Image via flickr
This is a very short note of thanks. Many, many more will come.
David Bowie died today and that's the end of that.
It is tempting to write that his legacy will extend for years beyond his life—and of course in many ways it will—but also, perhaps it can't. Pop art doesn't necessarily survive the loss of its greatest hero. He was an epoch machine and perhaps this is the end of the pop epoch.
Unlike most of his peers, who ended up trawling across the world every two years on giant tours and performing at overblown state occasions, Bowie never succumbed to the Hard Rock Café, the hall of fame, and the cheapening of rock 'n' roll as an art. Everyone else gave up, but the Thin White Duke refused to.
There is no VICE without Bowie, but not because we're special—that's because there is very little in the modern world that would exist without his influence. He is part of the smallest club in history: artists whose work didn't reflect the world, but rather the world reflected their art.
Bowie had, throughout his career, performed disappearing acts, staging dramatic final performances for Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke, retiring his most loved alter-egos when they were at their most creatively fertile. Today, he did it once more, retiring David Bowie before anyone had time to say goodbye.
Thanks for everything, David.
Now, go and watch this: