This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of days now, for obvious reasons. I was never a true Bowie fan, so I won’t claim to be just because of his sad and untimely death. Nor would I usually post something so seemingly tenuously beauty-related on the site, however as I hope you’ll see, this is actually with quite good reason.
I was lucky enough to have seen him perform at (the old) Wembly in 1999 at a gig called Net Aid (Live Aids younger, poorer, less popular cousin, I guess). Now in all honesty I was just there for George Michael and Robbie Williams who shared the bill. Oh yes and to help raise awareness for world poverty and support random musician and actors’ efforts to have third-world debt written off, of course. But something happened to me that night, something profound and magical. From the second Bowie appeared on the stage I was captivated. As were the rest of the (sizeable) crowd… as you’ll notice from this clip of that very same performance, tens of thousands fall into a reverential silence for much of the spellbinding performance. It’s pure awe, and I only wish the footage portrayed the electricity that emanated from this performance. He was engaging on a whole different level which at that tender age, I couldn’t quite grasp, but I knew was special and was something that would live in people’s hearts and minds for many, many years to come.
Yes he was (is, always will be) a legend, and many would say a style and fashion icon. I love now how he pushed the boundaries against the social norm back in the seventies, though was way to young (!) to fully appreciate that in my younger years, and I’ve always been a sucker for a man in makeup. And man, could he wear it well. But what I was aware of back then in 1999 is his beguiling presence – the engaging eyes and the wry smile that permeates the performance, growing in a crescendo of bliss towards the end – as if he was genuinely loving being there and wanting to give it everything he had. Of course the vocal performance is outstanding but it’s more than that – the way he seduces the whole audience with his enthralling pressence is something I now recognise as something we can, and should, all use in our everyday live.
Smile, and it’s very hard for the world not to smile with you. My grandma used to tell me that “smiling with your eyes” is how you tell if someone is genuinely smiling, and few things, to my mind, demonstrate that better than this performance. Engage, make eye contact and let your inner intent, delight and passion shine from within you. I can’t imagine that there was a single person in that stadium who wasn’t beaming like a loon from ear-to-ear during this performance. Joy and delight are contagious and it was, in every sense, thrilling.
I fell a little bit in love with Bowie right in the middle of this performance, sadly I never saw him perform again, but hope that a lesson can be learnt by all of us in terms of radiating your inner smile. And on a more superficial level, as I’m sure you’ll all agree ladies…. Damn he looks good!
Please watch, reflect and enjoy, and I hope it touches you as it did me at what is an otherwise very sad time as we face the loss of an icon, gone too soon but living on in the hearts of all those he touched.
Life’s short; radiate your own inner smiles and beauty people. Much love