Today is January 8, 2012, and this is the day David Bowie turned 65 years old. For those of us who have been listening to his music for decades, this is a sobering thought. Mortality, something that seemed so far away even just a few years ago, is now a concept that seems much more concrete. 65 years old: Grandpa Bowie.
Putting aside his wonderful and prolific musical career, David Bowie has also been an actor with an impressive resume. Among his many roles, he’s been John the doomed vampire in The Hunger, Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth, Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, and the voice of Lord Royal Highness in Spongebob Squarepants. His distinct appearance (his eyes appear to have different colors, though really one is permanently dilated from an injury suffered while fighting over a girl) bring a sense of otherness to his roles. Bowie also dabbled in gaming, involving himself in the storyline, game design process, soundtrack, and acting in Omikron: The Nomad Soul, which was released in both Windows and Dreamcast format.
He’s had a great life. Married to Iman (who played the hot shapechanger in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), with talented children (his son directed Moon, a movie I enjoyed very much), a string of hit songs and a successful acting career, David Bowie is a man who reached for the brass ring and kept it clutched tightly to his chest. And although I wish him a Happy Birthday (and laboring under absolutely no illusions that he will ever receive my well-wishes), I cannot stop thinking this one thought: David Bowie is 65 years old; where did the time go?
It’s odd what the individual triggers are that set us on paths of somewhat melancholic reflections of our own mortality. I can’t say that I’ve followed any individual performer or artist with any sense of fanaticism, and couldn’t tell you any details that might be found by a thorough perusal of any of the gossip periodicals that can be found in the narrow aisles at the supermarket checkout. Yet the fact that David Bowie turned 65 today has impacted with the force of a falling Sputnik satellite. Somehow I’ve gotten older. When did that happen?
Ending a blog entry with a morose outlook is not my style, so let me leave with an answer from the birthday boy himself: “Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.” Indeed.