Not 5 minutes after I published yesterday’s post, I went to put it on my Facebook and learned, via social media posts from friends, of David Bowie’s passing. I’m still wrapping my head around this.
My parents never listened to Bowie and, strangely, I somehow managed to be born in 1985 and NOT see Labyrinth as a young child. I wasn’t introduced to this man’s work, or that film, until I was 13. It was a former friend who finally clued me in. I used to go over to her house and we’d hang out in her computer room and play around with this Encyclopedia CD-ROM she had (I think it was Encarta?). She would pull up the article on David Bowie and listen to the snippet of the song “Changes” that accompanied it. It was this same friend that showed me Labyrinth. It was one of her favorite movies and it is how I am most familiar with David Bowie.
There is a post on Buzzfeed (forgive me!) talking about Jareth (Bowie’s character in Labyrinth) being a catalyst for the sexual awakening of many a 90’s woman. Given my age at the time of my first viewing, I suppose I would have to agree with that. And I can’t help but admit, as creepy and as wrong (so, so wrong) as that pairing is when you really think about it, that, yes…. YES! Not long after, and with that same friend, I began to explore that undiscovered realm that was boys. Backstreet Boys and N*Sync blew up within the following months and our bedrooms were plastered with pin-ups and posters. We would have sleepovers where we talked about guys we thought were cute and make out with the pictorial representation of various members of boy bands. We started to read trashy romance novels. We’d write stories and fan fiction in which we safely explored romance and sexuality.
Perhaps it is no surprise that reflecting on Bowie in this sudden call to mourning, it is largely the memory of that friend and of those parts of my childhood that come flooding into my mind. And I am saddened… saddened at the loss of such an important contributor to our cultural consciousness and saddened for people and pieces of myself that I have lost since the age of 13.