I never went to a Bowie concert. Never heard him live, never met him. Yet David Bowie was the same part of my life that he was to millions of others. I watched his videos, I listened to his music. I was entranced by the way he wove his art.
In Blackstar we see lots of images, very very Bowie like. Not always understandable, at first. But I can see lots that makes sense to me. I see lots of imagery that occurs from his entire career, his life.
Now I note that there are lots of people out there with their own take on the imagery that Bowie put out in this video. Some people have said it's based in the occult. I don't agree with this. Though David Bowie did take inspiration from the occult, from Kabbalah, even from Judaism...I think that's where it ended. I don't think he took occultism or any religion very seriously. I think I take occultism more seriously than Bowie, I offer up a pomegranate every winter for the Gods sake.
Symbolism was a big part of David Bowie's work. In the beginning of Blackstar we are seeing an astronaut very far from home. Has Major Tom landed on some other world, dying there after leaving the bounds of Earth? He got farther than anyone else ever did. Surely Major Tom did a MAJOR thing for the human race. He surpassed his tin box.
Blackstar then shows us what appears to be a woman walking toward Major Tom's corpse with an eclipsed sun in the background. On second look, however, the woman has very masculine features, a cleft chin, a strong nose. If this is a woman, it's a VERY strong woman. And the tail seems to mark them not as a woman, but as some evolved form far in the future. They walk with the assurance of a person who knows exactly what they are doing.
One of the reasons I don't like popular rap is because rap artists scream at me. I don't want people to tell me what to be, what to think, what to do. And I really hate being yelled at. I want someone like Bowie who is enticing me to think. "Look at this Linda. These people, they're shaking. What does that mean to you?"
David, people shake when they are scared. When they are so scared there is nothing left but to just stand and shake. It's almost like these people are afraid of life itself. This woman knows what she wants. She just goes and gets it. Whether the interpretation is right or wrong, I've been forced to think about it.
Holding that book up, Bowie is offering me his whole life story. "Read my story and then be free. Be free and write your own story." Bowie spent his whole life trying to be his own person. He wanted to be who he wanted to be, say what he wanted to say, do what he wanted to do.
Major Tom wound up far from home, but he escaped the boundaries of Earth. And when I see that castle, the fortress that I am positive could be nothing other than the fortress from Labyrinth, it's very nostalgic.
It is fitting, so very fitting, that when I search the BBC for news about David Bowie's album, what I see is quite possibly the best tribute of all.