Gotta say, this comes as something of a surprise.
When I first read the news of musician and actor David Bowie's passing over the weekend, the first thing that started going on in my head was that I should do a special video episode of my show on the matter, complete with this whole big thing about how things like this make a person really think about one's mortality and the like. As the day went on, and perhaps more importantly, because I came home from work, I realized that it might be wiser if I saved the crappy philosophizing for my podcast tomorrow night and just gave some thoughts on Bowie's passing itself.
Here's the thing about David Bowie and his work. I know the man was influential in the entertainment industry. I seriously doubt if there are terribly many musical acts out there right now that have escaped Bowie's influence. Granted, that influence may not be obvious or intentional in a lot of cases, but it's there all the same. Kind of a Six Degrees Of Separation thing. And I would not be surprised at all if modern fantasy films would be what they are without the ones that came out in the 1980's, including one called Labyrinth, which starred Bowie as the villain of the film, the Goblin King.
But here's kind of a goofy thing, really. There are only two things I can think of when I think of David Bowie. One is his role in Labyrinth, which I mentioned above. The other is a song that I've always known as Major Tom, but is correctly titled as Space Oddity, about an astronaut on an apparently ill-fated space mission.
What makes all that goofy is that I've only seen Labyrinth once that I can remember, and that one time was with my parents, sometime in the mid- to late 80s, just after the movie came out on VHS, which was still kind of a big thing at the time, and on top of that, the whole Major Tom thing comes from the fact that I'm more familiar with the expanded cover Peter Shilling did of the original song in the early 80s.
In spite of my lack of direct knowledge of Bowie's work, I am still aware of his influence on modern entertainment. I've made reference to it once here, or at least once knowingly. That was in an issue of my Final Fantasy 6 Text Play, where the moogle character Mog joins the party. I titled that issue Dance Magic Dance on account of Bowie's performance of a song on the subject, which also happened to be Mog's special ability.
Perhaps a better tribute to Bowie might be Justin Carmichael's character in the Channel Awesome movie Suburban Knights, which was a direct parody of Bowie's character in Labyrinth.
Really, though, David Bowie's contributions to the world have been big, and I really should make myself more familiar with them. Perhaps I would come across as less of a dunce if I actually educated myself a little more on these things.
Farewell, David Bowie. You will be missed, even by those of us who didn't know you as well as we should have.