In life, few of us will pack in as much, or be as ground-breaking, as David Bowie.
Being a woman of a certain age, his music has been with me, well, forever! Part of his appeal, part of his talent, part of his genius was the manner in which he was able to effortlessly move between characters. Ziggy Stardust. The Thin White Duke. Mod. Aladdin Sane. Pierrot (Ashes to Ashes video, embracing the post-punk/synth-pop era readily as the scenery changed again). Never standing still. Shape-shifting. Evolving.
In life, most of us go through many fewer scene changes. Teenager. University student. Employee. Spouse. Parent.
In Second Life, though, we have the capacity to be our own Bowie, changing skins, hairstyles, clothes, look at will. And with that, often, we reinvent our Second Life character.
Some of David Bowie is certainly in Second Life. Gender-fluidity, for example, was a large cultural change he managed to effect in Britain (and around the world), and thus have an effect society. Without his look, his words, would the ‘Is that a boy or a girl?’ image of him singing ‘John, I’m only dancing’ on British TV show Top of the Pops, and the outpourings of homophobic attitude at the time, would not have led to a future Top of The Pops less than a decade later when macho lorry drivers would say, of Boy George, ‘he might be a poof, but I’d sleep with him’. Bowie changed people’s mindsets to the very nature of sexuality.
Many people now embrace the fluidity of sexuality within their Second Lives. We change our look as often as Ziggy, the lad insane, once did.
Rest in Peace, David. The shape-shifting possibilities of Second Life owe something to you.