I usually don’t cover music. I love it, I listen to it and it’s a huge part of my life, but I don’t write about it. Today there wasn’t really a choice. The news came in late Sunday that David Bowie had passed away from cancer at the age of 69. Celebrity deaths happen all the time, and those of musicians are often not a surprise. Scott Weiland, sad as that was, didn’t exactly come as a shock after his years of drug addiction. David Bowie, though, he’s immortal. He’s the Goblin King. How is it possible that he’s gone?
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I was thinking about why this one hit me so hard — and from social media, it seems like I’m not the only one to find this more devastating than the average celebrity passing. I came to this conclusion: He was a weirdo. He was odd. He wasn’t what anyone expected him to be. He was one of us.
So, why is a geek reporter covering music today? It’s because many of us have felt the same. We feel weird. We like things other people don’t. (Well, now everyone likes it, but geek hasn’t been chic for all that long.) We feel “off.” Sometimes people don’t know how to react to us.
Bowie cosplayed. He dressed up in strange costumes and created alter-egos. He became Ziggy Stardust, and then The Thin White Duke. He created a super-weird video game that had sex shops and demons. (It’s “Omikron: The Nomad Soul,” if you’re interested.) He wrote music about space (which pretty much ensured that I’d have space phobia forever). He made grand gestures like putting out an album as a final goodbye to his fans with lyrics we’ll be dissecting for years. He was dramatic. He lived differently. He was special.
I sometimes think that, as geeks, we love the things we love because they stand out from the normal, mundane world. They make us matter in some way. They make us feel like we won’t fade into the background of day-to-day life and bills and kids and mortgages. Being weird means we were here.
All hail the Goblin King. Rest in peace.