Saying No but Meaning Yes

Philosopher and lifelong fan Simon Critchley remembers Bowie in the aftermath of his sudden passing.

Illustration by Eric Hanson



From Bowie:

ON THE TITLE TRACK OF BLACKSTAR, RELEASED just a couple of days before his death, Bowie sings “I’m not a pop star.” For me, and for his millions of fans, he was much more than that. He was someone who simply made us feel alive. This is what makes his death so hard to take.

As the years passed, Bowie’s survival became more and more important to me. He continued. He endured. He kept going. He kept making his art. Bowie exerted a massive aesthetic discipline, created and survived. Indeed, survival became a theme of his art. Bowie’s death just feels wrong. How can we go on without him?

Bowie incarnated a world of unknown pleasures and sparkling intelligence. He offered an escape route from the suburban hellholes that we inhabited. Bowie spoke most eloquently to the disaffected, to those who didn’t feel right in their skin, the socially awkward, the alienated. He spoke tot he weirdos, the freaks, the outsiders and drew us in to an extraordinary intimacy, reaching each of us individually, although we knew this was a total fantasy. But to make no mistake, this was a love story. A love story that, in my case, has lasted about forty-four years.


bowie cover

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