Ladies and gentlemen—and others

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

David Bowie, Changes (1971)

bowie

David Bowie, 1971. Copyright Daily Mirror/Mirror/Corbis

I wasn’t a fan of David Bowie but many people I came to know in support groups and online chat rooms said Bowie and his music gave them a freedom to explore hidden selves they may otherwise never have revealed. People talk of how Bowie changed music, perhaps even society. As much as I might attribute that to their experience of Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane or The Thin White Duke or Pierrot or The Man Who Fell to Earth or any of the other Bowie personae (the public personality, the individual’s mask or façade according to Jung), I think it was his anima and animus [if ever these were fused in one person, it might have been Bowie], that had people feeling the courage to seek their unique place. Christina Cauterucci wrote for Slate:

He was gay, then bisexual, then a “closet heterosexual.” He claimed the sexual power of spangled Lycra, androgynous formal wear, and hyper-masculine leather jackets at once, exposing the performative nature of gender by inhabiting conflicting norms. The man who gave us our most cherished eyeliner and body-glitter goals also gave us the most compelling codpiece in all of children’s cinema.


Still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild, a million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet

So I turned myself to face me
But I’d have never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me, but I can’t trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream of warm impermanence and
So the days flow through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Where’s your shame, you’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me, but you can’t trace time

Strange fascination fascinating me
Ah, changes are taking the pace I’m going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out, you rock and rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now, you’re gonna get older
Time may change me, but I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me, but I can’t trace time

Thanks from the weird kids, Mr. Bowie. We wouldn’t have had half a chance without you.

from en|gender

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