As the World Falls Down: My lifelong crush on David Bowie

I remember seeing Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth” on VHS when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was love at first sight-literally. Next to Wentworth and Darcy, I have been in love with 2 of Henson’s creations for the majority of my life: Kermit the Frog and Jareth the Goblin King. The soundtrack of said film alone has been a constant favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. It was one of the first CDs I purchased (besides U2’s Achtung Baby). Bowie is dangerously sexual and seductive in the film and is meant to be so. As a child, I fell in love with the Goblin King because I wanted to live in that world-I wanted to play with the fairies and Ludo. I wanted to run around in the Escher drawing. I wanted to threaten misbehaving goblins with the Bog of Eternal Stench. As I moved into my teen years (specifically around 12 years of age), the ball scene became my favorite. I wanted to dance with the Jareth and I know it’s a fantasy of many a girl my age, older and the younger generation. There’s a reason this film endures and it’s not because women everywhere are in love with David Bowie and his tight pants (well, we are, but that’s not the reason). It’s because it’s a tale about how hard it is for girls to become women-it’s painful, it’s hard, and it’s dangerous. And the dangers are unseen and untold. Jareth is not only dangerous because he is a very attractive male, because he is the ONLY male available. He is powerful, he knows your weaknesses but at the same time, he is weak as well. It’s a very sensual tale of seduction that almost occurs but never does (much to many a female disappointment). Again, because the female in question is a teenager, but we always hope that somewhere, somehow, when we get older, we meet our own Goblin King who takes us away. Because the world of becoming an Adult is scary-it’s riddled with choices that no matter which one you choose, it’s the wrong choice. Life is increasingly unfair as you age and you find out that the opposite sex is not only something you need to be wary of, but that you like the danger it contains. And that you do eventually have to give up playing with toys and living in a fantasy world (well, it’s recommended that one does this, but I have yet to divest myself fully from this and highly recommended that neither do you).

Actually, now that I am older, it’s amazing how much sexuality is in the film and was allowed to stay in it. I’m shocked it didn’t get a higher rating just based on the tightness of Bowie’s pants alone. As a child, you are aware that there is this undercurrent of something there, you’re just not sure what it is, but it definitely becomes more apparent as one gets older and more sexually aware. Because all of the sudden, instead of enjoying the story, you want the Goblin King to come and kiss you. Or kiss the girl in the film (and become angry that he doesn’t). Actually, I tended to get angry at Sarah for the choices she made (always poor choices in my opinion) and wanted to smack her until she made the right ones. Or at least be able to step into her role and make the decisions I know would make me extremely happy (basically, choose the Goblin King-forget about the baby). Then you pick up on the tight pants, the extremely low cut shirts (open of course), and all that leather. And should one mention the riding crop and swagger stick? Jareth was a pseudo Regency-Steampunk Bad Boy before that was even a thing. With Tina Turner Hair and makeup that only seems to make him seem more feral and dangerous than anything else. Of course, this was before his teeth were fixed, so the jagged teeth actually worked in his favor. Plus his two different colored eyes were truly magical. I’m pretty sure that David Bowie is the only man that looked good with those kind of eyes. Of course, he had cheekbones that were just as sharp and deadly. Then there were the smirks. As one gets older, you tend to live for them because you come to realize that Jareth is snarky and full of wit and quite possibly the magical version of Darcy and Rochester rolled into one. Yes, he’s the villain of the film, but then again, didn’t he do everything that Sarah asked for? Is he really the villain or did he just grant her every wish and whim only to be thanked by constant complaints? Truly, what was there to complain about?

Plus the music-the soundtrack itself is timeless and pure Bowie. As the World Falls Down is very much a love ballad, but sad and poignant. I confess that I have the entire lyrics memorized and sing it every single time I hear it-I really can’t help it. It’s a very beautiful song. And, if you listen carefully, it’s based on a waltz, which is why it’s so simple and seductive (and makes one want to twirl). It’s full of sweetness and sadness with a tinge of regret at times and while it’s not my favorite Bowie song, it’s pretty close. There’s a reason so many women have wanted to dance to this song at their weddings. The music video for it is also just as lovely as it pays homage to the film but also is not wholly about the film, which makes the video (and the song) continue to work after so many years. It was very easy to go from “Labyrinth” to “The Man who Fell to Earth” to “Ziggy Stardust” and other films and albums of Bowie. His voice has always been seductive to me. Beautifully resonant and filled with emotional depth. Plus, he sometimes included saxophone (which he played) on some of his songs, and I just enjoyed his talent as a singer and musician. He was an artist. I always thought it was a pity and he and Prince never did a song together (but could the World have ever actually handled that much seduction and talent in one song? Probably not). Yes, David Bowie is not everyone’s cup of tea. He had songs on some of his albums that are very jazzy and all instrumental. He constantly challenged himself and never wanted to be boxed in. But he was always the Goblin King at the same time. He was seductive and dangerous and vulnerable and slightly bored with reality. So he created his own with each and every album. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of “Labyrinth.” Either the film nor the soundtrack. Sometimes I need to escape into that world as Henson created a very beautifully dark faerie tale for girls and something in me will always need it. Just like something in me will always whisper, when I am alone in front of a mirror, “I wish the Goblin King would come and take me away right now.” I am always a little saddened when it never happens though.

When Jim Henson died, I admit that some of my childhood died. After all, I loved and still love Kermit the Frog. He doesn’t sound quite the same, but at least the spirit is still there, which is why I love that character. But when Bowie died, I was devastated. He was, after all, my first major teenage crush. I don’t think I ever stopped being in love with the Goblin King, I just expanded it to be in love with the man behind the character as well. I respected his music and always considered him to be a terrific actor. The man had some serious talent there, though not many people appreciated it. But his music was an art form in of itself and I feel that’s what I will miss the most. I will miss the next new Bowie album coming out. I know he left recordings of songs and there’s always unreleased stuff that can come out, but his evolution as an artist ended. That’s what I will miss. He was always way ahead of the curve and songs he wrote in the 1990s are more relevant now than when they were first released. He was the Goblin King in that regard-he was magical. He saw beauty in all races, all colors, all people.

But at least we live in an age where if I’m feeling particularly stressed or blue, I can pull up a song or album up on my iPhone by Bowie and let his voice relax me and take me away from reality for a little while. And while I can never get the Goblin King to come and take me away like I’ve always wanted him to, at least I can turn on his voice whenever I wish, which is as close to true magic as I’ll ever be able to do.

The Folly of Letter Writing & A Few Poems

As someone who loves Austen, one knows that all correspondence during this period was done by letter writing (unless done by visiting in person). Now in the electronic age that we reside in, letter writing seems a very quaint and old fashioned way of communication. One that I still feel deserves some revival and some credit in a way. After all, does not one’s pulse quicken when Elizabeth Bennett reads Darcy’s letter that day at Rosing Park? Or feel one’s heart break when Marianne Dashwood writes letter upon letter to John Willoughby and receives nary a reply? I confess that when I am feeling low, I turn to Captain Frederick Wentworth’s letter of his love to Anne Elliot in Persuasion. That, I have always felt, to be the epitome of romantic confession at it’s finest in Austen’s writings. And I confess that I, in turn, have used letter writing myself, much to great disappointment and heartbreak.

In today’s age of the dating scene, many meet on-line or in clubs or bars. Dining out seems to be the norm for any social interaction these days and quite frankly, I must confess that I’m not that kind of woman. I’m afraid that while most of my sex are fine with the social conventions of the day, I’d rather be much happier with a man who’d be willing to take me to a museum. I know it seems rather odd and a bit strange, but when you think really hard about it, it doesn’t seem very strange at all. To me, the modern social dating scene is very much like the Theatre-a lot of dressing up, a lot of acting and hidden meaning. I don’t want to go out to put on a mask and be surrounded by players in the pseudo fancy dress party we call the social scene (yes, yes, I am well aware of Shakespeare’s “All the World’s a Stage” quote). To me, how can this lead to any meaningful relationship (and I have given this much thought since I’ve done nothing but think about this over the years). While I enjoy dressing up and acting a part on the stage, I don’t wish to play a part all the time and I do feel that our modern society demands that we constantly portray a version of ourselves that is false and not our true selves. Perhaps we do this for protection. Perhaps because Society, in general, has become so superficial and jaded that we can no longer recognize truth and only appreciate falseness.

To counter this false reality, I want to be not only honest with myself, but also honest with any man that I am interested in. Yes, I am sure that I would enjoy going out to a fancy restaurant and dressing up. I’m not too unusual in that regard that I would not enjoy some sort of romantic dining experience. But I don’t think that should be the only basis of a relationship. Nor should bar hopping or clubbing (neither of which I find particularly interesting). Yes, I would rather go to a museum or for a stroll in a park or even fishing (yes, some girls do fish).  I am also too set in my ways (and too old at this point) to demand attention all the time. I enjoy having time to myself and would think that any man I chose to be with would also appreciate alone time as well.

As to how this ties in to letter writing, I have written two such letters in my life that expressed very personal and deep emotions to two very different men.  One I did seeking answers (and also closure) which I never received and probably never will. Did this person hurt me? Yes, absolutely and he did so either intentionally or unintentionally (perhaps a mixture of both). But I have long since forgiven him and have never demanded an answer or explanation from him. Life is too short and too precious to waste time on someone who clearly didn’t care enough to even say he was sorry. The second I wrote very recently to someone I very much care for basically telling him that I do like him but I, being the nerdy person that I am, would much rather go to something like a museum than a fancy restaurant. I should also mention that said letter was four typed pages long and I tried very hard to be extremely witty but feel that I failed at it. For by my reckoning, this man has had said letter for over 24 hrs and is either shocked and still digesting said letter or will now hate the very sight of me. I am well aware of my shortcomings in the looks department, but considering that I am very kind and very smart, I am hoping that he would at least be kind enough to see that an outing to a museum is pretty tame in comparison to what he normally does.

So was this a smart move on my behalf? I am not sure. It was pure folly to be sure, but born out of frustration as well. This man in question would be upset at any other single gentleman paying any sort of attention to me. And it boils down to if he doesn’t wish other men paying call to me, then there’s clearly only one logical solution-become the suitor. If you do not wish me to have other suitors, then you must woo me. Considering that I do not want fancy dinners nor late nights out drinking, and would be more content with a trip to a bookstore or renting a film, I’d say I was fairly easy going sort of woman. Not that a fancy dinner or two wouldn’t be warranted-I’d like some modern taste of romance thank you very much. But if I had to chose between spending time in a boat on a lake fishing or going to a club, I’d chose the boat each and every time. Even though this would mean I’d be wearing very casual clothing, no jewelry, no makeup (except sunscreen), and most likely be wearing a hat with my hair in a ponytail. Basically, dressed for practicality, not to be cute or sexy.

Now, I did give this man my blog address and I do hope that he reads this post, if only to understand me a little bit more. But to also see that this is who I am-I am a writer. Now, I’ve been busy working of late which has prevented much writing, but I plan on doing some writing to make up for that. Both on this blog and on my novel. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish to spend some time with him because I really do. I really fancy him even though he drives me insane, is unlike anyone I’ve ever met, makes me laugh, and tells me that I am beautiful. That in itself is very seductive to any female.

The Poems:

What do you want of me?

I am more than a friend but less than a lover.

I have no clue why you compliment my eyes to others

Yet tease me so mercilessly. I do not know what you want of me.

You talk to me, confide in me.

Yet I have no loving sighs, no sweet kisses to sustain me.

You have the general nickname for all the girls

And yet a few special ones for me.

But you have nicknames for others as well. I wish you’d tell me

What  you want of me.

I grow frustratedly bothered at inconvenient times.

You stare-and I stare back. A game of who looks away first.

Sometimes it’s me and at others you.

Again, what do you want of me?

 

 

I slept ill, legs constantly moving

Refusing to remain still while cruel images

Filtered through my mind’s playback.

Comparisons made-cruel things those.

I can never compare to others.

They are far more lovely, more thin than I.

Yes, my clothes are loose fitting, yet always neat and tidy.

Still, you made allusions to a preference-a more skin tight appearance.

How cruel you are lately!

So very cruel and mean! No longer kind and caring.

Gone is the man I feel for.

Where is the sweet love that worried about my wellbeing?

Now there is a vain, pompous man in his place

That cares more about his looks and how he is seen than how

He treats others. His jests have gone from airy lightness to sharp pains.

I need to fall out of love

It must be so. Your actions have made is easier

For you treat me so badly with your cruel teasing that

My heart is breaking.

My soul is wounded and cut very deeply.

I am bleeding rivulets of tears.