Monday, January 11, 2016

Goodbye, Goblin King

     I was very sad to hear that David Bowie passed away last night. I felt more sadness than I would've expected to, considering that I didn't actually know him personally. But I think his death has touched me more than that of other icons because some of the things he's created have held special places in my heart.

     First, Labyrinth (I just today learned that it's called Labyrinth and not The Labyrinth like I always thought) is one of my favoritest (yes, that's a word) movies ever. My sister and I must've watched it about 80 million times. I think the 81 millionth time is going to have to happen soon. As much as I love the whole movie, including the ending, I have to say, "Sarah, what were you thinking?" Jareth was super awesome and was going to give you the world, and you had to be all nit-picky about him being a bad guy and all. Details.

     Okay, so maybe I'm in love with the Goblin King. Sure he was evil, but just a little bit evil. He wasn't ALL bad. It's not like he was going to kill Toby. He was just going to turn him into a goblin. But he would've been a prince. That's not so bad, is it? And he was going to make Sarah queen. And Jareth is a sexy name. He gets points for the name alone. And those pants. Points for the pants. And when they danced in her dream to As the World Falls Down? Yay. And his voice. Points for the voice. Come on, what was Sarah's problem?

     Okay, so it's possible I'm a bit biased. I am in love with vampires, after all. And really, when you think about it, what's the difference between a vampire and a goblin king? Hot sexy vampires, hot sexy goblins--totally the same thing. Right up my alley.

     All right, I'm getting off topic. The point isn't goblin love, but that Labyrinth is something very special to me and David Bowie helped to give it to me, so I thank him for the warm fuzziness it brings me.

     I'm not a mega fan of David Bowie's music. Some of it is just like--eh, it's okay. But there are of course some songs that are special to me personally. I remember dancing to many of his songs at various goth clubs, goth nights, and eighties nights. "I'm Afraid of Americans" was a particular favorite among goths--the dance floor was always super crowded when that one came on.

     "China Girl" is a particularly special song to me for an interesting reason. Back in my early twenties my friends and I would spend practically every Saturday at a nearby bar for karaoke night. The bar was in walking distance so we could all get happily wasted, sing karaoke all night, and then stumble home. Good times.

      Pretty much every woman on the planet who's ever spent 5 minutes in a bar knows that going to one can feel like you're putting yourself at the mercy of every sleazy guy within a hundred mile radius. I used to wish they had bars that had an upper age limit so young women could go out without the middle aged men harassing them all the time. Not that the 20-something men were all perfect gentlemen, but I personally have had more issues with men twice my age than the ones my own age.

     There was this one fifty-something man named Mike who came to karaoke night every week and called himself Mike "The Diamond." I'm not kidding. He always sang "China Girl". Always. Without fail. Sometimes twice in one night. He was always hitting on me and girlfriends and just straight up driving me nuts. I tried to give him subtle hints to go away, but he wasn't taking them.

     One night I was sitting at a table with my old friend from high school, Josh, who I hadn't seen in awhile. We were talking when The Diamond came up to me and got right in my face and said something. I don't remember exactly what he said, but to a casual observer he appeared friendly, but to someone he'd been harassing for a few weeks (me) it was intrusive and rude. Not to mention the fact that I was sitting and he was standing, so his crotch was about two inches from my face. Not cool. That was the last straw for me, so I told him to leave me the F alone (only I used the actual word.) He acted all surprised and offended like I was being unreasonable and witchy. But it worked. He forever ignored me and the rest of my girlfriends (though unfortunately not the other female patrons, but at least he left me and my friends alone). Yay for getting rid of the creep.

     In case you're wondering--yes, this story has a point.

     After The Diamond walked away with his ego bruised I was really worried that Josh would think I was a crazy witch for yelling at this guy who appeared to be being nice to me, since Josh didn't know that he'd been harassing me for weeks. But even before I explained the history Josh cheered me on and said he thought it was totally awesome that I stood up for myself. Yay. Josh and I later started dating, then moved in together, then got engaged. The song "China Girl" became a running joke between Josh and I--even years after we stopped going to karaoke night. Josh would randomly play the song and do a hilarious impression of The Diamond singing it and I would yell and cover my ears until the song was over.

     Sadly, Josh passed away nine years ago. To my surprise, I suddenly starting loving "China Girl" and now listen to it all the time. It reminds me of Josh and the better times we had together. Josh also really loved some of David Bowie's other songs (more than I did actually). So I guess that Bowie's passing makes me feel particularly sad because it makes me think of my own losses too.

     So, thank you David Bowie (always my Goblin King) for your wonderful contributions to music, movies, art and the world. Rest in Peace. My condolences and best wishes to family, friends, loved ones, and weird crazy fans like myself.