The Rise and Fall of My Self-Discovery

There have been so, so, so many blog posts, articles, tweets, status updates, texts, and who-knows-what else going into the many ways that Bowie’ s influence touched them. I’ve probably read half of all of them, to be honest.

I’m living it, too.

I found my own voice when I discovered glam rock. It started in tenth grade, when a friend sat me down one night and made me watch Velvet Goldmine, and then told me about the guy it was loosely based on (take a wild guess).


It petered in, with A Knight’s Tale, Labyrinth, and Rocky Horror, Moulin Rouge and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It came in waves when I delved into VG’s soundtrack and used it as a starting ground for finding the bands and artists who shook their trees back during the movement. When I downloaded everything I could find off of Kazaa–and then its bastard love-child Morpheus. When another friend heard I liked it, liked Bowie in particular, and sat me down with the entirety of Tin Machine’s catalogue (such as it is) and Bowie’s 50th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden.

It thrust me into a world where sexual and gender diversity is celebrated, called to attention, and covered in glitter. Where we are encouraged to look toward a future as impossible and brilliant as star travellers and space invaders (and alligators), as much as we are pointed to call out the old regime, tackle the problems–social, political, personal–we’ll need to get past to get there. It let the world be a grand stage where we’re all allowed to get tarted up, get weird–and flaunt it.

And Bowie was the goblin-king of the court, the veritable leper messiah. There were so many who made the Glam movement happen, but no one seemed to hold up that mantle, who stood out to me as the ‘leader,’ the way that he did. And then! Then he lived past the movement, whole and able to tell the tale. He cleaned up and did what he could to bring joy and beauty to the world. He never stopped creating.

I didn’t realise, until thinking about it this past week, how deep down I’ve taken the basic tenets of that whole movement into who I am as a person.

And just look at how all of it’s manifested in “modern” Under-London, the little world that I’ve made, this imaginary place into which I’ve poured so much of my soul. We’ve got characters existing beyond heteronormative and cisnormative standards, who fight for social and political change; some who get into massive trouble thanks to the pretty drugs their friends give them, and others who flout the wills of society and their families to find their own identities. There’s one that likes wearing sparkly band t-shirts, even.

That’s glam rock as fuck, if you ask me.

So, I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going with this. So many of you already follow me on various social media, and you’ve probably heard all of this in bits and pieces, so I really hope it doesn’t sound like just so much tragedy-wanking. But it’s going to take a while to get over this, for me. In the meantime I’ll just play his catalogue at full blast while I pour all that love into Under-London.

He’s told us not to blow it, ‘cause he knows it’s all worthwhile.