I've written about it before. Such a huge part of my life has been spent driving around Winnipeg, rather aimlessly, while listening to classic rock. Despite lack of apparent purpose, it was never wasted time though. In retrospect, it is those seemingly unexceptional moments, with friends or just my thoughts, that I now reflect upon wistfully. There's magic in the mundane. The quiet hours contain the essence of what life is all about.
David Bowie was a massive part of the soundtrack for those moments. I first heard about him when I was a wee kid growing up in the eighties. My mother was in love with him (as she should have been; he was quite regal) and would often blast "Let's Dance" while tackling housework. I would be on the floor, creating yet another mess with my toys, fully cognizant at that young age that the song was really good, at least from an instrumental perspective. I was too young to understand the lyrical content.
Bowie wasn't really part of my high school experience. Classmates seeking an icon to emulate flocked to Jim Morrison, while I bopped to the Spice Girls. But my college and post-college life were filled with his genius. A close friend with much more cred and much less embarrassing titles in his music library introduced me to musicians that went beyond the ego of pop culture and embraced genuine artistry. Bowie, of course, lived this. It was eye-opening for me. The depth of verse. The primal desire to create. The willingness to expose and be exposed. To innovate. To try. Bowie did all of these things. His legend was mesmerizing when he was alive. And now he becomes one of those figureheads of history that we feel privileged to have witnessed in real time. Those long drives down Portage Avenue, through Transcona and beyond listening to his vast catalogue were not wasted hours but a study of this philosophy.
It is rare the artist a generation grows with; even rarer the artist that several generations can claim to be influenced by and share our lives in symmetry with.
Some people are just born to be.