Long hiatus. Sun, fun, and friends. Loved it!
…but it’s so good to be back.
Sorry, you wont get a long boring article about New Year resolutions from me or a short, sharp goal-setting workshop. There are 3755 blogs that are talking about that stuff.
I want to discuss far more important things today.
In a conundrum? Market mayhem got you all tied up in knots? Not sure who you could or want to be? Just ask yourself, “what would David Bowie do?”
Apparently this is my friend’s new motto for life. “What would David Bowie do?”
To be fair she took it on as a New Year’s resolution. Before his 69th birthday, before his 28th studio album, and before he passed away.
I think losing David Bowie made everybody feel suddenly old. I don’t really have many memories before David Bowie. When he died of old age (ok cancer, but he’d had a good run) suddenly some of those memories seem a long way away. I still think of the 80s like they were yesterday. They’re 30 years ago now.
And I was never that a huge fan. I like Michael Jackson’s music more myself. But still I could admire how many hits he pumped out. I liked his individuality and the ability he had to constantly reinvent himself. And I can respect a man who choses to face cancer with a farewell album.
“Mr Bowie. You have cancer.”
“Get me to a studio.”
That’s what David Bowie would do.
And for my friend, that question invites her to be the biggest, bravest most glamorous version of herself.
For her, it’s about not giving a toss about what anybody thinks, and beating your own path, going your own way, opting for glitter and facepaint and platform shoes over the daily grind.
And if the immortal ghost of David Bowie helps her do that, then that’s fantastic.
But I’m not sure we really understood what Bowie was about. And I’ve listened to a lot of people waxing lyrical about how amazing David Bowie was in the past couple of weeks.
I think some of it is miles off.
And typically that praise seems to come down to artistic integrity. That David Bowie wasn’t beholden to any one. He did what he wanted and didn’t give a stuff if it was popular or not.
Sounds good, but I think this interpretation of the Bowie phenomenon is almost entirely wrong.
I don’t think you can look at his career and think, there is a man who just did what he wanted to do.
Rather, I think Bowie was a man who didn’t care what he wanted to do at all, and was just happy to give people what they wanted (through song-craft that verged on genius).
Think about the evolution from glam-rocker to dandy. If he had any artistic integrity (in the mis-used sense of the word), he would have kept glam-rocking, even when everyone had stopped listening.
But Bowie was happy to reinvent himself, over and over, for our sake.
But don’t let me sell this achievements short. To be totally ego-less about your art and just give people what they want (often years before they realised that they want it) is some next level humanity. It’s a rare individual who doesn’t get bound up in the constraints of who they used to be, what they used to believe and what they used to stand for.
We get attached to the stories we tell about ourselves. And we can’t change because if we did that would be to admit that we were wrong before.
So it is very, very hard to change. Very few people can do it. Very few people can see past versions of themselves as disposable.
But Bowie could, because he didn’t take any of it seriously. It was all just a bit of a game.
My favourite Bowie quote?
I re-invented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.
So Bowie didn’t have a commitment to his art. He didn’t have a commitment to anything. That’s the genius of Bowie. And that’s the lesson he offered us: don’t take any of it seriously, especially yourself, and don’t get caught up in whatever you were yesterday. It’s all fiction, so chose a fiction that works for you.
That’s some advice we all can live by.
And who does that remind me of?
(Did I really just compare David Bowie to Donald Trump? You bet I did! Bam. Take that 2016.)
Donald Trump still has half the world believing (passionately) that he’s an idiot. That word is used all the time. But whatever you think about Trump, ‘idiot’ has got to be the least likely description of what he’s got going on, doesn’t it?
I mean we’re like 6-months into the Republican run-off and he’s still dominating it, hands down. Not only that, he totally owns the media. He drives every news cycle and has Fox news running scared of another boycott.
Is that the handiwork of an idiot? If so, he’s the luckiest idiot on earth.
My guess is that almost nobody knows the real Trump. The Trump we see is a piece of fiction, as beautiful and as fascinating as Ziggy Stardust. (Oooh, before 2016 could even get off the floor, in goes the boot.)
And he uses that persona like a boss. The relentless optimism, the bravado, the shouty voice. All of it.
And if people hate it? I don’t think he cares. He’s not taking it seriously anyway.
So my prediction, and I’m doubling down here, is that Trump wins the Republican nomination and the Presidential election… in a landslide!
We waste a whole lot of energy and miss out on a whole lot of opportunities trying to prop up and defend our egos. We stress so much about how we’re seen and what people think about us.
Give it up. It’s a total waste of energy. It’s what David Bowie would do.
And have a think about whether you need to reinvent yourself this year. Perhaps you’ve always been a timid investor who’s bad with numbers. Let that puppy die.
What would David Bowie do? He’d spend a bit of time and money skilling up, and emerge as confident investor with a powerful suite of tools at his disposal.
So that’s my wish for you this year. That you can reinvent yourself absolutely however you want.
The year is yours for the taking.
Let’s get into it.
Anyone backing me on the Trump landslide? Got another memory for why David Bowie was so awesome?