Thursday, 14 January 2016

Always and Forever: A Tribute to Bowie and Rickman

On the 21st February 1946, a boy was born in the London town of Acton, and was later named Alan Rickman. Almost a year later, just a few miles away in Brixton, another boy was born called David Jones. He would later change his last name to David Bowie. Both of these names are obvious and, of course, you may already know by now that they passed away from cancer on the 14th and 10th of January this year, respectively.

Usually I wouldn't comment on celebrity deaths. Lots have come and gone as this blog has existed - a whole host of Doctor Who stars, Christopher Lee, Robin Williams - I can't name them all, because I don't remember everyone who dies. You can't remember that. What you do remember is the good times. And boy, did we have some.

David Bowie was a musical godsend, a fashion icon and one of the most innovative, continually reinventing artists in British popular culture. His bizarre fashions have gone on to uniquely shape not only our culture, but Global culture, and his songs have entered the public record as classics that rival the Beatles in popularity. Even till his last days, Bowie was releasing regular albums and dealing in the avant-garde. Years after the heydey of his biggest 70s and 80s hits, they formed an integral part of my childhood and my teenage years, and I and many others would not be the same without him.

Alan Rickman originally decided to pursue acting once he left University. However, at almost 40 years old he decided to join RADA and train professionally - and almost overnight, with the role of villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard, he became a Hollywood sensation. His unique voice, hair and incredible poetic wit carried his career and work from strength to strength, leading to role in both Hollywood films and an impressive array of work back in the UK, including cult classic Love, Actually and, of course, the career-defining role of Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise which, for many including myself, was his first appearance on television. Rickman was a cultural treasure, and someone who you kind of just assumed would be here forever.

The past few days have been a bit of a gut-punch, not just here but around the world. I don't particularly pretend to have any kind of significance in these matters, but I needed to make tribute to two men who helped to define who I am and did the same for multiple generations of people.


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