David Bowie has died and the world's more rubbish because of it. But mixed in with the sadness there's a clear feeling this morning that the man had such an incredible career and left us with a back catalogue of such extraordinary music that celebrating a wonderful life should be at the top of the agenda.
He was a London boy of course, son of Brixton and Bromley. He lived in a terraced house a stone's throw from Brixton Academy and 'maybe' played on the wing for Burnt Ash Primary School's first XI. He went to what is now Ravens Wood School in Keston before moving on to a London dancing school, the Three Tuns pub in Beckenham, and through interesting career choices to, famously, space.
You'll get proper obituaries everywhere for days to a man who'll be regarded as one of the greatest of us until there's no us left to do any regarding. We love Ziggy and Major Tom just like everyone else, but our lowly tribute comes in the form of a few songs that you probably won't hear on the radio today, some of Bowie's (relatively) lesser-known gems that highlight what a maverick we had among us.
From Bowie's second album, named David Bowie in 1969 but later dubbed Space Oddity by a record company to distinguish it from his first album. Call it what you like, it was his proper emergence as a unique talent and ended with nine and a half minutes of prog rock, though perhaps not enough swans. The idea sounds awful. Bowie made it otherwise.
From 1997's Earthling album. Though from watching the video you have to wonder if he was ever really an earthling.
Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family
From 1974's Diamond Dogs album. Don't try to make sense of the lyrics, you'll go mad.
From 1999's Hours... album. In contemplative mood, as perhaps many of us are today. Maybe the only man who could get away with coughing over his own music in his own video.
Up the Hill Backwards
From 1980's Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) album. Contains lyrics sometimes seen as a dig at media coverage of Bowie's divorce from first wife Angie, who is currently in the Celebrity Big Brother house, which is probably hugely ironic but reaching for meaning may be beyond us on a day like today.
A bonus track on the re-issue of 1976’s Low album. Haunting and magisterial.
And with that, he was gone. See you up there, David.