Had this crazy crappy dream last night that Bowie had died. Then I woke up, and it was the next day.
It was a day of international mourning yesterday. It is right and proper we mourn David Bowie.
I’m in the business he was. I’m here, pottering around in the fringes. By people in this business, there were a handful of figures who were deemed “immortals” even while they were still alive. He was one of them, no doubt. The musician’s musician, the idol’s idol, etc.
There’s a short church service near where I live that’s on every morning, so I like to go along. This morning the preacher was talking about how we are blessed, our “blessings”. I do believe that we were blessed to know Bowie, we were blessed to be around at the time he was.
I have memories of Britain in the 70s, of grimness and darkness, three-day working weeks, and many power cuts. Industrial relations breaking down, people being torn apart by ideology and the real threat of poverty.
But then we had dudes like Bowie shining out from our screens, and transporting us to strange places over the radio. Not every clown who sang a pop song did that, but he was different. He lead the way with an unflinching pursuit of strangeness and beauty and defiance. And with one listen to any of his great hits, you couldn’t help but being dragged along into that world.
We were blessed to know him. And he in turn was blessed with an amazing talent, one that he was brave enough to give into completely. How many times must people have looked at him with disgust and disbelief in the early days..
So it is right and proper that we mourn and are thankful in equal measure.
Thinking back on this morning’s service, the talk about blessings can often be taken in the wrong way. “Count your blessings” is a cliché often espoused by head teachers to bored and recalcitrant school kids. It comes across as a condescending nag. But think beyond the food on your plate for a second, or your gas central heating. What are you blessed with?
I think if we can figure that out, all of us would better know how to live our lives. I think it can take a long time to figure it out. At school they can tell you that you’re a fast runner, or that you’re good at arithmetic. Sometimes, however, you might have to wait a lot longer to realise that you have a gift for healing, or that people value you because of your gift for listening and empathy.
We’ve all got something. It may not be as obvious and spectacular as Mr Bowie, but we all got something. In these dark days, when the news always seems a bit grim, please tell me that you’re using whatever ‘blessing’ you have.