Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Theatre of Life

I’ve been a little bit lost for words this week. David Bowie meant so much to so many of us, every time I attempted to express my thoughts, words just felt inadequate. Even writing this now, several days on from news of his death (from liver cancer), it all feels a little bit surreal. But of course, like so many before him, his death has rather brought him back to life in a pop culture sense. Social media, and indeed, mainstream media, is awash with tributes; his life is being discussed, his music is being played and shared, his films are being watched, and so many brilliant photos and images of the man have emerged or resurfaced. On my own social media newsfeed, one of the best tributes I read came from a longtime friend of everythingsgonegreen, London-based Glaswegian Paul Colvin, a political activist and poet, and a man who clearly has a passion for all things David Bowie … thank you Paul for allowing me to share your words:

This is about a man whose music and style meant so much to me and so many others who witnessed Ziggy Stardust, who loved his music then and still do now. I wouldn't even have considered paying a tribute to a genius like David Bowie but I woke this morning, sat bolt upright in bed and wrote this at 4.45am. I hope I have done him a little bit of justice.
For Bowie fans. 12 January 2016.

A Theatre of Life

Who do we thank for the wonderful times?
 And which one do you thank for the rock’n’roll crimes?
 Where the sailors and lawmen link hands with the sadmen
 And the smiling asylum laughed at all the madmen
 You sang of a whore who fell to the floor
 And with an explosion of colour you crashed through our doors
 You were so many people in so many times
 With so many words sung aloud in your mimes
 The spaceman who posed in ridiculous garb
 Whose sharpness pierced hearts with a lyrical barb
 A lad who was mad yet the sanest of all
 You lived life to the full in a choreographed ball
 Your width of a circle was a world that was flat
 Where you danced with the strangers in your satin and tat
 And the pavement was heaven where creatures once roamed
 Where the ashes of genies were swept up by gnomes
 But a duke came to warn us, so thin and so white
 That a spaceship of spiders from Mars was in sight
 They watched China danced slowly in your colourful eyes
 And at a free festival, children, were all in disguise
 And the heroes you swam with were all suffragettes
 As you pulled on your fingers for a long cigarette
 We were all pretty things you would not cast aside
 Your festival’s memories was one magical ride
 Where diamond dogs glittered in your stations of life
 You came as a hero to erase all our strife
 Lay low now dear Lazarus, you’re in heaven and free
 We all came as strangers but as friends we can leave
 His name was always Buddy, a crack’d actor now gone
 But we still have his music so let’s dance until dawn
 And every mountain that passes a free flying cloud
 Will hear through the rainbows, his music so loud
 With a bizarre gift of beauty he reached to mankind
 And on the world’s greatest stage he played to our minds
 But our world was full of plastic grooves that circled in our heads
 And the thought of what went on in there filled them all with dread
 It was one vivid circus full of actors and clowns
 It’s a pity their master’s no longer around
 We will always remember a star that was born
 The starman was Ziggy, a genius forlorn
Paul Colvin is very passionate about his Scottish roots and is very active in the ongoing campaign for Scottish independence, or his homeland’s freedom from the shackles of Westminster tyranny, as he would doubtlessly put it. Paul has had two books of poetry published on that subject (and wider political and social commentary), ‘Poems For An Independent Scotland’ (click here), and ‘Are You Yes Yet?’ (which has just been published).

1 comment:

  1. my good friend Porky over at has contacted me to point out the irony - given Paul's stance on an independent Scotland - that during the time of the independence referendum, or the yes/no vote, David Bowie himself made a plea for unity. In other words, as much as Paul clearly loved the Thin White Duke, their politics were rather at odds.