I was hesitant to write about David Bowie simply because it would inevitably mean having to address the, umm, difficult to talk about song China Girl (sure: there's an argument that it really isn't that racist, but it's not exactly a convincing one). However, since Jeremiah has already cleared the way on that one, I can simply dive into the fact that if you were born at any time from about 1955 onward his music has been an inevitable part of your life in a way that not even the Beatles, whose truly productive period lasted only about five years, really managed.
Even if you weren't much of a music aficionado, and I can't claim to be one, his music brings back memories. Here's mine -
Any Friday night at Kenny's bar in Miaoli 2001-2002:
The day after the wedding, very hung over, singing along whilst my brother noodled around on guitar, Wroclaw, 2014:
David Bowie was of my parent's generation, a generation that is now mostly either retired or fast approaching retirement, and which will start to pass from the scene in the coming decade. Unlike them, I and my middle-class middle-England peers did not, generally speaking, have to struggle against the social mores and constraints of our parents the way that they had to against theirs - we could if we wanted have long hair and wear make-up, listen to loud music and so-forth.
There is of course something embarrassing about this inter-generational cosiness, the embarrassment of a younger generation that never really rebelled all that much but which instead lives increasingly in the parental home and is reliant on parental money, but it sprang from an attitude of personal freedom and liberation which that generation championed simply by exercising it.