• This is the only story of mine whose moral I know. I don’t think it’s a marvelous moral; I simply happen to know what it is: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut
    Mother Night

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David Bowie

Earlier today I described Bowie as “the regenerating polymorphous changeling heart of experimental glam rock, with a side of acting”. And theorised that that was a part of why perhaps the second-most common reaction I’m seeing to his passing is perhaps best encapsulated by John Scalzi’s, “Part of me genuinely believed he was an alien who would live forever. Part of me still does.

I will admit that Bowie was not important to me in the way he was for a lot of people, though the world that he helped to create is. But his death is amazing.

Because here’s my understanding of how it went down:

He learned he had terminal cancer. He swore everyone who knew to secrecy. He got a band together and spent a few months putting together an album that was, among other things, a meditation upon mortality. He released the album on his 69th birthday, along with this video. Two days later, he departed for the beautiful West, reportedly at peace.

He made of his passing a performance, a capstone. He faced Death on his own terms, and claimed what he wanted from it, and left his last words, his last images, so very, very deliberately.

Would that every person could set their own terms and uphold their bargain with mortality so well.

A thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of every good thing. May you ascend.

And when you get there, give Freddie our love.

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