Ziggy Stardust, The Earl of Ear, an alien, a muse, and a goblin king. David Bowie was everything and anything, and he continues to be an inspiration for more than one AVER member. As our humble way of honoring the man who sold the world AVER would like to take this time to highlight the myriad ways Bowie has made our lives more magical.
GREGORY: David Bowie feels more like a territory than a person. David Bowie Land. I have only visited a little of it. Mainly I have only been to the capital cities: Heroes, Ziggy Stardust, Modern Love. There is so much space unknown to me in Bowie Land that I feel like I don't understand him at all. And I feel kind of ashamed of that. Someday, I tell myself, I will do some catch-up work. Just now, I watched his video for his song "Lazarus," released only weeks before his death. Suddenly I am feeling like there is much more to David Bowie than I could have imagined. Here is a person, dealing with their own death as it is happening. Making a song out of it. Going into the unknown with a grace and style I can't really wrap my head around. Who is this man? I definitely have some catching up to do.
LAURA: Bowie was my dream guide. Lurking in my unconscious mind as I slept, he would often casually wander into my dreams to comfort me or twist my mundane internal narratives into kaleidoscopic adventures. Much like the Cat from The Cat in the Hat, Bowie is a rascal and a rouge, causing mirth and merriment to point of hysteria. His role as Jareth in Labyrinth is how I will forever picture him.
TY: I was seven years old in 1983, when David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album came out. This was a pivotal year, the one where I decided that music was going to be my “thing”. I devoured the Top 40 new wave, synth pop and soul hits on the radio (plus Soul Train, I loved that show) and on a relatively new format, the music video. My family didn’t have cable, but there was a program that came on Channel 4 once a week that played the same videos that were on MTV. Modern Love, China Girl, and Let’s Dance were all staples, and became favorites. The combination of the ultra-catchy music and the visuals hooked me, just as it did for countless other people at the time.
As the 1980s progressed, I became entranced by hip hop and sort of forgot about Bowie. It wasn’t until the late 90s, when I started collecting records and really delved into studying the history of popular music that Bowie reentered my consciousness. He’s been there ever since. Yes, I’m interested in him from a visual standpoint, but much more so from a musical one. Fame, Golden Years, Heroes, Rebel Rebel, Suffragette City, Changes, Fashion, Ziggy Stardust, All the Young Dudes, Young Americans, Sound and Vision, Under Pressure, Queen Bitch, Starman, TVC 15… I’ve heard these songs countless times, and still get the chills when they come on. They are timeless, and are at the top of the list of greatest pop songs of all time. David Bowie will be missed, but his music will live forever.
TRAVIS: David Bowie is probably my favorite person to look at. In almost every photograph of the man, he is an absolutely flawless specimen of a human being. Of course, that’s not to say that he was “handsome,” in a traditional sense: what similarly-featured star could you even compare him to? Tilda Swinton? A Jurassic Park velociraptor? I was always fascinated by the strangeness of his features; the way he contained a certain femininity; and the way his looks served his various personas over the years. He was a self-made idol, and like a lot of people, I wanted to be him. Maybe I didn’t want to prance around on a stage with a mullet and a silk kimono, but I did want to be my most perfect, stunning self. And I believe that something in Bowie’s message transmitted the idea that it was possible.
JOJO: I arrived late to the party; I didn't grow up listening to Bowie, I had never seen The Labyrinth until my mid twenties, but I just remember, as a young adolescent maybe 12 or 13, Bowie being on the Conan O'Brien show and me thinking he was so attractive, that hair! and feeling embarrassed because how could this old man be so cute and cool? So my first encounter with David Bowie was one of sexual attraction, an initial access point to which many can probably relate. Later, around 18, I’d go dancing on Saturdays to this club BANG! I first heard "Modern Love" there, and it shot me with an excitable euphoria. I would hop on the stage, throw my hands up and get completely wrapped in the dance beat of that song. A spontaneous power, I’d snap and switch footing and spin, just like Bowie does in the music video. From that song, I began to understand how dynamic Bowie was as an artist, and I fell into it all... Bowie as a living artist, in all incarnations. But what continues to live as his body fades is an unmistakable sense of familiarity, Bowie as a friend I knew perhaps instinctually. And, like any good mentor, any great soul, that energy radiates and continues to inspire.