Woke up to the news of David Bowie’s death. Dammit. I felt a connection to him in how his weirdness was just as kooky as mine and I loved how he wore it with such pride that I hoped to one day be just like him in that. I’ve only ever cried over the loss of celebrities two other times: Jim Henson and the suicide of Robin Williams. I will also cry when Fiona Apple and Tori Amos leave this world, but hopefully that won’t be until we are all in our golden years decades from now. But those three made such an impact in many ways on my psyche that caused these emotional responses to inside me when I heard of their passings. Henson’s and Williams’s was a twofold in that both of theirs were extremely shocking, especially Williams’s, as neither were expected in the slightest and both had been so influential into the molding of my personality.
I’m very much a lunatic Muppet come to life at times. I site Peanut, the puppet from Jeff Dunham, as being my spirit animal, but honestly it was my obsession with the Muppets that led me to love Peanut. As a kid, my parents would save money on a babysitter by taking me to Wherehouse records and rent me whatever tapes I wanted to get. See kids, there was a time BEFORE Netflix where you had to go to a physical location to search through a library of sorts for a movie, and you checked them out much like you would a book. Then depending on the video, you’d have a day or a week to return it. I was obsessed with the TV as it was the only friend I really had that didn’t get in trouble if it came to my house. My parents would get me whatever sort of junk food I wanted to gorge myself on for the night, was told to never answer or open the locked door, and if I answered the phone I was to tell them my parents were busy in the other room. I also had a fierce rottweiler that had a menacing bark. (Realistically, like most rotties and pibbles, she was just a cuddle bug who could be VERY easily won over with fries, so she was more of an illusion of protection than anything else) The videos I tended to get were any Muppet videos I could get my hands on that were of the original Muppet show. When Henson died, I felt this hollow part in my heart begin. His joy was no longer in the world and the fairytales he spun that spoke to me more than any Grimm did would no longer grow in numbers.
As I got older, my interests moved up to other things and one of them was “Labyrinth”, starring David Bowie. I always wanted to be Sarah, but I wanted to stay in that world because I have a love of alternate universes, especially ones with nonsense in them. (It wasn’t until I hit my late twenties that I realized my feelings were screaming volumes about me really wanting to get away from my house and my life and the abuse within it. It was pure escapism fantasy.) Bowie as the Goblin King was the best representation of God to me. He was wrathful, yet charming in how he got you to understand the consequences of your actions and wishes. Careful what you wish for, for you might just get it! I think his style of performance would be considered spot on for being a representation of “The Devil”, but I don’t see the Devil as being evil as well as real. The Devil is nothing more than an excuse used by humans to distance themselves from their misdeeds. YOU did those things, no else, and when Sarah says “You have no power over me”, she’s calling out the fact that SHE made the mistake, and acknowledging SHE made the mistake, and therefore shatters the illusion of “its the Devil’s fault” argument. Ahhhh, even at a young age my art brain was emerging! I do wish that the creature shop would work on doing more things like “Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth”. My love of whimsical fantasy worlds filled with silly nonsense, bad puns, wackiness, and delightfully creepy things molded me into the Strange Child that I am today and they are all rooted in Henson’s creations and Bowie’s performance.
Robin Williams inspired my love of comedy, as well as his gift at creating characters. I once wanted to be a character actor, and would have loved to be one of those people that you just say hi to and then step back as I go off on a comedic tornado of awesomeness like he used to. His openness with his struggles was also another thing I identified with. Not drugs but the mental stuff. His bravery in not hiding it made me not feel alone at times so when he passed in the way he did was soul crushing to me at the time.
This morning, hearing the passing of Bowie brought those same tears from Henson and Williams. He was an amazing artist and will be missed dearly in this world.
“As the pain sweeps through,
Makes no sense for you.
Every thrill is gone.
Wasn’t too much fun at all,
But I’ll be there for you-ou-ou
As the world falls down.”