How a Starman (David Bowie) and a Hero (DanBH) Validated My Life

David-Bowie-1974Nearly four months on, and I am still trying to grasp the concept of a world without the physically comforting cosmic genius of David Bowie. But, that’s nothing new for me. It has been 3 years, 8 1/2 months since my late husband Dan passed, and I’ve not really moved on from that. Sure, I’ve changed jobs (and subsequently returned to my original company), moved residence, resumed most of my creative interests…but the grieving process seems to be stuck. It must be the stuff I’m made of.

One thing I’m usually very good at is blocking the bits of my past life that are dark, desolate, and decidedly depressing. David Bowie’s death dredged that stinking muck back up and forced me to confront it head on. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because now I’ve been able to let go of a lot of repressed anxiety born of stuffing ungodly visions deep down the memory hole. But, it was a thousand times more painful than satisfying.

Thirty-five+ years ago (a lifetime for many), the lifelong feelings of being a misfit in an un-accepting world reached a head. I found an artificial way to cope, which involved ingesting large amounts of illicit substances. The chemical cocktails made me perceive the world to be a place where I actually fit in, felt productive, and gave me a sense of purpose. Little did I know (or want to believe) that the sense of purpose would end up being a daily visceral drive to find new heights of chemically-induced bliss. The miracle in all of this is that I lived through it. That’s where Mr. Bowie comes in.

With no Internet at my disposal back then, I received music news in bits and pieces from magazines and Bowie_smile_3television (MTV was in its infancy stages). I “discovered” David Bowie late-70s and just prior to sinking to my lowest point. I remember reading a story about how he had been in a similar mess, but had the stones to walk away from it and clean up his life. Not only was he creating and delivering superior music, he was having a ball finding himself, a quest that would end up being a lifelong journey. I so admired his strength and his ability to slip seemingly effortlessly through the world; not as a knock-off wanna-be clone, but as himself. Decidedly misfit, but happy in his own skin.

I started sleeping in front of the stereo, Bowie vinyl platters piled high, listening through huge headphones, lulled to sleep by endless stories of struggle, (at times) defeat, and redemption. His poetic verses described cold, unfriendly worlds, damning events, uncaring accomplices, herculean trials–but they always had a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, and a sense of purpose in a chaotic world unsympathetic to those who refuse to walk lockstep to the boringly predictable drumbeat.

Bowie_Serious_1Eventually, I, too found the stones to walk away from certain self-destruction, and into the light of the satisfaction of knowing that yes, I’m “different,” but it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me, as long as I somehow make the world a better place for others. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

I had a setback a decade later, following a divorce and entering into an abusive relationship. Bowie’s music was forbidden in the new household, lauded as “fag crap,” and only the Rolling Stones (I wonder if Mr. Sensitive knew that Mick and David had had a dalliance) and ZZ Top were allowed. Thank God I had the presence of mind to hide away and hang onto my Bowie vinyl. I remained in that nightmare of a relationship for 5 very long years (queue up Bowie’s “Five Years” here) until I met the second hero of this maudlin story, my late husband Dan. But sadly, I had lost touch with Bowie’s world. I knew he had gotten married, and was still making music, but not much more beyond that. I had been too busy trying to survive by not poking the hornet’s nest.

Dan_Christmas_1999With Dan, another of life’s misfits and a kindred spirit, came a sense of renewal. Not only had I been given a second chance, but now a third, and I was not going to muck it up. He was truly my soul mate, the one that my bad choices put me on the right path to meet. He, too, was a Bowie fan, but we both were bogged down with work and trying to stay afloat financially. We moved from FL to GA and then back to FL, all in the span of 6 years. Life was busy, and something was wrong with Dan’s health, so it became challenging and a balancing act that consumed most of our free time. David Bowie suffered a heart attack in 2004, and Dan had his in 2005. Along with Dan’s attack came the grim news that he also had a rare and incurable vasculitis disease called Churg Strauss Syndrome. The two heroes in my life were forced to make life-altering decisions at almost the same time.

I made it my quest to ensure the remainder of Dan’s life had a note of quality and dignity. He died August 21, 2012 after a courageous struggle. Part of me died with him, but I am convinced his spirit walks with me, overseeing many of my decisions and helping me through the rough spots. David Bowie started releasing music a year later (2013) after a long hiatus to be with his beloved family. The floodgates opened for him and remained open until January 10 of this year, right up to the end. He and Dan shared something very special. They refused to accept death as a possibility, and especially not an end,  and for that reason both of their spirits shine brightly among the stars, still very much a part of this life and those who loved them.

Shortly after Bowie’s death, which was incredibly and personally devastating, I started replacing my vinyl, and ripping the CDs to my computer (which has a decent speaker system). I also filled in a few of the missing pieces and put together one helluva playlist. I have been sleeping to it every night (and playing it every day while working) for the past 3 months, and that has been what keeps the decades-old demons at bay.

During those moments when I can see clearly through the haze of grief, I consider myself very lucky, indeed, to have 2 such incredibly gifted and “different” angels watching over me for whatever time I have left on this world. After that, I will make it my eternal mission to follow them both to the ends of the universe.

When Heroes Die ~ David Bowie (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)

Admittedly, I am adding my voice a bit late to the millions of others expressing shock and grief over the death of David Bowie (nee David Robert Jones) on January 10. My reasons include the inability to come to grips with my emotions and to make sense of the flood of confusion and depression that has washed over me, the likes of which I haven’t felt since losing Daniel, my beloved husband, over 3 years ago.david-bowie-174

There have been sad, hateful people who have belittled those of us in the throes of grief, not understanding the powerful hold this man held over us, and the positive influence he brought to lives wracked with hopelessness and despair. I feel sorry for those wastes of space and oxygen, for they will never know the joy that a lyric, the bend of a note, the croon of a voice, the sight of magnificent oddity can bring, when all a lost soul is looking for is some light toward which to travel with hopeful anticipation.

400full-david-bowieMy own story involves musical salvation from the darkest period of my life that included an inexplicable and debilitating addiction born of self-loathing. Something in Bowie’s music hit me at a time (late 70s/early 80s) when I could very easily have checked out on life in a drug-induced haze of oblivion. It spoke volumes to a lost soul who felt very different in an uncaring world. Suddenly, “different” was OK–acceptable and cool, even–and the earth shifted back on its axis, instead of tumbling haphazardly toward reckless destruction.

David Bowie taught me to have the courage to face down my demons, much as he had accomplished with his move to Berlin. He held my fragile psyche in his arms night after night, as I fell asleep in huge headphones, plugged into the stereo piled high with his vinyl platters, lulling me into fitful sleep and the healing needed to get back on track. His words lifted me, his music inspired me, and his lion-like courage was the model that I used to find my own way back to a world that no longer seemed as cold and full of rejection as I had once perceived it to be. I felt validated, renewed, and determined.

Mr. Bowie gave me back my life. And Daniel, when I met him years later, continued to anchor me and gently guide me along all the right paths. How can one damaged-yet-renewed soul thank another soul for a second chance? I’ve never felt that I adequately thanked either one of these brave and brilliant men during this physical phase of existence, but I hope to have another chance when I, too, begin life among the stars.david-bowie-2013-superpride

Rest in peace, David Robert Jones Bowie (and Daniel, my true love). You’ve both earned your wings and the opportunity to shine your love radiantly, beautifully, and eternally upon us all as we somehow attempt to navigate the rough seas of life without your physical presence. Every tear we cry waters the tree of your memory. Long may it grow tall and strong, sheltering us all with branches made of the endless beauty and joy you gave to the world.

Marsbar Playlist ~ 5-4-2014

May 4, 2014

David Marsden on the Rock.FM every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 p.m. until midnight. Streaming live via the Internet. Join the fun and get some interesting (and always entertaining) information at the new forum on Marsden Global. Miss a previous podcast? They are archived by Neil here: http://www.marsdentheatrearchives.com.

The complete list thanks to much-appreciated post-10PM help from JerusalemSlim:

Bill Nelson – Contemplation
Box – Crying Out Loud For Love
Boxer The Horse – Sentimental/Oriental
Boz Scaggs – Loan Me A Dime
Comsat Angels – I’m Falling
Crossfade – Dead Skin
Cut Copy – Future
David Bowie – Love Is Lost
David Usher – Love Will Save The Day
Dee Long – Good Night Universe
Diodes – Tired Of Waking Up Tired
Elbow – The Fix
Feargal Sharkey – You Little Thief
Gazebo – I Like Chopin
Godley & Creme – Snack Attack
Grapes Of Wrath – Good To See You
Heaven 17 – Let Me Go (extended 12″ mix)
Hidden Cameras – The International M.M.A. The Mild Mannered Army
Howard Jones – New Song (extended remix)
Icehouse – No Promises
John Cooper Clarke – Beasley Street
Jools Holand & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free
Kinks – Lost And Found
Klaatu – Dear Christine
Korgis – Young ‘N’ Russian
Level 42 – Lessons In Love (12″ mix)
Malcolm McLaren – Madam Butterfly (Un Bel Di Vedremo)
Matchstick Afro – Fink Fank Fonk
Pink Floyd – Echoes
Pop Will Eat Itself – X,Y & Zee
Procol Harum – Conquistador
Pukka Orchestra – Your Secret Is Safe With Me
Shins – The Rifle’s Spiral
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Walk Away Renee
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Here Comes The Sun
Stranglers – Midnight Summer Dream
The The – Perfect (12″ mix)
Thompson Twins – Don’t Mess With Dr. Dream
Timber Timbre – Magic Arrow
Trust – Sulk
Ultravox – Brilliant
Waterboys – Song Of Wandering Aengus
Within Temptation – Our Farewell
Yaz – Situation
Zeus – Now That I’ve Got You

Marsbar Playlist ~ 1-18-2014

January 18, 2014

David Marsden on the Rock.FM every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 p.m. until midnight. Streaming live via the Internet. Join the fun and get some interesting (and always entertaining) information at the new forum on Marsden Global.

The complete list–minus the song between Alarm and Breeding Ground. If you have any ideas, let me know!

69 Eyes – Gothic Girl
A3 – Woke Up This Morning
Alarm – Love Don’t Come Easy
Alt-J – Dissolve Me
Benjamin Russell – Miracle (2013)
Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2
Blancmange – Blind Vision
Breeding Ground – Happy Now I Know
Carole Pope – Francis Bacon
Chameleons – Swamp Thing
Clash – Train In Vain (Stand By Me)
Cliks – Savanna
Concrete Blonde – Crystal Blue Persuasion
Cure – Lovesong (extended)
Cut Copy – Saturdays
David Bowie – Sound & Vision
Farm – Very Emotional (remix)
Fiat Lux – Blue Emotion
Frank Zappa – Montana
Freedom Or Death – Inside
Fryars – Visitors
Grapes Of Wrath – Good To See You
Gwen Stefani – Early Winter
Iggy Pop – Pumpin’ For Jill
Intaferon – Get Out Of London
Japan – Adolescent Sex
Kissing The Pink – Certain Things Are Likely (12″ mix)
Klaatu – Dear Christine
Moev – Open Mind
Mother Mother – Infinitesimal
National Velvet – Flesh Under Skin
Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend
Nik Kershaw – The Riddle
Nursery – Domino
Paul Weller – Wishing On A Star
Pete Shelley – Telephone Operator
Peter Murphy – My Secret Garden
Pink Floyd – Have A Cigar
Placebo – A Million Little Pieces
Rammstein – Du Hast (Jacob Hellner remix)
Royal Canoe – Exodus Of The Year
Scary Thieves – The Waiting Game (extended)
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Atari Baby
Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Dirty Disco
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Poor Man’s Fight
Specials – Ghost Town
Tame Impala – Elephant
Tegan & Sara – Closer
Thompson Twins – Don’t Mess With Dr. Dream
Timber Timbre – Magic Arrow
Tokyo Police Club – Hot Tonight
Type O Negative – Love You To Death
Wallflowers feat. Mick Jones – Reboot The Mission

For previous David Marsden lists starting from 2003, visit RalphD’s blog “Marsbar Theater.” Ralph is the creator and original caretaker of the lists.

Marsbar Playlist ~ 12-14-2013

December 14, 2013

David Marsden on the Rock.FM every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 p.m. until midnight. Streaming live via the Internet. Join the fun and get some interesting (and always entertaining) information at the new forum on Marsden Global.

The complete list thanks to much-appreciated help from TheBarron:

Alarm – Unsafe Building
And One – Timekiller
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Art Of Noise feat. Max Headroom – Paranoimia
Aztec Camera – Walk Out To Winter
Bill Haley & His Comets – Rock Around The Clock
Bill Nelson – Flaming Desire
Blue Peter – Shellshocked
Brian Eno – Baby’s On Fire
Cabaret Voltaire – Sensoria
Capital Cities – Safe And Sound
Carole Pope – Francis Bacon
China Crisis – African & White
Colourfield – Castles In The Air
Dave Gahan – Dirty Sticky Floors (Junkie Xl Vocal Remix)
David Bowie – Diamond Dogs
Depeche Mode – Route 66
Diodes – Tired Of Waking Up Tired
Dream Academy – The Love Parade
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Rage Hard
Freedom Or Death – Inside
Freur – Matters Of The Heart
Front Line Assembly – Vanished
Gentlemen Husbands – Wandering Eye
Ian Drury & The Blockheads – Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
Jerry Lee Lewis/Champs/Wanda Jackson/Little Richard/Danny & The Juniors/Contours – Great Balls Of
Fire/Tequila/Let’s Have A Party/Tutti Frutti/At The Hop/Do You Love Me (Mash-up)
Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids (2003 Digital Remaster)
Lotus Eaters – You Don’t Need Someone New
Marcus Kihn – Air
Mick Jagger v. Ludacris – Sweet Thing Stand Up
Midge Ure – After A Fashion
Dee Long – Zero Gravity (Make Love In)
Muse – Uprising (live)
NeuroRythm – Voice Of Dissent
Pete Shelley – Homosapien (Dub)
Pretty Lights – The Last Passenger
Raine Maida – Montreal
Rammstein – Du Hast
Royal Canoe – Hold On To The Metal
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Atari Baby
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Poor Man’s Fight
Stranglers – The Raven
Tegan & Sarah – Closer
Thought – I had Too Much To Dream Last Night
Timber Timbre – Magic Arrow
Tom Robinson – War Baby (12″ Single)
Wallflowers – Reboot The Mission

For previous David Marsden lists starting from 2003, visit RalphD’s blog “Marsbar Theater.” Ralph is the creator and original caretaker of the lists.

Marsbar Playlist ~ 12-8-2013

December 8, 2013

David Marsden on the Rock.FM every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 p.m. until midnight. Streaming live via the Internet. Join the fun and get some interesting (and always entertaining) information at the new forum on Marsden Global.

The complete list (minus one unidentified song) thanks to late-night help from JerusalemSlim:

Alabama 3 – Hotel California
Bob Segarini – Gotta Have Pop
Brian Eno feat. John Cale – Spinning Away
Champion Heartache – Things I Left Behind
City Boy – Dinner At The Ritz
Cliks – Red & Blue
Conjure One – Sleep
Cure – A Forest
Dave Stewart feat. The Secret Sisters – One Way Ticket To The Moon
David Johansen & The Harry Smiths – James Alley Blues
David Usher – Black Black Heart
Dee Long – Good Night Universe
Eight Seconds – Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)
Elliott Murphy – Anastasia
Euphoria – Keeps You Going
Frank Zappa – Flakes
Frank Zappa – Peaches En Ragalia
Front Line Assembly – Fragmented
Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Gentleman Reg – We’re In A Thunderstorm
Grapes Of Wrath – Picnic
Hidden Cameras – In The Na
Horslips – The Man Who Built America
Imaginary Cities – Water Under The Bridge
Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels
It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home
Japan – Quiet Life
John Lennon – Imagine
John Lennon – #9 Dream
John Lennon – Woman
Kane Gang – Gun Law
Klaatu – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
Lemon Jelly – In The Bath
Leon Russell – A Song For You
Level 42 – Lessons In Love
Lighthouse – 1849
Lightning Seeds – Life Of Riley
Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party – Wish Upon A Dog Star
Peter Murphy – Indigo Eyes (’98 Recall version)
Peter Schilling – Major Tom (Coming Home)
Plastic Ono Band – Give Peace A Chance
Plastic Ono Band – Instant Karma!
Project Pitchfork – Souls
Robbie Robertson – Showdown At Big Sky
Roger Waters feat. P.P. Arnold – Perfect Sense (Parts I & II)
Simply Red – Positively 4th Street
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Poor Man’s Fight
Stranglers – Skin Deep
Ten Years After – Bluest Blues
Thomas D’Arcy – I Can’t Wait
Ultravox – Vienna

For previous David Marsden lists starting from 2003, visit RalphD’s blog “Marsbar Theater.” Ralph is the creator and original caretaker of the lists.

Marsbar Playlist ~ 12-7-2013

December 7, 2013

David Marsden on the Rock.FM every Saturday and Sunday night from 7 p.m. until midnight. Streaming live via the Internet. Join the fun and get some interesting (and always entertaining) information at the new forum on Marsden Global.

The complete list thanks to invaluable help from TheBarron:

69 Eyes – Betty Blue
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Artists United Against Apartheid – Sun City
Bill Nelson – Suvasini And Contemplation
Carole Pope – Francis Bacon
China Crisis – Wishful Thinking
Cliks – Savanna
Colin Blunstone & Dave Stewart – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
Cut Copy – Need You Now
Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus (Pump Mix)
Diodes – Catwalker
Echo & The Bunnymen – Silver
Empire Of The Sun – We Are The People (The Shapeshifters Vocal remix)
Fixx – Red Skies At Night
Front Line Assembly – Vanished
Gary Clail – Human Nature
Gary Numan – We Are Glass
Gene Loves Jezebel – Desire (Come And Get It)
Genesis – I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
I Am Your Auto Pilot – Little Neutrino
Intaferon – Get Out Of London
Juluka – Scatterlings Of Africa
M/A/R/R/S – Pump Up The Volume
Members – Radio
National Velvet – Flesh Under Skin
Nightwish – I Wish I Had An Angel
NeuroRythm – Voices Of Dissent
New Order – Blue Monday (Hardfloor Mix)
Parachute Club – Rise Up
Pink Floyd – One Slip (A Momentary Lapse Of Reason)
Primal Scream – Loaded (Terry Farley remix)
Prodigy (feat. Pop Will Eat Itself) – Their Law
Project Pitchfork – I Live Your Dream (Gary Numan Remix)
Psychedelic Furs – President Gas
Ray Charles with Ruben Studdard & The Harlem Gospel Singers – Imagine
Rocky Horror Picture Show – The Time Warp
Romeo Void – Never Say Never
Royal Canoe – Today We’re Believers
Scissor Sisters – Invisible Light
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Dirty Disco
Slave To The SQUAREWave – Texan Thugs ‘N’ Rock ‘N’ Roll
Stranglers – Golden Brown
Teenage Head – Wild One
Thomas D’Arcy – The Price You Pay
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science
Unheilig – Sei Mein Licht
Violent Kin – Keep Your Balance
Yello – Oh Yeah
Zeus – Love/Pain

For previous David Marsden lists starting from 2003, visit RalphD’s blog “Marsbar Theater.” Ralph is the creator and original caretaker of the lists.