Monday, 11 January 2016

Dear David Bowie,

Dear David Bowie

I, like most people, am no stranger to the heartbreak of losing a close friend or a loved one. It is irrefutably the most hollowing of all human experiences, when a part of you that once sat undetected has now been scooped out from your spirit, and its sudden absence leaves a disorientating mess of surreal confusion and irreplaceable damage. You become consumed, normal everyday priorities appear frivolous, any stray thought will come crashing back into the memory of the departed, and a new pouch of tears rips open within the solar plexus, allowing us to cry a new brand of grief, for what feels like all the water inside of our body.

It's fascinating, then, how upset one can get over a person they have never met, but it does make sense. Celebrities play an integral part of our happiness and growth. They teach us lessons, good or bad. They inspire us to reach for what they have. And their lives provide us with a well-needed break when our own gets a little too overwhelming to bear.

But you, Mr Bowie, cannot be lumped so easily into this category. Your worth as an artist is above your average famous person (to say the very fucking least), which has been proven time and time again by sales figures, awards, your net worth, your influence on the greater art world, your legendary status, and the tributes we have seen at such monumental proportions today. You were the epitome of Rock God, immeasurably larger than any other human alive, leaving a very sad platform which will never ever be filled. You will forever stand as the greatest example of someone who shoved so much art into their trade that they themselves became the masterpiece. You were your masterpiece.

It's strange to say, but dying has been the most human thing you've ever done, which would explain the universal disbelief of your passing. You were never supposed to die. And now you have left us without any clue as to what we're supposed to do without you, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I don't know if I will ever be the same in the knowledge that another Bowie song will never be written again. Sounds silly, doesn't it? Although, then again, does it? Perhaps we never met, Bowie, and perhaps it was very one sided, but I spent a lot of time with you, man. I thought of you every day. You were the pinnacle. You were the type of dude that proved that there was a certain magical element to the world, a puzzling freedom, and through artistic expression, we all maybe had the chance of getting there ourselves. And that's the type of thought that makes your death seem further unique and special, above even that of someone I may have known in real life. Because, as I cry while typing this, I know there is crying around the world for you, and as a global unit, there is a really large fucking hole right now. Maybe in the afterlife they measure your impact by the volume of tears produced, and if so, you, sir, would surely be up there with the best of them. And I'm proud to contribute.

In a rare case like this, the mind naturally searches for counterparts who we can also place in the league of musical deaths which my lifetime will be remembered for. Kurt Cobain is a good contender. But when we step back and evaluate his contribution, we find a man who wrote a few generation defining albums and then ultimately self destructed into a rockstar cliché tragedy. I also clearly remember when Michael Jackson died, but by that point, his private life had fallen into such a media circus of controversy, that it outweighed his musical input, and much like Cobian, his fatal overdose resulted in yet another tragic death typical for the famous. But your story, Mr Bowie, was not a tragedy. Your health had been in question for almost a decade. You lived to the respectable age of 69. You continuously presented acclaimed work until just the other day. And your cancerous demise was an exit even the most cautious of individuals have been known to take. But what was anything but commonplace was your artistic donation, which was so substantial in volume and so immense in success, that it spread as one of the most well-known in the industry's history, yet was skewed so far sideways by its peculiar innovation and integrity, that your ladder stood alone, suggesting your legacy could never be regarded in the same breath as Elvis or Lennon or Sinatra, but rather a warped bubble floating out to space all by itself. And that's why none of this is an unfortunate disaster. This was the perfect lifestory, as if God himself was a massive Bowie fan and wanted your book to be a long and rewarding read, with a satisfactory beginning, middle, and conclusion.

And that is exactly what we got. It only took me a few minutes to grow suspicious, but it does now seem to be confirmed by Tony Visconti that you were desperately informing us about your fast approaching death just last Friday, and you were saying goodbye. The Starman, now a Blackstar. "Look up here, I'm in heaven". "I'm trying to, I'm dying too". "Something happened on the day he died". And perhaps the most eerie lyric of all (although probably coincidental), "Where the fuck did Monday go?". The references to fear and death and mortality are all too obvious now. You knew this was your final message, and you somehow delivered it from a podium you had never spoken from before, a genre untouched by your voice, which is seemingly impossible from a 69 year old man dying from cancer who had built an entire career out of reinvention and genre-hopping. I mean, already the critics had spent the last week unanimously worshipping this new sound you walked on, and I can only imagine how great that must have made you feel on your last days. Wow, what a wonderful thought that is. But now that you have abandoned us in the knowledge of what you were literally saying, we can only stand still in awe of your genius which was working until the bitter end, the album's newfound meaning suddenly proving your swansong to be perhaps your most potent, smartest, and calculated move yet. Which is an unheard of feat for a man who spent five decades releasing music, and who was only two days away from his final heartbeat. Oh, you sneaky sneaky alien.

To conclude on a personal note, I have to tell you that you were my #1. People would ask me which celebrity I wanted to meet the most, and my answer was always David Bowie. People would ask which act I'd like to see live the most, and my answer was always David Bowie. And to know that I will never get either of these opportunities has left me with a sickness I'm not sure I've ever felt before. You have to understand, you were my artistic everything. Not a piece of work I have produced wasn't an ode to you on some level. I stole everything I know from you, and the only reason nobody noticed is because I didn't have the guts to commit to it as far as you did. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is not a single artist I love more than you. And I will miss you so fucking fiercely.

Thank you for everything, Starman.
You live on within us.

Jared Woods


  1. Wonderfully written, man. Just wonderful. There are things I'd like to say besides this, but I wouldn't wish to spoil your image of the public persona of Bowie - the rock star, the rock God - you're entitled to that much.

  2. What about Scott Weiland? Are you into Stone Temple Pilots or Scott Weiland's solo work? Bowie was a big influence on Weiland, can certainly hear it in some of the songs, especially his solo material.