Monday, January 11, 2016
Put on Your Red Shoes
I once served a guy a draught beer at a bar I worked at in my twenties and when I set the frothy cold glass down in front of him he gave me an unusually wide smile and held his face in that position like a mad man clearly trying to get my attention. I was slightly unnerved by his behaviour and then he ran his tongue over the tooth to the right of his two front teeth and said, "you, me, Cher and David Bowie". That's when the light came on and I realized he was referring to our "fangs". Not exactly a fang, but a slightly crooked, protruding tooth that the four of us shared. I thought it was great that he took such a positive approach to our common flaw. Shit, if Cher and Bowie with all their money never bothered to fix their fangs, maybe it was kind of cool after all.
Somehow knowing that even David Bowie likely got food caught in his "fang" (soft white bread comes to mind), created some sort of weird kinship between me and him thereafter. I had always liked his music, we shared the same initials and he was a Capricorn just like me, always appearing on all those "fellow Capricorn" lists that seem to pop up all the time. He probably even knew that he had to face cameras in a certain way to avoid accentuating the imperfect tooth. As I scrolled through countless photos on line of him today, I noticed that depending on the angle, his teeth either looked nearly perfect or the "fang" stood out like dog's balls. I noticed that in later photos it seems to have disappeared completely so it looks like he eventually did have it fixed (hmmm, maybe it's not too late for me either).
That however is really only a silly lead in to what I want to say today which is how profoundly sad I am that he has passed. I am no doubt not alone with these feelings and I bet there are few Bowie fans out there today who are not spinning some of his old records today. Before I sat down to write this, I did a private little tribute dance in my living room which conjured up soooo many memories of days gone by that my brain could barely slow up enough to really drink in each past moment. Bouncing up the aisle at work, dance floors all across Canada, cleaning my apartment on a Saturday afternoon, sober, drunk, you name it, I was moving my body.
I was reminded in a Facebook message from my dear old friend Heather how we loved Let's Dance, a song that we heard nearly every shift we worked together at the old Hargrave Exchange. It was on the reel to reel tape that played over and over night after night. I recall there was some criticism of Bowie going "all disco" with that song, but I loved it anyway and it always made me want to do exactly that...dance! If I was beginning to slump half way through a busy night, that song could pick me up like no other, even if I wasn't wearing red shoes.
His music has always been able to stir me emotionally. When I hear him sing Under Pressure with Freddie Mercury and he sings that last verse, something inside me feels like it is going to burst out of my chest. When music and lyrics can impact you like that, it's powerful and meaningful and important. It's art. It's poetry as therapy.
Just as his music is loved by millions, the sadness of his death will be felt by millions more.
So, today as he passes from Ashes to Ashes, barely making it to his Golden Years, his Fame illuminated brighter than ever, take a moment, pay tribute and listen to Heroes or Modern Love or Fashion or Changes or China Girl or Rebel Rebel - pick any song and LET'S DANCE!