When I was 14, one of my classmates launched a survey at our all-girls high school. Her question was simple: “If you were Sarah, would you have stayed with Jareth at the end of Labyrinth?” Apart from the girls who screwed up their faces with confusion and asked “What’s Labyrinth?”, about 80% of respondents said “Yes”.
Part of this result undoubtedly stemmed from the fact that we were 14 and didn’t yet understand that Labyrinth is basically a kid-level analogy of an abusive relationship. But mostly it came from the fact that David Bowie brought on puberty for a great many girls my age, and was possibly the first person to puncture our consciousness with some very intriguing tights. It didn’t matter that he wanted to rule us. We only had half an ear in that speech anyway. We were mostly listening to the tights.
Some thought the wardrobe was maybe inappropriate for a movie aimed at little girls. I’m convinced they were never, in fact, themselves a little girl. It was much more a promise of adventure than a threat. It was beautiful. And it was OURS.
When my (now) husband suggested we choose ‘As the World Falls Down’ for the first dance at our wedding, I couldn’t do it. I needed it to be a song that had no history for me as of yet, and (despite being older now, and understanding that movie much better) there’d already been too many times where David was dancing with me in that crystal ballroom. In a weird way, I said no to the song because it would have felt like cheating on him.
I’m sure David had a similar effect on multiple generations of girls, and boys. What’s more, it always seemed so effortless for him. There was never a time when he wasn’t cool. Even in the 80s. Even in that wig. That’s a level of charisma that could alter continents.
And this is all why learning tonight that we’ve lost him… it gives everyone pause. Reading that headline on this screen made me stop my conversation mid-sentence. Afterwards, I couldn’t remember anything that we were talking about. Everything is just… gone.
He was literally just here. He put out an album on Friday! An old friend and I were chatting about it yesterday. It’s not fair!
… “You say that so often… I wonder what your basis of comparison is.”
And there he is again. As much with me as indeed he ever was. Just a voice. A face. A beautiful man in motion…
It’s not fair.