Stuart's Diary

Hey

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.

Stuart

Post to Twitter

28 Comments

  1. Florencia writes:

    I found myself thinking about how much Bowie was a link to the very known things, to a world where humanity was able to be recognised. In this exact moment, It feels like the world is turning more and more into a fishbowl, full of masked people running from side to side, trying to catch a disposable face that suits each of them for a while. Running to catch every single option, without living even one at all. It turns us into strangers to ourselves, so we never made time to count our blessings because we tend to accept they vanished as everything else. Thank you for your kind words Stuart, those are necessary to realize the importance of trying to see the good of ourselves and embrace it. Sorry for my bad English.

  2. Florencia writes:

    I’ve found myself thinking about how much Bowie was a link to the very known things, to a world where humanity was able to be recognised. In this exact moment, It feels like the world is turning more and more into a fishbowl, full of masked people running from side to side, trying to catch a disposable face that suits each of them for a while. Running to catch every single option, without living even one at all. It turns us into strangers to ourselves, so we never made time to count our blessings because we tend to accept they vanished as everything else. Thank you for your kind words Stuart, those are necessary to realize the importance of trying to see the good of ourselves and embrace it.

  3. Consuelo writes:

    Such beautiful words, you guys also have a blessing that has been with me a long time, along with Bowies music and a few others.

    Greetings from Chile
    Ps. I love the song Consuelo from Storytelling is my entrance song in the soundtrack playing in my head.

  4. Paul Plimmer writes:

    Beautiful sentiment from a Beautiful Artist.

  5. Peggy Shanks writes:

    Thank you for this Stuart. Too often we do forget to count our blessings. After we suffer a loss, we frequently focus on what is missing from our lives rather than what we once had. Yesterday, I walked around feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach. I lost my husband suddenly in August and learning about David Bowie’s death dragged me back to those first few days after my husband died. On very bad days, I sit on my sofa and cry and stare at the box on the mantle that his ashes are kept in. On good days, I remind myself of how lucky we were to have had 16 years together when there are some people who never get five minutes of what we shared. The same can be said for David Bowie. He was always in my life, in the soundtrack of it, making me feel like I too belonged, that I wasn’t alone on the planet. You and I were lucky to have shared a part of our lives with David Bowie and we need to celebrate that once we’ve finished mourning.

  6. Mitch Manzella writes:

    Planet Earth is Blue and there’s nothing I can do.

    Thanks Stuart.

  7. Juanita writes:

    Thank you for that blessing, Stuart. I woke up with a a grief hangover. Your words cleared my head a bit.

  8. Sam Clarke writes:

    Inspirational and moving, elegiac but uplifting. You do him credit, Stuart, and are a light in dark times as the world mourns. He will be sorely missed.

  9. Brian writes:

    Thank you Stuart. That was lovely. Whose heart worked harder than Bowie’s…?

  10. Tim writes:

    Beautiful thoughts Stuart. True for Bowie and everyone.

  11. gedge73 writes:

    Beautiful words, Stuart. The second day can often be the hardest. The passing of David Bowie will leave a gap in so many people’s lives but his music will continue to be heard.

  12. Dan Barry writes:

    Just now you have once again made me cry – as you did the last time I saw you perform on Austin, TX – when you ever so graciously played “Dress Up In You” after my repeated requests – That song particularly, and so many others, mean so very much to me … Thank you for sharing your “blessing” with the world – I will try my best to do the same… Wishing you health and happiness, Dan

  13. Terrence Dunlop writes:

    I am blessed to have had my share and to now help others with the pain.

  14. Lesley writes:

    That’s lovely Stuart. It’s my birthday today and I have many many blessings, counting them today.
    Have a watch of the Chris Evans interview with him if you haven’t already seen it……
    RIP Bowie

  15. Victor writes:

    Beautiful, thank you for that. It adds another layer to the impact that Bowie had on the world and helps me understand why is it that I love his music beyond catchy tunes and thoughtful lyrics. Also, thank you for God Help The Girl, it’s become my favorite holiday destination.

  16. Brian writes:

    I live a lifestyle of affluence and privilege, of that I am sure. Often I’ll open my refrigerator and while gazing into the temperature controlled cornucopia of fresh vegetables, fruit, fine wine, cheese, and meat I think to myself: How is it that I could possibly deserve this bounty when so many have so little? And know without doubt I have done nothing so well my whole life long to truly deserve any of this aside from study art, literature, music, fine food, and beautiful women. I have cultivated my personality and what little artistic ability I might have honestly and with very little to no didactic training. This helped me to marry very well above what I deserve and find decent work that pays well. In short, I’m no David Bowie, no Stuart Murdoch, but fuck an a, I live very well. I think maybe my real talent is living artfully. I am so grateful for that. I seldom lose sight of how, to use your word here, blessed I am.

  17. Michael writes:

    Your reflection on David’s talent helps me to deal with what I was thinking: that David did so much with his talent and lived a life unleashing his full creative potential that made me feel sad that I have not. But seeing David and the grace that he displayed as life progressed makes me wish that I could have sat down to a long dinner with him and some others to laugh and tell stories.

  18. Matt writes:

    What can Bowie do for you?

    I’ll tell you what he did for me.
    Now realize, I’m not the sort to mourn much when people I don’t know personally go the way of all the earth, although when I was 5 years old and completely obsessed with The Beatles, it made me sad when my dad told me that one of them had been shot ten years before I was born. The point is, I didn’t feel shocked or really even depressed to hear of Ziggy’s death. Rather, I, like many others I should think, felt nostalgic.

    When I was 16, I worked at a summer camp. The job was fun, though exhausting. In the evenings when the staff were off duty we’d usually pass the time and a bottle of Jäger in our cabins listening to each other’s mix CDs and hoping the power didn’t go out. I was headed back from the shower, walking past the cabin of some college-aged staff and heard this really raw buzzy guitar and a smooth, yet twangy and excruciatingly British voice crooning, “Ground control to Major Tom….” It sounded magnificent. The door sat wide open in the vain hope of enticing some summer breeze, so I stuck my head in and asked, “Who’s singing that?”
    “David Bowie,” said a guy I recognized but hadn’t really spoken to. They invited me in and were kind enough to start the song over for me. The fellow who had told me Bowie’s name was himself called Tom. We bonded quickly over a love of really, really great art-rock music and a mutual appreciation of red jello.

    I took to spending my evenings rocking out with the college crew and made some really excellent friendships. Two years later, I applied to the school in Michigan that they all attended. I was accepted, but ultimately couldn’t afford the tuition. I kept in touch with them all after I started college in Idaho. My first year I had a really phenomenal history professor. Dr. Baxter… she just got it. She’d been a free speech protester in Berkeley back in the 60’s and still had nasty word or two for “the establishment.” She’d grown much more conservative in her latter years, but openly encouraged her students (me, in particular) to make whatever we wished of our education. At the end of the semester she said, “Present us with something. Make it historical, take it from the period we’ve studied (1860s to present) but make it more about you than about the class.” I, therefore, spent a week preparing a presentation on the evolution of rock and roll. We were each allotted 12 minutes to present. I lectured for half an hour. She didn’t say a word. I’ve gone into far too much detail already, but I must say that Mr. Bowie’s music and influence featured heavily into my research and, I daresay, contributed generously to the perfect grade she gave me. I’d played excerpts from “Maid of Bond Street” and “Space Oddity” for the class. She knew I didn’t care about the grade. I just needed to be sure everyone knew that I cared about that music.

    So, what can Bowie do for you? I’m not sure. Maybe nothing. He might not be to your taste. I’m not the biggest of his fans by any means. But I am a fan of art, and a sworn devotee of music. His music gave me some really excellent friends, and helped me on an assignment. Death is inevitable, as is that phrase whenever someone unexpectedly dies. I tend to mourn less than others. In this case, I didn’t feel to mourn at all. Death is sad when people die with their music, real or proverbial, still inside them.

    David Bowie didn’t.

  19. Paul Hepworth writes:

    You may already realise this Stuart but both you and DB have visited the buddhist monestary near locherbie … perhaps a pyshcic connection was forged

  20. saul writes:

    Stuart,

    Thank you for those words, and thank you for the songs. For many of us, music is what gets us through.

  21. Patrick writes:

    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? Your words!

    Curious how old were you at the time to have such memories?

  22. Stephen Anderson writes:

    Nice words, Stuart. It’s comforting for a B&S fan to know you feel this way, too. The sad thing for music is that we can’t expect to see anyone like him again. But I suppose that is what made him such an original artist.

  23. MariaDan writes:

    Thank you

  24. Lin writes:

    This helped. Thank you, Stuart.

  25. Roman writes:

    It is currently just about to turn 4am in the morning here in sunny Los Angeles and yet here I am reading a entry that well not being the author of still appreciate the words. The loss of a major hero for me was felt hard even to the point where I felt embarrassed because I really didn’t know this person personally but still impacted me with such surprise. It wasn’t till after reading this lovely sentiment that I feel like I had no reason to be sad but to be glad and “count my blessings” to have lived in a world where this man existed and shared so much of himself. Furthermore you remind me that with death comes the appreciation of life.

    Thank you.

    Roman

  26. Garbonzo Alfonzo writes:

    Thanks Stuart, I’ll do my very bestest to share my bestest and do you and the Great Dame proud. I shed more than a few tears reading this entry.

  27. Peter writes:

    Heartfelt, thoughtful and wonderful to read and remember David Bowie. Thank you.

  28. Nicholas Straube writes:

    Stuart-
    Thank you for your thoughts. Your friend Catherine Ireton had some nice thoughts on her blog regarding courage a little while ago. I think your suggestion that Bowie was “brave enough to give into (his talents) completely” gets to the heart of what courage is. I have long admired your work for appreciating and operating within the strange interconnected relationship between vulnerability and courage. Be well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Nov 11th, 2016. Observations on a new birth.
Sleevenotes – Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant
April 27th, 2016. “Sally and Sam”
Sleevenotes – The Boy With The Arab Strap
Sleevenotes – If You’re Feeling Sinister
Sleevenotes – Tigermilk
February 6th, 2016. Tense, nervous, can’t relax.
january 22nd, 2016
January 12th, 2016: “The Next Day”
September 25th, 2015. Tour report!
7 July 2015: Typical, lazy, mid-tour interview
June 29th, 2015. Let the music play on play on play on..
Friday, June 26th, 2015: A wet weekend in Bexhill-On-Sea
Porto, June 5th, 2015
Nov 8th, 2014. An interesting 36 hours or so in the life a soft rock singer.
God Help The Girl update
Oct 24, 2011
May 4th, 2011. “Irked, but only for a moment”
February 7th, 2011: Songs About Songs
Jan 19th, 2011
Jan 13th, 2011
Jan 5th, 2011
Excerpt from ‘The Celestial Cafe’
September 22, 2010
September 14, 2010. Lord Anthony
September 12, 2010