Outside of the election and Zika, the death of David Bowie has to be one of the top news stories of 2016. It was so surprising given the release of a new album, new music video, and a general buzz of activity around his persona. It was a major loss to active and passive fans. Everyone knew David Bowie.
Not everyone was a mega fan, though. I make no claims to have exhausted his catalogue nor do I really think any my age was able to grasp him outside of Labyrinth and some songs you probably heard in Urban Outfitters. (An exaggeration, I am aware.) He was just universally cool and to be respected. We all know that.
What’s most striking about his death is that it’s only been met with sadness because no one has anything bad to say about him: he was a good dude. He was a great friend and very honest artist. You can’t diss him. There was nothing to dish!
If you did want to talk shit on him, you’d talk the good talk. For example: his will has recently surfaced and he’s giving all his money away to not-just-his-family. Jezebel explains, in what others outside of his wife Iman will be getting:
His children, son Duncan and teenage daughter Alexandria, will get 25% of the estate. Bowie’s will also leaves Alexandria the family’s mountain home in Ulster County, New York. Alexandria, 15, will receive her portion on her 25th birthday. In addition to his family, Bowie also left $1 million to Marion Skene, son Duncan’s childhood nanny. Corinne “Coco” Schwab, Bowie’s personal assistant and confidante, will receive $2 million.
He fucking left millions to the family’s nanny and personal assistant? Are you kidding me? That is the ultimate good dude thing to do. Yes, this probably happens a lot but—as a former assistant and as someone who is good friends with many persons who were assistants to very high powered people—you never imagine yourself to be in “your boss’ will” because they don’t fucking care about you. They very rarely stop to thank you or stop to do anything outside of check to see if they have something they need to do or reprimand you for missing something they knew about but forgot about. You don’t even wonder, “Huh…am I in this person’s will? Does this person care about me beyond this job?” High powered people are more likely to give more respect to their dogs than give their assistant’s a proper due.
Granted, Coco was probably tight with Bowie for decades and assisted him through a lot: this is not to diminish Coco’s work. (Or Marion for that matter.) It only illustrates that Bowie was beyond human and beyond celebrity, this person who actually cared about more than himself. He was beyond the material and the selfish and he spread the joy in so many different ways. Can we all be like that? Not just celebrities: everyone. That’d be cool.
If anyone out there is a historian or big fan, here’s a free idea: write some book to the effect of The Zen Of Bowie or Ziggy Zen or Zowie Zen Bowie to inspire people to be more like him.