact that at least this once, I didn’t snap into Deranged Fangirl Mode and immediately make a blubbering fool of myself (like that one time I did with Robert Plant, ugh). Today, though, I find myself regretting that I did not shake the man’s hand, embarrassing incoherence be damned.
Bowie’s wicked wit is vividly on display in this Proust Questionnaire from 1998, which I first saw during my recent travels. A sample:
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
What is your greatest fear?
Converting kilometers to miles.
Which living person do you most admire?
Sincere condolences and much love to his family and friends. I hope the media jackals give them the time and space to grieve their tragic loss in peace.
The universe lost one of my favorite humans today. Palace flags are at half mast.