A starman waiting in the sky.

It’s touching, how widely beloved David Bowie was. Of course I loved him, and my friends loved him, but lots of the stuff I like no one else does. But Bowie was apparently everyone’s favorite, including wingnuts who, if a gender-fluid, bisexual, chain-smoking weirdo were to move next door, would consider moving away or at least refuse to loan a cup of sugar.

But that’s art. It unites people.

I have no special Bowie stories. My college roommate’s father, Walter Tevis, wrote the novel “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” adapted for the movies and the role that made a pop star into an actor. She went to the premiere in New York, but I don’t recall one special thing about it, although I’m sure there was. I was especially moved by the recollections of oddballs and misfits and queer kids everywhere, who found a role model in Bowie. Tom and Lorenzo’s brief tribute was just right:

(For) these two fashion queens, David Bowie’s entire existence was a celebration of oddness; a seven-decade manifesto that taught us not only that we didn’t have to be normal if it didn’t suit us, but that the pursuit of abnormalcy in one’s life can be an aesthetic, philosophical and most importantly, moral choice with true value and rewards.

I see Jolene already posted the NYT obit in the comments yesterday, but I think they also hit the nail on the head when they identified cabaret as a big influence on Bowie’s career. Of course. I’m just grateful that I grew up in a time when I could turn on one radio station — just one! — and hear Bowie, the Beatles, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin and others, all under the umbrella of American pop music.

Folks, I’m tired tonight. It’s nearly 10 and I’m still waiting on Alan to come home. He was up at 5:30 a.m. to catch the first presser at 7. I’d already left for the gym, and Wendy was so discombobulated and insulted at having been left alone in the house, unwalked, before the sun even came up that she left a dirty bomb on the bath mat. That’ll show us!

Speaking of Wendy, Kate asked me the other day to find the story about Detroit arson that ran in the Detroit News a couple of years ago, the one that made me think I’d found Wendy’s parents. Did I mention this? Can’t recall. Long story short: I’m reading this pretty good story about Detroit’s “culture of fire,” the weird arson tradition the city has, which thrives in a place with so much standing around, waiting to burn. There was a passage that said something about a guy being awakened by his Jack Russells barking at the blazing house next door. I looked at the picture…


…and I said, “Wendy, is this mom and dad?” Of course I can’t be sure, but she was surrendered to a shelter just a few miles from this house. The dogs have the same undocked tails, brindle patches and other traits that suggest she wasn’t bred by someone who keeps horses, too. The CSS on the story is all fubar, so I dug up the pic through a separate search to file it away.

Lance Mannion reposted this blog sparked by “Spotlight” today, and it reminded me of when the events he described happened — when his little boy was struggling in Catholic school, and how the church dealt with it, by suggesting, and then requesting, and then requiring, that Lance and his wife withdraw their second grader in the middle of the year. It turned out their son had Asperger’s and a couple of other learning disabilities, and the school just couldn’t, or didn’t want to, deal with it. This happens all the time in private schools, and also in charters, so just remember that the next time someone talks about failing public schools. Because they alone can’t tell kids they have trouble teaching to go someplace else.

Young Mannion is fine today, and enrolled in college.

Well, hey, whaddaya know — it’s 10:30 and Alan just got home. Signing off and see you tomorrow.

Posted at 12:25 am in Popculch |

30 responses to “A starman waiting in the sky.”

  1. Crazycatlady said on January 12, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Bowie made weirdos and freaks feel not so alone. For that, we are grateful.

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  2. Dexter said on January 12, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Elvis was on Sullivan when I was six years old; I remember the ‘rents discussing the shaking thing but it meant little , then when I was the perfect age, The Beatles changed everything and I was into it…the entire trip, the albums, the obsession with the songs running through my head in school…Christ, I had a Beatle Wig, a Japanese-made facsimile of a wig that dime stores sold. The British Invasion consumed me , as I bought The Kinks, The DC5, every Stones record, even The Searchers and Peter and Gordon and all the rest…such as Gerry Marsden’s group, which I saw in Fort Wayne.
    Metal became a big thing for me when I heard In a godda da vida. Then Floyd got to me. During army daze, CSN&Y, Jethro Tull, Traffic (when Mason was there especially) . Just before all this, Bowie arrived on the scene. Now, in small-town America, Midwest USA, you were going to get you ass kicked if you were a boy and you wore orange hair and lipstick and you walked around in a dress as Bowie did in London when he was 12. None of us could identify androgyny anyway.
    Jumping ahead to 1974 when Jagger was on the cover of that Stones album in that veil, made up to look gay or androgynous, and the mags told us he was sleeping with Bowie…we didn’t know what to make of it…but things were changing then.
    Bowie was in the fire for being queer way before Elton John (who told the press, after denial of years, that he was bi, had “experimented” with sex with men, but he truly loved women best…all lies, but who cared? Bowie…man, that cat was definitely the strange kid who came out of all his personal shit, the beatings, the harassment (for just being different), and became a rock star of great magnitude, a movie star, a fashion idol, and this skinny kid from London became the man all the boys and girls wanted to emulate…well, certain type of rockin’ kids, not jocks and ruffians like me. I was not a huge Bowie fan but I loved the songs I heard, and though some tributes yesterday were rife with tunes I never had in my queue, it all sounded good. I understand the weeping, shocked call-ins I heard on the radio, because I was like that when John was assassinated and later when George passed from cancer. These Bowie fans are passionate, and that’s what life is really about and for…whatever it is, get involved, have something you can cling to in troubled times.

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  3. David Kirk said on January 12, 2016 at 6:04 am

    I’m not really in to all of the tributes but this one is wonderful. https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/videos/1043455372414183/?pnref=story.unseen-section

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 12, 2016 at 7:01 am

    If Danny’s still out there, I know he and many of you will enjoy this tribute to David Bowie from Rick Wakeman:


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  5. alex said on January 12, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Yesterday on Youtube I found a ’70s appearance by Bowie on SNL, which was when he first came into my awareness. It also gave an explanation for how he used a blue screen to make it appear that his head was on top of the body of a dancing marionette, which I remembered about the show more than the music.

    Freddie Mercury was another one who made queerness cool. Or at least it didn’t hurt his record sales any.

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  6. Suzanne said on January 12, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Two things that have amazed me in the past 24 hours. Finding out that Bowie was married to Iman the super model and that Rupert Mudoch is now engaged to Jerry Hall, Mick Jagger’s ex.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on January 12, 2016 at 8:44 am

    The first I knew, and since I saw the second I can’t stop with the ptuey. Of course who would have recognized her? Ptuey!

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  8. Peter said on January 12, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I know I’m going to sound like the guy who complained that 2000 was the end of the last millennium, not the start of the new one, but – why are people saying that tonight’s State of the Union speech is Obama’s last? He’s got one more year to go, and isn’t the last one done the week before they go out the door? I mean. Eisenhower’s warning about the military industrial complex was done at his last state of the union address….

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  9. Jeff Borden said on January 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I hope I can muster the dignity to die quietly and privately like Bowie. His last act was just as impressive as all those that went before it.

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  10. zonecharlie said on January 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Poor Mick Jagger. First his friend Bowie dies. Then his ex wife is swallowed by the ugly, gaping maw of death.

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  11. Lance Mannion said on January 12, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Peter, George W. Bush gave his last State of the Union address in January 2008 and President Obama gave his first in January 2010. So there was no address in 2009. Bill Clinton gave his last address in 2000 and Bush gave his first in 2001. Clinton didn’t give his first address until 1994. But George H.W. Bush gave his last in 1992. I don’t know if it’s a longstanding tradition but it looks like outgoing Presidents deliver their last State of the Union give their last address at the beginning of their final year in office.

    Thanks for the link, Nance.

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  12. Judybusy said on January 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Our cool Minnesota Public Radio “alternative” music station, The Current, began playing Bowie’s albums in chronological order at noon. My wife is a big fan, so she hung out and listened to that last evening. One of her biggest regrets was not being able to see him in concert. I got the 1967 movie of Far from the Madding Crowd, so I watched most of that; it’s very long so I’ll finish tonight.

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  13. Deborah said on January 12, 2016 at 10:29 am

    OK, I finally finished the Sean Penn, Rolling Stone piece. I didn’t think it was so bad, but then what do I know. It took me over a 24 hour period to finally read it all, I read it a bit at a time. It’s mostly about Sean Penn and his machinations to get the interview, which I found interesting in itself. I didn’t find the writing bad, just self serving.

    Lance Mannion, I found the link very interesting, I used to read the blog regularly and for some reason stopped. That link reminded me to go back and read more often. Having a daughter with neurological issues I can relate. She had some problems in first grade that surfaced and from time to time after that, but the full extent didn’t surface for her until college. She managed to compensate for herself until then, it finally got overwhelming for her and that’s when we we started to find out what was going on. Finally when she was 24 and had been tested by a neuropsychologist we had our answers.

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  14. Sue said on January 12, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I always respected Bowie more than liked him, but as Charlie Pierce said yesterday, what I liked, I really liked. I remember seeing him in that skirt outfit and thinking Oh, ok. It just seemed so normal, even that long ago.
    Yesterday Charlotte posted the Tilda Swinton video, here’s one of my faves. So cool, so bizarre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPVrFIP0CMs

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  15. Danny said on January 12, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Jeff, thanks! And I know basset will enjoy that too. He and I shared some Yes bootlegs many moons ago.

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  16. Bill said on January 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

    My wife and I saw Bowie in Elephant Man at the Chicago’s Blackstone Theater in 1980. We both remember the physicality of his performance. More on Bowie/Elephant man:

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  17. Danny said on January 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

    After work last night, I stopped past my local watering hole/sports bar and my friends and I had Bowie queued up the entire time against the backdrop of the NCAA football national championship game. They have this new-fangled jukebox that is smartphone app enabled (through Touchtunes). Very fun for sharing favorite songs with one another.

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  18. Carter Cleland said on January 12, 2016 at 11:53 am

    A nice note my brother sent me back in the late 70’s. http://tinyurl.com/hptj9hh

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  19. basset said on January 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Danny, I sure did… and there’s a link to an entire ABWH show on the presenter’s page, too. I have a hat just like the one RW is wearing in that interview, kinda doubt he got his at Tractor Supply in Hohenwald, Tennessee, though.

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  20. Scout said on January 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Ziggy Stardust was one of those albums I played until I wore it out and then bought another. I know it by heart and although I liked all of Bowie’s music and own most of it, Ziggy is in a class by itself. “Hey that’s far out, so you heard him too…”

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  21. Dexter said on January 12, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    alex…as obvious as it was to the world, Freddie always denied his queerness.
    Brian May, genius lead guitar man of Queen and now Queen + Adam Lambert, is quite a character; he builds his own guitars and has some really reaching ideas of civilization…on his web page, he tells how Queen and Bowie wrote “Under Pressure”.

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  22. Jolene said on January 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Dexter, the story of how Queen and David Bowie wrote “Under Pressure” is fascinating. I’ve heard other stories in which the lyrics of a song were written after somebody generated a tune. That’s always amazed me. As a “word person,” I’d think a person would write a song because because he or she had something to say and that the music would be written to drive that message. The idea that the music comes first and the words could be more or less anything is, to me, mind-boggling.

    Anyone know how common either approach is? I wonder especially about such people as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, whose lyrics are very message-laden.

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  23. Sherri said on January 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I found this article interesting in providing a little more historical context on Cliven Bundy and why he racked up such a bill for grazing. Hint: it’s not just grazing fees.


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  24. brian stouder said on January 12, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Sherri – an excellent article, indeed!

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  25. Deborah said on January 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    I agree with Brian, great link Sherri. Explains a lot.

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  26. Deborah said on January 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    We’re making spaghetti squash right now, Little Bird just cut it in half with a serrated knife, it still took a lot of strength, I couldn’t have done it. She made a ground turkey tomato sauce for it yesterday, can’t wait to eat!

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  27. susan said on January 12, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Sherri- This makes me so furious…at the Feds, who are doing squat to arrest these assholes for what they are and what they are doing. They are vandals, thugs, and terrorists, because they are terrorizing Federal employees and local people, and destroying public property. I’m hoping for groups of citizens who care about our government and wild lands and wildlife to organize, travel to Malheur, and move right in on those fuckers. Why the FBI et al are not doing anything is just shocking. As is the all too common refrain these days, “If this were a group of non-white people…”

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  28. Bill said on January 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Watching the State of the Union address. I’m so proud of our president. I don’t understand how he can be so reviled.

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  29. Sue said on January 12, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    It might be too late for anyone to see this before another posting, but … I am so filled with regret. I don’t know how I never thought to have butterfly dancers perform an hour-long durational dance at my daughter’s wedding. Shit. You always miss something, I know, but how could I have forgotten something so OBVIOUS? http://www.vogue.com/13384686/weddings-lauren-schwab-bobby-webster-east-hampton-longhouse-reserve/

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  30. susan said on January 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    The Malheur Patriots are such ingrates and whiny ass titty babies. They do not appreciate all the supplies people are sending them, and this, after they appealed for more supplies. Ritzheimer, in particular, does not appreciate the salted dicks someone sent to him. Ha ha ha ha!

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