As the fallout from Bowie’s death settles, we collect our thoughts and try to make sense of his life and legacy. As I mentioned in my previous post, I fell in love with him in my teens. He was larger than life and he sang about feelings of isolation and anxiety. Something I was only too familiar with after the death of my father.
I believe what turned me onto him wasn’t just the music, the costumes and whatever doomsday thoughts he dabbled in. I have always been curious about life, the universe and everything. Bowie was extremely well read and seemed to share this curiosity. In fact, I think his curiosity far exceeded mine. His ability to express his findings in art certainly did. He opened up strange doors that would never close again. My life was richer because of him.
Having been a fan for more than 30 years, I know his music inside and out. All periods, also the incredible and overlooked 1990s. I could go upon a stage and give an unprepared lecture about his life and influences. I have all his records and a few books on him and his art. While the world scrambles to get to know him – Blackstar is no 1 in 69 countries and his album sales rose 5000% in the week after his passing – I can sit back and enjoy what I already am familiar with.
So how can I get to know him better without reading another biography? How can I get into his mind and tap into that universe of his? The answer is, get to know his influences. As mentioned above, Bowie was extremely well read. There are countless photos of him reading through the decades. He posted his top 100 books on his Facebook page in 2013. I have read a couple of them, but most are a mystery. Many I have never heard of.
So here is how I’ll commemorate David Bowie in the coming year and beyond. Read the books he loved. Let him continue to expand my mind and horizon. His music may just take on a whole new meaning.
Only question is, where to start?