I was moved by people, particularly LGBT people, who shared that David Bowie had saved their lives. I know it sounds cheesy, but I feel the exact same way. David Bowie, the artist, saved my life through his art.
Growing up gay means you are effectively shut out of any myth that makes sense of your place in the world. In Christianity the big myth is Adam & Eve, a story that explains heterosexuality. You can take this literally–and use it to bully others–but if you’re a healthy individual, myths don’t have to carry you to that extreme, and can prove comforting. If you’re hetero and are faced with the infinite terrors of the world then I can imagine believing in that creation myth can ease your anxieties a little, even if you eventually grow out of that belief.
David Bowie–moreso than any other artist–built an origin myth for gayness, and for transness, and bi-ness. He built a myth for LGBT and the queer, and anyone that felt left out or strange. It was not a story with a meaning carried by any one album or a turn of phrase, but something that was thematically consistent throughout most of his art.
And in that way–he saved my life by giving it a myth and a soundtrack.
One of the things that drew me into his music was his embrace of the strange. If gay was strange then why not embrace it? The other thing was how honest he was about how shit the Earth could be. Bowie deals a lot with dystopias; both from the future and from the present. He didn’t say “it gets better,” he said “you can be heroes, just for one day.” There wasn’t any sort of whitewashing over the terrible situations many of us found ourselves in, which meant a lot to me being a kid from a violent part of Los Angeles.
I have a lot of strange love for the Bowie Discography, having proudly filled an iPod nano with most of his albums back when I was around 17 years old.
The discography follows wherever I go, and since I’m here I think I’d like to bring it with me.
My goal over the next several months is to devote an entry to every one of Bowie’s albums. The entries will be both about the music, Bowie, and my experiences listening to the albums. There are around 27 studio albums, but I might include some of his live stuff. I’ll skip Tin Machine because….yeah why wouldn’t I?