Music by VICE

We Asked Fans in Sydney What David Bowie Taught Them About Life

Last night's event in Hyde Park was Australia's first public mourning.

by Greta Levy
14 January 2016, 1:44am

Face painting at last night's tribute in Hyde Park. All images by the author.

Four days have passed since David Bowie lost his 18-month battle with cancer. Fans everywhere have been paying their respects, including in Sydney, where last night throngs of people put on their best Bowie costumes and headed for Hyde Park. Organised by the Sydney Festival, it was the Australia's first large-scale public tribute.

In some ways Bowie's standing in popular culture is little surprising. After all, the guy made some pretty experimental music and represented some challenging ideas—and especially for the early 1970s. But this was also his strength. It's hard to listen to a complete Bowie album and not take something from the experience.

So as a small tribute, we walked around and asked a few mourners, what did David Bowie teach you?

Gary Brown, 47

He was how I got through my childhood. I grew up in a conservative house. It wasn't okay to be different. If you were wearing a pink shirt people instantly thought you were gay. David Bowie was the shining light of confidence that I needed and as you can see, I still embrace.

Laura Mccann, 21

That it's okay to dance no matter what! I'll miss Bowie so much. My cat is named Ziggy Stardust. He's lost a part of himself now that his father has died.

Jorja Scheibe, Sydney 16

What did I learn from David Bowie? So much! But mostly that it's okay to be odd and you should embrace it.

Chris James, 24

Well, among other things, you should always wax your balls. If you don't wax your balls tight pants won't fit. Next time you watch a David Bowie video, look at his crotch. There's no hair there, definitely waxed.

Dan Andrews, 44

I learned how to laugh while people are laughing at you. I was always bullied when I was younger. Life was bad. He was stronger than I was, and he showed me how to be strong.

Mat Henderson 39, Jess Sachs, 28

Matt: We actually met at a David Bowie concert back in 2007 and we've been friends since. He was someone who made misfits make sense. When you are an outsider you definitely latch on to him.

Jess: I could relate to him. I never could fit in at high school and he made a point of not fitting in.

Eight-year-old Hugo Jones with his dad

I really liked David Bowie. I loved his music and my favourite song is 'Space Oddity'. When I found out he had cancer before he died, I felt really sad.

Charlotte Hamlyn, 26

Don't trust the Goblin King with your baby brother! I also learned how to look fabulous when you wear your sparkling spandex, hence the outfit today.

John Summers, 64

He was different and true to himself, no matter what.

Rochelle Gerrie, 27

David Bowie taught me to be myself and to believe in myself. You can do whatever you want in this life.

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