Ziggy has returned to Mars; RIP Major Tom

Illustration by Kate Allender

Illustration by Kate Allender

I don’t usually have problems with celebrity deaths.

I’ll admit that I did cry when I heard Robin Williams died in 2014, but out of all the recent celebrity deaths, the death of David Bowie on Jan. 10 probably was the hardest celebrity death for me to deal with in recent memory.

Though I didn’t have a friendship with Mr. Bowie nor had I ever met him, it hit me on a deep level because I had just been getting into his music in the months prior to his death.

I honestly don’t know a time in my life where I wasn’t familiar with Bowie. I knew from a pretty young age that he was on the Queen song “Under Pressure,” but other than that I could probably only name the Queen song and “Space Oddity” as the only Bowie songs I knew.

Though that all changed in October or November 2015 at work. When I’m not at school, I work part-time vacuuming floors at the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines in downtown Des Moines.

While I was vacuuming one day, I decided to plug in my headphones and listen to music.

I landed on his greatest hits album, and I decided to listen to it.

I then realized that Bowie was a freaking genius and that I knew a lot of songs by him, including “Fame” and “Changes.”

I even started to listen to his new stuff from his The Next Day album and the singles “Lazarus,” and the title track to his Blackstar album.

Though they are good songs, I thought they were very weird at first and made me very concerned something was wrong with Bowie because of the references to death.

Although I brushed it off, I was later saddened to discover that my fear was true.

It was the night that Bowie died; I was just settling into bed when I saw a tweet from @DavidBowieReal that read, “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle…” and then linking to Bowie’s Facebook for more information.

Ziggy Stardust (one of David Bowie’s alter egos in the 1980s) had returned to Mars.

Though Bowie was known for music, he had also dabbled a bit in acting.

His most wll known role was in the 1986 film “The Labyrinth, “where he had a starring role as the antagonist Jareth the Goblin King.

He also had roles in “The Man who Fell to Earth,” and in the highly controversial Scorsese film “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

Though his star faded acting-wise in the 2000s, one of his most well known roles in film came as a cameo in the 2001 film “Zoolander” where he played himself and judged a walk-off between Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald, played respectively by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

I am going to miss David Bowie. Aside singing/writing some of the best music from the late 20th Century, he was probably of the best musicians to ever live.

Since his death, David Bowie has earned his first number one album with his last album Blackstar.

Though it is sad Bowie couldn’t live to see the accomplishment, I think he would be even happier to see all the new fans that have started enjoying his music now following his death.

The morning he died, after watching the news, I decided to venture down to the one place that would help me make sense of what had happened, Zzz Records in Des Moines.

Before entering the store, I looked down by the door and I saw a candle sitting next to a photo of David Bowie.

When I went in, I asked the owner if he knew who set out the candle and he had no idea.

To this day he hasn’t figured out who set up the tribute outside the shop.

If by any chance the person who left the candle reads this article I want to thank-you for the tribute to the late great David Bowie.

RIP Major Tom 1947-2016.

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