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Pickle Me This

January 11, 2016

I think my spaceship knows which way to go…

I am not a David Bowie fan. I’ve never bought any of his albums, I only know his most popular songs, and the only David Bowie song I knew for the first decade of my life was “Dancing in the Street” with Mick Jagger; my parents were more Elton John people. The first time I heard “Under Pressure,” I thought it was Vanilla Ice, and I was nearly 20. So I’ve got no cred whatsoever (if you ever thought I did), but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a musician I’m not a fan of whose work has affected me more. This morning we heard that he had died, and I put on “Modern Love” so we could have a dance party in the living room. I played “Let’s Dance” for my dance-loving girls tonight. I’ve been humming “Space Oddity” all day, hearing those amazing harmonies. There was a time in my when everything had fallen apart, and I spent that period listening to that song over and over again, those lines resonating: “The stars look very different today.” And learning to have faith in my own direction: “And my spaceship seems to know which way to go.” Understanding so much what it was to be lonely and lost—no one can be wholly alone whilst listening to that song. And more recently, his song “Kooks” has meant a lot to me, since Elizabeth Mitchell covered it on her album, Blue Clouds (which I love so much—it also features the most gorgeous cover of Van Morrison’s “Everyone.”) We listened to this album all the time when I was pregnant with Iris, and it might have become part of her sonic DNA. “Kooks” is a song about waiting for a baby, and hoping that baby will take its chances on you: “Will you stay in a lovers’ story, if you stay, you won’t be sorry, cuz we believe in you…” And it includes the line that really is my parenting philosophy, particularly in regards to school: “And if the homework brings you down/ Then we’ll throw it on the fire./And take the car downtown.” (Listen to Elizabeth Mitchell’s cover here.)

One thought on “I think my spaceship knows which way to go…”

  1. I can relate to this a lot! I never got into Bowie either, mainly because my uncle was married to a woman who looked like Bowie and it weirded me out.

    But I did have some respect for him and can see his influence and importance. I listened to an “Intro to David Bowie” on Apple music, and heard a lot of his songs as the radio stations were doing tributes, and I was surprised by how many Bowie songs I actually knew. I just didn’t know that they were his songs.

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