January 10, 2017

Hot Tramp

i have this Facebook page, Penguin Ministry, where i try to help those who want it.
with that as my platform, i declared January 8th to the 10th as the Days of Bowie, where we can celebrant the lives and time of David Bowie. i got my girlfriend, Nicole of ms. deeds to help me pick out some songs and what they meant to us.

We start the Days of Bowie with what might be the first taste of Bowie: Labyrinth.
What can one say about this movie besides, pants. Just lots of shots of pants.
And there are some Muppets there but really, pants.

Fifteen years before my time and this whole record speaks to my soul. It is hard to pick a song or a lyric. The inspiration is there. So, I'll try to stick to the idea encompassed in the first few lines of “Fill your Heart” -"Forget your mind and you'll be free." This is just one of the many lines that sticks out amongst a memorable song, album, career. It's one of the first of the most of the odd Bowie albums- Hunky Dory.
Embrace the weird is my personal motto. Bowie was with me on my journey while I figured out that was okay. His creative spirit helped me with more than an epiphany or two along the way. Without exposure to his music and the paths it led me to…I wouldn't be quite as quirky of a Nicole as I am today. There likely would not be a chameleon tattooed between my shoulder blades. I likely would not have had a mohawk for the last few years. I likely would hate my mother less (ask me about fucking concert tickets in St. Louis during his last tour). Bowie helped me to enjoy my slice of time and space more thoroughly. He influenced my aesthetic and personal art. He recommended the music I listened to, books I read, and art I observed.
I am a punk. I am androgynous. I am queer. I love David Bowie. I'm never sure of the order.
“Queen Bitch” is one of my early favorites. I listened over and over and over. The lyrics sunk in. The timbre - the shrill emphasis - timbre. Sigh… and to learn it's inspired by Lou Reed? Even better. I followed their lyrics and collaborations and piled through books and magazines for photographs. (Yes, pre-internet.)
"And if she says she can do it then she can do it she don't make false claims. Oh she's a queen and such are queens that your laughter is sucked into their brains."
I see this lyric in my dreams. I wonder if he imagined words we have all read in fairy tales. I wonder if he just imagined the wild feminine spirit and put into words what it is like to be made one with our energy. I wonder if it was words drawn out of a hat.
Folks-he was a professional clown at one point. It could all be a joke. In a memoir published post mortem; we may all learn that all of these lyrics were in fact drawn from a hat.
This song lyrically, has little meaning. I won’t' pretend that it's profound. I do enjoy imagining who may have been the inspiration for the three different roles in the story.
The song taken in its entirety from the point of this observer - the imagery purveyed - the instrumental-the subject matter- the resonance in recall causes it to stand out. I identify with the spirit encompassed by the whole picture.
If you haven't listened - give the vinyl a spin, YouTube it, borrow it from a friend, write your music with a ukulele. Do you.

written by ms. deeds

Take two, sexy English rock and roll gods, have them take a rockin’ Motown hit and duet it.
But it’s the 80’s and there are still all them rumors that they had had sex together.
So, yes make a video of it.

(you know, you have to add a Ziggy song to the mix.
no i don’t.
yes you do. this is David Bowie we are talking about. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A ZIGGY STARDUST SONG!!!
ok! you know Ziggy played a 12-string guitar and he was an alien.
yes, i know the story well.)

45 years after the song came out and nearly a year since his death, when Bowie sings “You’re not alone!” I can not help but know I am not.
He is, stardust, now.

I was late to the Bowie bandwagon, in a way. It wasn’t until he released Heathen (Summer of 2002) and he (seemed to be) EVERYWHERE and I wanted to make my new friend Nicole happy so I was tapping all sorts of Bowie on the TV and yeah for run on sentence!
Oktober of that year brought us Best of Bowie, a 2 CD album covering, then, 33 years of Bowie’s music. I brought it and listen to it nonstop.
There was one song I didn’t care for: “Life on Mars?”. I dug his other songs but that one just didn’t strike a chord with me.
Fast forward to September 2005, Bowie performs for the Rock Fashion Awards on CBS. He sings “Life on Mars?”
I don’t know if it’s the fact an older Bowie singing, the arrangement Mike Garson is playing on piano, or the fact it’s a live performance. Before me was a new Bowie song.
Late last year, this song came back to me. This time it was Jessica Lange singing in American Horror Story: Freak Show. It made me take pause with her rendition made me take pause.
I still don’t like “Life on Mars?” but this performance of it, it speaks to me.

Once upon a time I could conjure Bowie on the radio. It was usually this song.
And when I think of Bowie, this is about the first song I think about.

“Time may change me
But I can't trace time”

I awoke at 5:43 a.m. My phone wasn't off. My phone exists on silent unless I expect necessary communication. I am a landscaper. I make my own hours and there is never a landscaping emergency that requires you calling me during hours I want to be sleeping. Ever. Accepting Smart Phones and texting as a way of life changed me as a person. I accept the necessity, but disagree with terms.
I had a text from my sister. It read, "Sissy, I'm so sorry…" I opened Google on my phone (the irony of this hits home fully, folks) and I didn't even have to hit the news tab for my personalized feed to tell me the news became public just hours prior. I did not pretend to mourn the loss of a friend. (Though, I did take my first ever casual day to work - Slacks, chucks, and a concert shirt…) I worried the world I experience would grow less creative, wise, expressive, or bold. In the current state of affairs I worry that may be true - but I digress. I mourned for his family and loved ones. I mourned for that which he may have wanted to accomplish and was not able - but, I try to feel that empathy for every human who passes. And I try to relate to the ones living by exhibiting patience, expressing interest, and encouraging interests. (Most of the time this causes me to be interpreted as a know-it-all-bitch in white bread 'Murica). Fortunately for me…many years ago, the artistic community I sought out and my chosen family taught me it was okay to be weird. My motto is Embrace the Weird. My mantra -Don't Panic. I'll cry forever over my gratitude in human expression. This applies to Michelle Obama's speech on 1.6.17, Bowie's death, a friend expressing their love, a coworker standing up to unfair treatment etc. I'm grateful I existed in a slice of time in which I can count him as role model and leader. I’m fortunate to have and acknowledge many. In my world, few celebrities make the list It is mostly comprised of family, friends, and artists. See Section 1. Queen Bitch.
Black Star has been difficult for me to listen to. I Listened to the singles as they were released. I watched the videos intently over and over day of release… I think all the Bowiephiles knew it was coming. I certainly did.
I started listening again in December of this year. I have little family. Most of that which has been chosen has scattered across the country. So, I find my solace in music. December brought an ukulele, silly attempts to play French horn and bass despite physical limitations, and exploring the Bowie I've been unable to listen to without breaking down.
I've seen so much death. I've held it in my arms more than once. I've nearly embraced her myself. I live with chronic pain from an "invisible disease". I come from a small town where everyone knows my business. I'm far removed. And, I've got nothing left to lose. I've spent the better part of two years so high it makes my brain whirl just trying to escape a reality in which I can never seem to find my footing. Living with regret would mean I acknowledge stupidity (and other than my addiction to nicotine; I'll never admit stupidity)
In this story, just like every other - I find something just like me. And upon his passing everything takes on new meaning. I look to the heavens - and we'll all dance amongst the stars together once again. In the meantime, why not live like kings? I'll be sitting on the 11th floor watching the pigs down below for the next four years. Who else wants to reserve a spot?

written by ms. deeds

In November of 2015, Nicole told me Bowie had a new album coming out, on his birthday, in 2016.
I was excited at the first video “Blackstar”. The sounds, the look, it felt like Bowie was starting a new religion.
I do not think The Next Day was all that great. I was excited about a new year and new Bowie album.

What makes me feel better when I’m low? My music. Who do I like to listen to? David Bowie.
What was hard was the fact that what I turned to make me feel better turned into what was constantly ripping the wounds open and poring salt into them.
What grace I found when I discovered I was not alone. Many of the people I follow on social media were Bowie fans and tears and glitter was everywhere.
I must have missed the boat where everyone’s favorite Bowie song was “Space Oddity” and it was his greatest work. I like the song but I doesn’t reach out to me.
I didn’t have a favorite Bowie song before he died, I liked them all. But after his death, there was one song I kept going to, kept searching for different versions of it, sung by Bowie.
The song was “Heroes”.

I put myself under pressure to write this post. I went down to the underground, where time may change me. But I put on my red shoes and time took another cigarette as they pulled you out of the oxygen tent. I’m afraid of Americans (it took him minutes, took me nowhere) and slow burns but everyone says hi but you can be mean and I’ll drink all the time.
Hot tramp, I love you so.
Requiescat in pace, David Jones.

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