Jan. 12th, 2016

millionreasons: (marnie)
The first famous person I can remember dying is John Lennon. I didn't know who he was, just that my parents were sad and three of his singles were in the top ten. If I had heard of him, it would have been for that mawkish hypocritical paean to minimalism, Imagine. Ditto, the first single I remember by Paul McCartney is the one with Rupert the Bear. We were expected to admire the popstars of our parents' generation, but Tina Turner to me was the glamorous granny tottering around the stage to Simply The Best - it was only later that I discovered her earlier output of work, inc. the truly astonishing River Deep Mountain High. Ditto Mick Jagger, it's not his rebellious teen swagger that is part of my youth, but it's his "dancing" during the execrable Dancing In The Street video with David Bowie.

The first songs I heard by David Bowie were Let's Dance and China Girl; I thought he was another 80s popstar, I wasn't aware of his previous incarnation as Ziggy Stradust, Aladdin Sane, Berlin art-rocker etc. I think if I'd been born ten years previously, I would have understood, been a Bowie fan. As it is, I'm not, and I'm finding it hard to be sad about his death. I feel OK about not being sad. Other people are pretty insistent that I should be sad though. I've just read a long rant from someone who was outraged that a working class gay man of her acquaintance was not in mourning, because Bowie himself was a multi-sexual person of working class origin. Well, Germaine Greer helped women gain more of a foothold in society, but that doesn't mean I'll be extorting every woman to mourn come her passing.

Elsewhere on the web, someone who usually uses his sparkling wit to denounce the venal, vile, hypocritical Tories was trawling twitter for people who were Bowie naysayers and then posting screenshots of their other tweets mourning Cilla Black, Joan Rivers, Thatcher. David Bowie was preferable to those people, but it hardly seems a good use of grief.

I understand that Bowie was an influence on people I like (Morrissey, The Runaways), but y'know, without (e.g.) Robert Johnson, there would be no blues, leading to rock'n'roll leading to David Bowie, and so forth. I understand that he was a cultural icon - just not my cultural icon. I like Rebel Rebel, I like Heroes, but they're just pop songs to me. If the two members of Shampoo died tomorrow I would be more upset. Not because Shampoo were as culturally important as DB, but because I loved them more: for two glorious summers ('93 and '94) they were everything to me. If Shampoo died tomorrow, people would tweet: "Uh oh, they're in trouble", because some celebs dying is funny, for others it's a day of national mourning. I understand that people's feelings are raw and they don't want annoying refuseniks making inane comments. But the "You Must Like What I Like" gang is irritating. I find it astonishing that people are incensed when others don't like things that they adore. It's cultural bullying.

Indie is/was all about making your own niche, finding your own thing, staying at home listening to some no-hoper band from Margate because they moved you more than the band your pals were all going to see. I'd rather go see the Veronica Mars movie on my own than in a gang to view the new Tarantino, Lars Von Trier, or Marvel. When we went to Primarvera last year, our chums went to see The Strokes and I dragged Dave along to Antony and the Johnsons, who were wonderful. The Strokes might be more "culturally important" but I preferred a bit of torch song drag. I think David Bowie might approve.

I'm a hypocrite, of course. I was pretty upset when Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow) died this time last year - Deirdre was part of my life in a way that DB wasn't. More people probably watch Corrie than own a David Bowie record, she was culturally important in a different way. If someone had tweeted Corrie was shit and Deirdre was a rubbish character, I think I would have been a little shocked, but I can't believe that I would have started replying to those eejits informing them that they were wrong and digging up their past tweets.

I was also saddened when Amy Winehouse died, because she was a great talent but also because it felt like someone could and should have done something. Amy was the Camden Caner, the drunk, the good time girl: it was all so very funny until it wasn't. That's the thing, we partly love popstars for leading the life we'd like to, but then we're surprised when they don't carry on to a ripe old age (I'm not judgemental about drink and drugs: if the LSD, coke and ecstasy I briefly "experimented" with in the '90s takes ten years off the care home - or workhouse if the Tories are in power for much longer - then I can live, or rather die. with that), but we can't expect people to lead a rock 'n' roll lifestyle into their 80s, Keith Richards aside. Seriously, everyone from our childhood and teenagehood will be dead in the next twenty years, we need to learn to deal with it.

I had the chance to see David Bowie once. I got comp. tickets to see Shampoo supporting Tin Machine at the 100 Club. We left after Shampoo.

January 2017

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