David Bowie 1947 - 2016
On Halloween we went to a Ru Paul’s Drag Race night. We took care with our costumes – the right level of taste and glitz and contouring. People danced with each other, groups of friends leading others to the main stage, praising outfits, winking; we danced all night. One of the last costume changes saw Sharon Needles come onstage in full David Bowie getup, man dressed as woman dressed as man. The place went wild, then sort of teary; I bawled into my gin. This was Ziggy, and so much of what we were here to celebrate was possible thanks to him. The room was packed with people who used to be the odd ones out, and now hundreds of odd ones out of any, all or no sexual/gender identity were packing the rafters to celebrate that difference, that symposium of irregularity.
Born in Brixton 69 years and two days ago, Bowie offered new possibilities for what pop music ought to be, fusing glam rock, theatre, intellect and the simple idea that labels don’t and shouldn’t matter. His last album was released on Friday – present until the last, he was truly the best, the freakiest show. It’s fitting that his birthplace marks the first London street to be lit up by electricity: he was an alien, a space-thing, something entirely shining and bright.