Dear Starman, is there hope for the future of British music?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 • Liverpool Arts Society

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It has been a lot colder these past few days, don’t you think? I don’t know whether that is due to climate change or the fact that we lost another star on Sunday evening, I haven’t been watching the weather you see. Planet Earth is now “Bowie-Less”, yes, “Bowie-Less”.

This man was truly ahead of his time, with his thought-provoking lyrics and outfits. Art met rock and roll and fashion which all came together in records that made you dance, Bowie was the complete artist. Releasing his 25th album this week was his parting gift to a world he has helped to shape. An incredible career spanning over 40 years in not only music but also art and film, this “being” was nothing short of an inspiration to the likes of myself.

Unfortunately the day Bowie passed, I turned twenty three. Now you can comment and say things like, “Twenty three years old, you don’t know Bowie!” And you’d probably be right. To be honest, my first encounter with Bowie was through a ‘Peter and the Wolf’ audiobook that he narrated alongside a Sergei Prokofiev composition. If I’m totally honest with you, I hated that. It terrified me. The sound of Bowie’s voice accompanied by an orchestra would give me sleepless nights for years. I agree I never lived through his glory days but I was brought up in a household where his music echoes even when the house is empty. To this day after a few glasses of wine on a Sunday afternoon at the dinner table my mum still claims “Bowie was my life!” and then either swills or lashes out at my dad for being a Bryan Ferry fan. Apparently you were one or the other.

But comments aside, this is not a blog about my devoted admiration for Bowie or how he changed my life and how I haven’t left my bed since I heard the news (I haven’t like but we’ll put that down to a hangover and some serious life choices) This is simply me questioning the current state of music and performers. What does the future hold for British music? As a nation, we are but a tiny dot on this planet, but we haven’t half done our bit when it comes to music. A nation that gave The Rolling Stones and The Beatles at the same time. We always have been show offs. As a young British person, it isn’t half worrying to know that we live in a world without the likes of Freddie Mercury, or John Lennon and now Bowie.

I heard a woman say, “I’d have re-mortgaged my house to see Bowie perform live again.” Isn’t that just incredible? Throw yourself into potential financial turmoil, simply to see an idol perform in the flesh just one more time. Do you think we’ll have that reaction with the likes of “David Guetta” or the “Ting Tings”? Of course not. Don’t be daft. The Ting Tings. Jesus Christ.

Obviously, I know that One Direction are as successful as The Beatles, which honestly makes me queasy at the thought. Don’t get me wrong, ‘History’ by 1D… It is on my recently played list and sometimes when I’m on the train with my headphones in, pretending I’m in a music video, I’m listening to them songs and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoying myself. (DON’T ACT LIKE YOU’VE NEVER DONE IT!!!)

But my question is, In forty years time are these the records that I am going to be showing people? Do these artists have longevity? Or are we going to be a blip in the historical music timeline? Worrying thought. The future of British music lay in their hands… And even they’ve split now.

Twitter is an amazing thing and this week it was of course filled with fitting tributes from other brilliant like-minded artists. The likes of Mick Jagger, Madonna and many more took to twitter to express their heartbreak due to the loss of another great. Madonna wrote;

“I’m devastated! This great artist changed my life! Talented. Unique. Game Changer. The man who fell to earth. Your spirit lives on forever.”

As well as celebrities, the general public were also out in their numbers, paying their respects. Although some people, I hate to say ‘my age’ made the dreadful mistake of getting a little bit mixed up and believed that ‘David Zowie’, the man who brought us the 2015 hit song “House Every Weekend” had died. Scott, ironically from Scotland, who’s bio expresses his devotion to Football and his fiancé Megzie offered his condolences, tweeting;

Lovely stuff Scott. Very touching. “Swag Daddy” or @Boo_YouWhore_ expresses her sadness, branding David Zowie as a #legend and letting us all know that she is sure that Mr Zowie will be “Cutting shapes” to his song in heaven. Then she went back to receiving nudes via snapchat. God, it’s weird what people put in their twitter bio’s isn’t it?

But best of all and I personally think this would be Bowie’s favourite, Kurtis from Manchester writes of how he will think of David Zowie, every time he leaves his house… every weekend. Truly, truly genius.

We will remember you David Zowie. Gone but never forgotten.

As much as I “cut shapes” to David Zowie’s “Banger of a tune” last year, I am becoming even more concerned about the future of music and now also the intelligence of my generation. Where is our next Bowie coming from? Not even a Bowie, I’d take Lil’ Chris at this rate. I know I’m being a bit ridiculous and we have the likes of Florence and the Machine, Ben Howard, Arctic Monkeys and many more. But are any of them “GAME CHANGERS”? Surely there is more to this generation than house music or a slow mellow voice accompanied by guitar or MORE HOUSE MUSIC. Just because technology is growing and developing, it doesn’t mean that we have to forget the basics. What happened to storytelling and passionate lyrics.

In University one night, I got in to a row with a close friend of mine, who happens to be one of the most intellegent people I know. He claimed that Taio Cruz was one of the greatest songwriters of all time and was deadly serious. Completely serious. Like straight faced, not winding me up, serious. Taio Cruz for those of you who have already forgotten was the man who brought us songs like “Break your heart”, “Dynamite” and unfortunately many many more. Lets take a little look at some of his lyrics, firstly “Break your heart”, the chorus is simple but to the point.

“I’m only gonna break, break your, break, break your heart.” x4

He sings that same line four times. Genius. That means that in one chorus alone, he uses the word “break” which I’m guessing is a personal favourite of ol’ Taio’s, 16 times. There are three chorus’s. 48 times he says break. Which for me was enough times to BREAK the CD in half. Surely we’re more intellegent than this? Surely our musical tastebuds are crying out for something more. I know mine are.

Maybe I’m being dramatic. Music is subject to opinion I suppose, each to their own and all that. But I just hope. Because that is all I can do. Hope. Hope that there is something out there. Someone. Someone that is going to come out of the darkness and blow my mind. And in 40 years time I’ll be proud to say, “This was the music of my generation!” just like my granddad is and my parents are.

So all I can do now is say thank you to the Starman himself, to Ziggy, to Bowie and most of all Davy. Put on a record and admire the genius that was Mr David Robert Jones.

And finally, do as he said… “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues!”