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A Conversation with my 7 year old about Bowie (and cancer)

photo: Terry O'Neill, photographed for a magazine in Los Angeles in 1974.

Brushing my teeth at bedtime... Ella Pants comes and stands in doorway of the bathroom.

Hey mom, you know that guy in the cartoon ?

What cartoon? I ask (a little confused).

You know ,that guy in the cartoon, what’s his name? Michael Jackson?

(she points to a magazine I have on a pile of boxes in the hallway with David Bowie on front cover)

I laugh.

No that’s not Michael Jackson it’s David Bowie.

She says: well, you know what’s weird about him?

No I say.

Well, she says... everything about him is weird.

I laugh and say, well yes and isn’t it fantastic?

I then say, well he is one of my favourite artists of all times. I even wrote a university art history dissertation on him

Are you in love with him? She asks.

I say, well he was pretty amazing. A great artist, singer, songwriter, actor, painter etc

She asks- Did you ever meet him?

I ask, do you mean did I get to see him live? in a concert?

Yes, she says.

Well, yes I did (and I tell her that story). She is enthralled and asks... what did he look like? What did he sound like? What did he smell like? What did he taste like?

I laugh.

I say I wish I knew what he smelled and tasted like. I explain it was a concert and we sat far away so only saw and heard him. She asked how old I was then. I say, in my 20s.

Mom, would you marry David Bowie? she asks I explain that he was all ready married and also that he is no longer alive so I can’t marry him.

How did he die? She asks.