David Bowie — one of the world’s most prolific entertainers — took his place in the sky like the true star he was on 10 January 2016.
The south London native succumbed to cancer at the age of 69 after battling the illness in secret for 18 months.
Fans around the world have been paying emotional tribute to the the singer via social media and an impromptu sing-along outside Brixton’s Ritzy cinema.
The most poignant thing said of the performer who had a career spanning five decades was: “He is not someone you expect to die. You expect him to keep regenerating like Dr Who and live forever.”
Bowie’s ability to “regenerate” himself over the years is what has truly set him aside from many of his contemporaries. While others were trying to conform to mainstream sensibilities, he totally subverted the notion of gender,sexuality, self expressionism and what it meant to be a “pop star” in the early 1970s.
Artists as diverse as Kanye West and Madonna have paid homage to the trailblazer, recognising they are treading a path of creative free reign which had been cut by him and others of his elk long before their foray into the industry.
The interesting thing about Bowie is that it wasn’t just his onstage personas and outfits that evolved. While being on record as saying Britain could do with a facist leader and praising Adolf Hitler for being a “true rockstar”, he famously tackled MTV for their lack of diversity and became a staunch anti fascism and racism campaigner.
Whether you would class yourself as a fan of his or not, it is hard to deny his ability to colour outside the lines in a time where the mainstream hegemony was attempting to keep people firmly within the monochrome boxes it had created.
David Bowie 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016
My favourite Bowie track