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I expect that a number of people I know will feel I'm being remiss if I don't make mention of the fact that today is David Bowie's 65th birthday, so I guess I'll add this entry to the million and two tributes that are being posted all over the blogosphere today. To say that his music has had an impact on me is quite an understatement, rather I would suggest that his music has been an influence and an inspiration for much of who and what I am today.
Growing up in the 80s (that long ago fairy tale age before the internet, when music came out on big vinyl things called records and you had to watch television to see videos), Bowie's catalog of work was a constant source of magic, wonder, and discovery, and in the confusion and angst and existential torment of adolescence (and beyond), his songs were a constant companion to me, more so than any others, assuring me that there were beautiful and wonderful things that existed beyond what I knew. Most of all, I learned that it's okay to be different and strange and kind of a little off kilter. David Bowie taught me not to be afraid of who I am.
As I look back upon the years I'm hard pressed to think of a time in my life when his music hasn't been part of my personal soundtrack, when his songs weren't associated in some way with what I was doing, who I was with, what I was feeling at the time. I expect that many of you feel the same way.
So take a minute today and appreciate how awesome David Bowie is, and how much he's influenced all of us in one way or another. Maybe the first single you ever bought was "Let's Dance", or maybe you had a sexual awakening watching Labyrinth (I have personal accounts from twelve of you on my friend's list..). Maybe you learned a little bit more about art and culture and literature listening to his lyrics, or maybe you were inspired to become a musician yourself because you thought "Ashes to Ashes" was the best song ever written (it is by the way). Maybe you painted your face with a lightning bolt, or maybe you were a HUGE fan of Tin Machine (I guess it could happen). Maybe you don't even know who David Bowie is, but you're a fan of any one of a million musicians that look to him as their musical inspiration, the person who made them realize what they wanted to do. Maybe you just think that "Ziggy Stardust" song is pretty cool.
Whatever your connection to Bowie is, take a moment to appreciate it, and think about how much of a better place your world is for having it.
Happy David Bowie Birthday to You.
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