Back in the early 80s, my then boyfriend and I were walking through Covent Garden when he told me that we were in a street where, a few weeks earlier, a friend of his had seen David Bowie.
I couldn’t get my head round it. I just couldn’t imagine David Bowie doing anything as prosaic as walking down the street.
Whilst he was very clearly flesh and blood, he also seemed to be from another world. Universe even. An artist so great that he transcended even his own music.
Like most people of my age, I’ve been listening to and looking at Bowie since I was a young teenager. I don’t think I’ll ever forget just how gobsmacking it was to see him on Top of The Pops, doing Starman. Or the time that I helped my friend Andrea shave off her eyebrows in homage to Ziggy. We used her Mum’s Immac, and her brow became so red and angry that we abandoned the task halfway through. Andrea walked around with one eyebrow for quite some time, I remember.
But it wasn’t until the V & A’s wonderful ‘Bowie Is…’ exhibition a couple of years ago that I understood that his Ziggy Stardust costumes, which he designed with Freddie Burretti, though inspired by A Clockwork Orange, were made from Liberty fabric, like my shirts. I believe he described them as ‘ultraviolence meets Liberty print’.
But anyway, when the radio alarm went off this morning, I discovered that David Bowie was only mortal after all.
That’s sad. Very sad. RIP.