So this week has been pretty shit for those aged 69 who also have cancer, seeing the deaths of David Bowie on Monday and Alan Rickman on Thursday.
Both deaths struck a chord with me for a few reasons, the first being that they were pretty similar in age to my dad who also died of cancer over 4 years ago. That is to say, they were born around the same time. They were both of my Dad’s generation.
I wasn’t overly bothered about David Bowie’s passing. First and foremost, David Bowie will always be Jareth, the Goblin King because that’s where I first saw him. I can remember that trip to the cinema, 7 years old and it was my brother’s 10th birthday in February 1987. Between that, the weird intro thing he did for The Snowman and knowing my neighbour went to school with him at the nearby Ravens Wood School, David Bowie was just another musician, who happened to live fairly local to where I grew up, whose music didn’t tickle me much. It was different enough to the stuff that I disliked, so it remained in some kind of musical limbo of disinterest.
I still remain mostly indifferent with Bowie’s music, with one slight exception – his death was prefaced with the release of his final album a few days beforehand, which to the outsider looking in, looks like a hell of a goodbye to his fans. The track Lazarus is practically as close to an epitaph as you’re going to get, it’s dark, but done beautifully. I’m feeling drawn to it in the same way I was drawn to Queen’s ‘the show must go on‘, it feels very much like a goodbye / knowing the end is coming (The opening lines “Look up here, I’m in heaven, I have scars that can’t be seen” and later “this way or no way, you know I’ll be free”)
As for Alan Rickman. You can’t not like the man’s acting. A name that near guaranteed whatever you were going to sit down to watch would be at least entertaining whenever he was on screen. I can’t stop repeating stuff in his voice in my head (“Go on, admit it.. you’re doing it now too… aren’t you?”) I know a lot of people know him best for his role as Snape but I can’t honestly really remember where I got my first impression of him from (unlike Bowie’s ‘Jareth’ above) – he just simply ‘was’ – “Alan Rickman? Oh yea, he was awesome.. but I can’t remember where or what he was doing… but I’m sure he was sneering at the time and delivering a killer one-liner or put down”
The world has lost a lot of talent in the space of a week. 2016 has got a lot to answer for already.
There was another reason that both deaths struck a chord:
“So and so’s dead, you know? from the movies, you know the one… what a great actor, such a shame” Mum says.
The who / where / when is lost to the mists of time, but it fuelled a thought that would stick with me; the realisation that at some point in my life, names I recognised and names that meant something to me, would start popping up in obituaries. Yes there was the odd one or two that went early, but I lacked the full appreciation of the finality of death then, that I have now. I don’t think I’d experienced grief enough to really understand what it meant and now that I do, names I recognise, names that mean something to me are beginning to disappear and it’s only now that I can begin to sympathise with Mum.
I think this weekend’s TV time is going to be dictated by Messrs Bowie and Rickman, with Labyrinth and Robin Hood respectively.
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