The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

I don’t know you and yet……..

on January 14, 2016

I always find the feeling quite bizarre. That feeling of sadness at the news of someone passing. Famous people I mean. Not the people who surround you everyday.

The people whose face seems so familiar. Instantly recognisable if they were in the picture round of a pub quiz. So much so that if you happen to celebrity spot them in the street, your first thought may be to call out in greeting to someone you know but can’t quite place. Maybe a friend of a friend, someone you met at a party perhaps or through Gainful Employment. Then you realise actually you don’t know them at all and hurriedly retract that outstretched hand about to wave and break off making eye contact. Well you do sort of know them. You know their name at least, what songs they’ve sungs, films they’ve been in, their favourite colour even but still you’re strangers. 

That is what I find quite bizarre. No matter how famous they are with their highs and lows splashed across the media pages on line and in print, you don’t really know them at all. Yet news of their passing can bring a sense of loss. I often wondered whether it was weird to feel that way. With it being someone famous and all. Are you really allowed to feel a sense of grief over their death? I thought grief was reserved for family and friends only. 

The news of people passing having enjoyed a long life or tragically an all too short life is sad without question whether celebrity or not. But when it is a celebrity who has influenced your musical choices, picked you up when you were feeling down, called to you through their lyrics and bonded you with like minded people. I think it’s perfectly natural to feel a sense of loss. An acknowledgement of how their contribution through film, song, political beliefs or something else has impacted on you. Your youth, your student years, your carefree years and now your parenting years whereby you want to share your cultural preferences with your children. 

Mostly I feel so sad because the work of these people made me happy. Still makes me happy. Probably always will. Isn’t that a great achievement for anyone. That album you listen to because it was the soundtrack to a particular time of your life. The film that always gets watched to kickstart the festive season. The book you read that transports you to a different time and place. You can listen to the music, watch the film and re-read the book so many times and it never gets old. I’m a big fan of a number of celebrities for various reasons. Mostly because they make me feel good and happy which is their job after all. I like those that work hard with their talent and also did great things with their fame and celebrity status to bring about change.       
I guess it shouldn’t feel so bizarre at all. Someone that makes you happy has passed away. Unexpectedly so. I was just looking at the promotional posters of David Bowie’s new album in the shops at the weekend. Then all of a sudden, on a Monday afternoon whilst sat at my desk, a BBC news flash pops announcing the breaking news that David Bowie has died. I was almost filled with disbelief. But how? How can he be? He’s just released a new album that should mean he’s alive and well. What do you mean he’s passed away? 

A man who has been in the background of my cultural choices. The tv shows named after his title tracks and the vivid images of the different personas he took over the years. The rock and roll lifestyle I’ve only read about and not seen pasted across the internet. I can just focus on the simple fact that I liked what he did and I am sad to know that they are no more. I’ve read many an article and obituary about David Bowie these last two days. The fact that he kept his illness quiet for so long and essentially kept the general public at bay to spend his days with those that matter. A far cry to the actions of many a lesser celebrity who like to keep you informed every step of the way. 

For the rest of us, we can seek comfort in the work they left behind. Listening to old albums in a new context, Appreciating true genius star quality. Celebrity and fame means such different things these days. Some people are so called celebrities and yet I couldn’t tell you what they are famous for. I imagine they can’t either. 

So I’ve concluded with myself that it’s not so bizarre after all, feeling a sense of loss over the death of someone famous that I don’t really know but sort of do. I’m appreciative that what we still have is years and years of timeless enjoyment that can be shared with our own children. Already #1, 2 and 3 are familiar with the Best of Bowie album and Space Oddity is a favourite. No doubt they will soon be familiar with this lastest album, his parting gift as it’s called and I shall listen to it with poignancy but also positivity as I share his music with a new generation.



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