In his song Five Years, Bowie imagined a dying earth Five years after his death it seems to have come true – but he continues to elevate us

On 11 On January 1st, 2016, I turned on the radio at 7 a.m. in total darkness and heard the news that David Bowie had died, quickly switching between stations in hopes of finding a parallel universe he was still living in, but there was only that faltering voices of the moderators who, alongside snippets of Bowie’s incomparable world of music, throttled back tears and collapsed in collective grief

My first reaction was to magically think, “But he can’t be dead!” Bowie was just 25 years old Album, Blackstar, just three days earlier on his 69th Birthday Released His official website had recently posted new photos of him that were well suited and playfully screamed into the camera on the occasional news of what critic Paul Morley Bowie’s called “jubilant, enduring life” – especially in the decade after Bowie in 2004 had a heart attack on stage – was enough to reassure me and his millions of fans that he was still there.Not that he owed us anything, but a world where David Bowie was still couldn’t be all bad now he was gone

After the hallucinatory grimness of the past five years, the illusion that if he died everything would go in the pot has sometimes felt more like a premonition. Five Years, written in 1971, imagines a population disturbed by the news was delivered – by a “news guy” who “cried so hard his face was wet” – that “the earth is really dying” and we would all have died out within half an hour of a decade

Waking up to the early news most mornings since that day in 2016 has finally evoked feelings similar to “My brain hurt like a warehouse / It ran out of space,” Bowie sings as Ziggy as if he’s through Traveled Time and Had Seen the State of Things Writer Dan Fox, author of Pretentiousness and Limbo, two books on culture and creativity, recalls “a month or two after Trump’s election for five years listening and the apocalyptic dejection really felt in this song “

However, as he claims, Bowie still offers a way out of this desperation. “He was the greatest art student of the 20th century Century “says Fox” He never stopped learning, never stopped being curious I think you can use his work as a role model: don’t be afraid to admit I don’t know and find someone to do it ”

Curator Beth Greenacre, who ran Bowie’s art collection for 16 years until his death, told Harper’s Bazaar in 2016 that he “had ideas, thoughts … all of which went into his life. He was going to have one Look at artist and it would lead him to another artist, which would lead him to a book, which would lead him to a theory, which would lead him to a philosophical text, which would then lead him back to another artist ”

That’s the thing: for Bowie, life was a series of encounters with people and things that made change possible, not a series of transactions aimed at surprising other people.I have missed him more than ever since he did died because his life, by and large, ran counter to the philistinism, cynicism and evil faith that dominate public life

He wanted to keep learning, and we should keep learning Bowie shared reading lists, playlists, and lyrics saturated with cultural innuendo. In the words of songwriter Edwyn Collins in response to news of Bowie’s death, “He was warm hearted; you could walk around with it in your head all day and it comforted you ”

I’ve collected pictures of Bowie since I was a teenager: there is hardly anything more compelling than looking at pictures of him in all his versions.It reminds you of what is possible and that no one else has the power to tell you what or who you must be at any point in time

The picture of Bowie that moves me the most was taken in 1994 in Austria in the Gugging House of Artists, at that time a gallery and therapeutic residential hospital for artists outside Vienna Bowie – 47 years old and shortly before, Brian Eno, one of his best albums, the quixotic Outside – stands in a paved courtyard, his arm around the older artist and Oswald Tschirtner, who lives in Gugging, and looks away from the camera, perhaps in the direction of one of Tschirtner’s works of art

Both are gaunt, light, dry-clad, serious and determined.You remember how Bowie wasn’t tall enough to be shy and how far he could dim his glare when he had to. You remember that he was his elder Half-brother Terry Burns, who less than a decade earlier introduced Bowie to the jazz and beat poetry that illuminated his music, had lost to suicide Bowie and Tschirtner look like father and son or even the same person a couple of decades apart removed is

What this picture shows and what I love most about Bowie is the full ray of his humanity. His lasting gift is that he believed in all of us (“Give me your hands / because you are wonderful! Wonderful!”, He sang again as Ziggy in 1972) As a teenager desperately trying to avoid a certain, socially determined path, he taught me that what you get can be inspected and rejected, reused, made and redesigned. p>

Because of this, I feel like I loved him, someone I’ve never met.It’s been five years since Bowie died and that feeling has never gone I remember me very much was small and my mom asked if she cried when Elvis died after my parents shed tears when John Lennon was shot in 1980. The pop culture characters they grew up with were a repository of hope and a fundamental belief in those Humanity

“Oh yeah, I’ve been crying all day,” she replied. Now my own daughter is asking me the same question about Bowie and I can’t answer it without crying. The most likely explanation for this is that I’ve been since his death feeling a bit lost again, like I did as a kid Bowie was and is a guide for lonely people who are dying to connect with a dark constellation that they know are there but cannot see alone

Musician and writer Nick Currie, AKA Momus, did Bowie’s song “Where Are We Now?” in 2013 and immediately got an enthusiastic answer from the master: “This is so cool!” Currie tells me that as a teenager in the 1970s, in Bowie’s phase of rapid changes in looks, sound and style, he “seemed to grow with me, stretching me with every step sings about bullet-breaking ultraviolence, the maddening theme, the romantic European imagery of the heroes … and yet always so beautiful I still have a deep, deep wound about its disappearance. A Bowie-shaped hole ”

Still, Currie concludes, “It’s like I’ve accepted that what’s left of him is deep within me and so many others. He was distributed over all of us. It’s not a dead legacy, it’s something encouraging and.” Creative as it always was ”

Many of us have wondered where he is for the past five years when we really need him, but he has given us more than enough comfort in his life to help us through the rest of us through the grief, that spread over the airwaves on the day he died was spontaneous and perhaps unrepeatable. There was only one Bowie, but millions of us changed our lives because of him. In Paul Morley’s words, he showed us all “the importance of one distinctive “disobedient, resourceful action” if we just want to try

• Main picture published by Zebra One Gallery The exhibition Oswald Tschirtner! Everything revolves around balance is up to age 10 January at the Museum Gugging

David Bowie

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