Wednesday 21 February 2018

The boy keeps swinging ­swinging on a star now

Barry Egan recalls ­meeting David ­Bowie - the star who has generations of music fans ­mourning his death from cancer

In a 2003 interview, David Bowie said he felt "bitterly angry that I won't be doing this for the rest of eternity". Most of us would like to think of him now - like drugged-up astronaut Major Tom - floating "in a most peculiar way", "far above the world", where "planet Earth is blue" . . . and "the stars look very different today".

Last Monday, when Bowie died, the world seemed suddenly like a very different place. Tony Parsons got it right when he said in an online post on British GQ that "four or five generations are in mourning for him today. Other stars - all other stars - speak to and for their own generation. David Bowie's influence ranged across almost half a century. They say that Elvis gave rock and roll a body and Dylan gave the music a brain. David Bowie gave the music a blood transfusion and a brain transplant just at the point when it was dying from exhaustion."

In perhaps a dig at her ex husband, Julie Burchill blogged on The Spectator website that "My lack of feeling is, perhaps, a late-flowering fastidiousness which feels somewhat repelled by the flood of sob signalling which takes place on social media whenever a famous person dies. And a revulsion with a sub-section of my fellow hacks who - for a fee - will say something even if they have nothing worth saying. For every Suzanne Moore - who produced a small, perfectly-performed elegy within hours - I knew that there would be a hundred old bores from the dear dead music press who would crawl out of the woodwork just to put up photos of themselves with the Great Man, in the most distasteful groupie fashion. Hearse-chasing is such a bad look."

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