Grieving David Bowie



I’m a fan. I’ve always been a fan of music. I’ve hung on every syllable from the lips of singers. Their lyrics guiding me through good and bad times, happy, sad, the times I wasn’t sure and the times I wanted to party.

Their magical melodies and musicianship weaving a magical spell, saying all the right things, at the right time, the right vibe, the right reason.

Music does that to you, well, it does that to lots of us. Somewhere around early teenage years, it takes over.

When a singer or rock star dies, it’s tough, really tough. These people have been friends, best friends. They’re not supposed to die. They’re always supposed to be around.

These people have been constants in your life but all you’ve ever known them by is a song, standing in the same field at the festival as they play those songs, or perhaps in a small sweaty venue. You might get to reach out, to touch a hand. But you’ll never have a conversation, you’ll never have a pint or a coffee with them, you’ll never share jokes or tell stories. Yet, these people are constants, always there.

As the news broke of David Bowie dying, not just the music world, the world of arts, the LGBT community, fans, admirers and those who recognized how one man’s talent has inspired so much came together to pay tribute to try and comprehend how the ‘immortal’ David Bowie was gone.

The impact this man, this beautiful man, had through his vision of music, his fashion, his sexuality, cannot be understated.

Music fans gather in the greatest Bowie sing along in his native Brixton, grieving, reliving, pouring out the love for his music. Switching on a radio, putting on a TV news channel, the last time I’ve seen such public outpouring of emotion was when Princess Diana was killed in 1997.

In the middle of this outpouring of such immense love, admiration and disbelief, I met some people whose words chilled me. ‘Why would I be bothered about some random guy?’. ‘I think that the BBC news page is OTT’. ‘I don’t think much of Bowie’.

People grieve in different ways. No two people will ever look at life in the same way. When these people were surrounded by others who were shocked at the news of Bowie’s death, two things came to mind.

Even if you don’t like an artist’s music, there are very few people who have captured the hearts of the nation and inspired people to be who they want to be, to dare to be different. There are very few people who have had a lasting musical career and continued to release critically acclaimed albums until their last days. You have to recognise that.

I’m not sure that anyone has ever made such an impression on wider culture. Through fashion, art, innovative video, being one of the first musicians to have a website, being a pioneer in so many, many ways.

I feel sorry for the people who feel this way. Have they never felt when a singer or band sings those lyrics to you, to no one else on this planet? To you and you alone. Have they never fallen in love with music? Have they never felt empathy for another human being?

We’re all together in this thing called life. Together we make memories, we become friends, we fall out, we disagree, we have different political views but empathy. To survive, to actually live life to the fullest, to give and take as much as we possibly can, to make this a better world, we must look at how the other person feels. If we can’t recognise the brilliance of artists, the impact of their lives, how can we strive to better ourselves? It’s empathy that makes us human.

Rest in Peace Starman

ReViewedOn Wednesday evening last I had the pleasure of going along to the opening of Seán Hillen‘s new exhibition, ReViewed at The Copper House Gallery in Synge Street in Dublin. For those of you who are familiar with Seán’s work, you probably would recognize some or all of these pieces.

Alongside Les and Maureen Wolnich and their team in The Copper House Gallery, Sean has scanned his pieces to a large format scale. As Sean’s pieces are normally quite small, details which were easily missed, can now be seen. Sean has previously worked in his photo collage style on small scale formats but seeing them like this shows the precision, including jagged edges and an occasional cut too far and amount of time and work that went into the original pieces. This really has given these pieces a second life. Continue reading “”

Keith Haring: 21st Anniversary

Keith Haring - ignorance fear -

Keith Haring - ignorance fear -

Today is the 21st anniversary of Keith Haring‘s death in 1990.  I, like many others, knew his work because of his unique style using thick lines and active bodies.  His artwork was also used on Red, Hot and Dance in 1992, which was part of a music series organised by Red Hot, an organization who’s mission is to fight aids through music.

In 2000 on February 16th, I was in San Francisco, it’s weird the way you remember things. I got my nose pierced in the Castro and then wandered with some friends to some art galleries just off Union Square, think they were on Geary Street.

There were two galleries, side by side. I got offered a job in one. One had art by Ronnie Wood and if I remember correctly, the owners Grandad had been a photographer. When the Grandad died they found unpublished photographs of Elvis.

The other had artwork by Keith Haring, so many pieces. The assistant told me more about Keith Haring, about his art, his murals and how that day was the tenth anniversary of his death.  Keith died from AIDS related complications at the age of 31.

His legacy lives on through the Keith Haring Foundation. It’s mission “is to sustain, expand, and protect the legacy of Keith Haring, his art, and his ideals. The Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations that assist children, as well as organizations involved in education, research and care related to AIDS”

Yay its Spring!

Had a good day today, went to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin, remembered why I love Paris so much! Had a look at some works by Degas, Manet, Osbourne.. really liked Sean Scully’s work especially ‘Sandra’ and I, of course must mention the unbelieveable work by Yinka Shonibare, inspired by Gulliver’s Travels.

I also bought Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray so a bit of an arty day all round.

I got confirmation also about my show on DCUFm. So now I’m trying to come up with a name for it.. currently at number one is… NessyTime, like HammerTime ?! I’m also going to be looking for some fellow DCU students to do some bits on the show…  I’m going to make the show a Nessy Production for DCU Fm!

Also on the Nessy Productions front, I’ve been working like a maniac story boarding m first music video.. and before this one has even been started I’ve been asked to do a second one 🙂 So one is for a rock band and the second for a Hip Hop emcee !  Looking forward to both!

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