Tuesday, 12 January 2016

David Bowie's death

has made headlines. 
It was the lead story on our international news service last night and his death is the front page news in the state newspaper.
"Who," asked the Senior Cat, "is David Bowie?"
I explained.
"Oh, some sort of pop star?"
I gave up.
I mean I had at least heard of David Bowie. How had he passed by and the Senior Cat never noticed him?
The Senior Cat does not like "pop" or "rock" music. He doesn't like the Beatles - although he has heard of them. He barely tolerates "The Bushwackers", "The Seekers" and "Peter, Paul and Mary" - remember them? He might remember their names and he would probably recognise some of their music - but he wouldn't be able to tell you who was singing what.
His choice of music tends more to the old music hall songs, some songs from his youth, and musicals like "My Fair Lady". He likes Mozart - the lively pieces. 
He doesn't pretend to be musical. His attempts to learn an instrument were largely a failure. My mother accused him of having two left feet. He no longer bothers to try, just smiles and shrugs it off. You have to love him for it. 
I wasn't a Bowie fan but I was aware of him there in the background of my consciousness. I was aware of him in the way I have been aware of other musicians that may not have played music I necessarily enjoyed. I know there was something about them that made a difference to the world of music - and to the world in a more general way.
It seems as if there is an inordinate amount of fuss being made about Bowie, that a lot of people are upset. I know there will be other people, perhaps mostly older people like the Senior Cat, who will find this hard to understand. 
"You didn't know him," they will say, "Why does it matter to you?"
Why shouldn't it matter though? I looked at the story and thought, "He was only a few years older than I am. He should have had more time than that. He didn't get his three score years and ten."
There is also a report in the paper this morning about the funeral of the two young boys who tragically downed at one of our beaches. They had even less time. Their parents have to live without them. Their siblings have to live without them. I didn't know them either but it matters to me.
A doctor friend in the UK tweeted that she had often grieved over the death of strangers and if that made her weak then blessed be the weak. I can only agree with her.
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."


jeanfromcornwall said...

I knew who Davie Bowie was, but was not unduly upset by his loss - except that he had been born in the same year as me - that always brings one up short. We all come to the same end.
I was, however, upset that the BBC devoted 20 minutes of a half hour bulletin to his life and works, when there was a tribute programme due half an hour later. I got another ten minutes of half an hour on the ITN but they also manage to report the arrival of UN food aid into that poor Syrian village that has been beseiged for so long. That was what I wanted to hear about!

catdownunder said...

It was much the same here. Our international news service n SBS spent more time on David Bowie than anything else. The situation in Madaya got about 30secs. I imagine it was considered "too distressing" as they said, "some viewers may find the images in this story distressing". (The Senior Cat refuses to watch the news anymore.)