Brand Bowie


I blame David Bowie. For everything.

For the record, it’s not just The Thin White Duke I’m pointing the finger at. Nope. Let’s not forget Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Lux Interior, Phil Lynott and Poly Styrene to name but a few prime candidates. It’s all their fault. All their fault that I am the way I am.

But this is not a blame game of the usual kind. Yes, I’m holding all of these guilty parties responsible, but not in a bad way. Rather, these musings are an obituary of sorts. A heartfelt tribute offered up to the members of a pop pantheon who played such a profound role in the formation of this wee wordsmith’s personality and world view.

However, this is not simply some paean to a bunch of dead rock stars currently giving it laldy on the great rock’n’roll stage in the sky (although I also say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the music, folks) –  this stuff is at the very, very core of who I am, how I think and behave. It even dictates how I run my business.

Look, I know that might seem a bit of a stretch. I mean, what in the name of the cracked actor has David Bowie got to do with small business? Well, for a large percentage of my fellow adventurers in enterprise, absolutely heehaw actually. But for this Generation Xer, Bowie ch-ch-changed everything. Changes which have reverberated right through the decades, all the way from adolescence to midlife meltdown. See, when Bowie’s music began to trickle into the consciousness of this timid teenager back in the dark days of the 1970s, it truly blew my mind. As for when he first turned up on TV? Now that’s what I call an emotional earthquake…

Total teenage transformation didn’t happen right away (don’t be daft, my pocket money didn’t stretch much beyond the occasional 7” single or kohl eyeliner in those days) but right from the start Bowie made me feel a lot less alone. He let me see that it was just dandy to look and feel different. He planted a seed in this here young noggin that there was a place on planet earth for those of us who felt we didn’t quite fit in with the mainstream. Sounds a bit lame in these times of widespread cultural tribalism, you probably had to be there in those monochrome years to understand the impact of coming across someone who made you think that maybe, just maybe, you weren’t just a wee wierdo. It’s like Bowie gave me permission to belong to a different gang, to look at the world in a whole different light. So I did, and I do.

David Bowie wasn’t alone in providing that alternative view, that punk rock perspective, ‘course not. My cultural icons cover the gamut of art, literature, film & TV, and John Peel. There’s time, place, politics, nature and nurture thrown into the personality pie mix too. Neither is this some outlandish commercial claim to be better, brighter or bolder in business just because of the dearly departed. But Bowie was the first, the best and the prettiest star. He’s at the very core of my sensibility, my grown-up persona, and the way I work. And for that sir, I thank you.

Rest easy, sweet thing.