Okay, I have a confession. In the words of today’s title song, “Don’t be offended, this might seem a little wrong”… but I never really got into the Harry Potter books or films. They just came out at the wrong time for me, I guess. Now obviously I recognize and know something about Alan Rickman’s character, due to my being a human being who has used the internet, but honestly? The first movie I think of when I see his face is Love Actually, since I watch it every year. I acknowledge that he was an integral part of a series that had a huge impact on multiple generations of readers and viewers. I just wasn’t one of those viewers or readers. So, while I empathize with the obvious grief that is being felt by the people around me by his loss, I can’t really share in it to such a personal degree. To me he was just a respected actor among many.
But then there’s David Bowie. He’s why I can confidently use “empathize” rather than “sympathize” with the aforementioned group – I’ve had to explain to people that David Bowie died and even who David Bowie was, and I have difficulty imagining how someone could not know these things. But of course it’s perfectly plausible and acceptable, and furthermore it’s an (awfully) perfect mirror to my reaction to Rickman’s death. “Who? Let me look it up … ohhhh, I know him now.” Perhaps I wouldn’t go so far as to say Labyrinth played as big a part in my childhood as Harry Potter did for others, and I’m far from being a connoisseur of Bowie’s music, but the combined weight of all his work certainly left a big impression. Then of course there are the secondary forms — the wonderful UK series Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, for example, or the many space-related movies and TV shows that have found a rich trove of soundtrack material in Bowie’s music (I always smile when I hear “Starman” in the background of that Christmas episode of Doctor Who).
And then we come full circle with songs themselves. Mika’s “Good Guys,” which I chose for today, works well enough for anyone saddened by the rash of high-profile deaths that started the new year, but I dare you not to choke up a little at “Thank you Emerson, and Bowie for my dreams.” Those iconic musicians like Davie Bowie and Freddie Mercury (whom he references in another song) clearly influenced Mika’s music and style, and I’m a sucker for favorite artists of mine paying tribute to each other (though Bowie was alive when the song was written — AND I completely missed that little line back when this song came out last spring, presumably too preoccupied with the Oscar Wilde reference).
Okay, that’s as sappy as I can stand to be for a while. I guess I forgot to explain the picture, didn’t I? Not much to explain; the barn owl for Labyrinth, black stars for the album, far above the moon for Space Oddity, etc. etc. I threw it together for a profile picture on Monday, and while I try to avoid digital art on here it seemed appropriate (and already made).
I had a good nostalgia trip this week, but now I’m going to make a point of finding some brand-new music and movies to enjoy. Even the brightest stars start somewhere….