‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him’: Manchester Bowie fan reacts to Starman’s death

A Manchester hair-stylist who runs a David Bowie Facebook page has spoken of his shock at the singer’s death on Sunday.

Bowie, seen as one of the most influential British pop artists, died on Sunday at the age of 69 after suffering from cancer, following the release of his 25th album just two days earlier.

Derek Eardley, who has been a lifelong fan of the artist, said Bowie’s music and image had been the ‘biggest thing in his life’ growing up.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, simply,” Derek, who runs the David Bowie – The Face of Reality page, told MM.

“His music was literally a lifeline for me.

“My response is one of great shock. I think everybody is – we had no idea he was that ill. He will be sadly missed.

“The Official David Bowie page has closed down out of respect for his family and my page has rocketed since his death. 

“I’ve been very busy answering all the questions of the fans trying to give them updates, because everybody is in shock.”

He spoke of his personal affinity with Bowie, which began in his youth and shaped the person that he was to become in adulthood.

“Personally, like a lot of people, he was the biggest thing I had in my life,” he said.

“From my personal experience he influenced everything, from my music taste to the way I dressed, the way I looked and did my hair.”

Bowie stellar career was defined by a refusal to stand still, and was punctuated by the creation of characters, such as Ziggy Stardust, who he famously retired in 1973 after the success of albums such as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The Londoner also had a successful acting career, and inspired his fans through his idiosyncratic fashion sense.

“It’s because he was unusual, I think,” Derek explained, when asked about Bowie’s widespread influence.

“I was picked on at school and therefore, for me it was something different I could identify with and get into as a sort of escapism really.

“The attraction for young people was that you can be different and, eventually, be accepted. I notice he still continues to have an appeal.

“A lot of my clients as a hair stylist, particularly younger men, who have heard of him, come in and say they think he’s cool.”

“Even with Bowie himself it took a long time for him to be accepted, with his mime and his personas. He was totally unique, from his music, his costumes, his staging, make up – it was theatre.

“It wasn’t just the music, and that’s what made him famous.”

The news of Bowie’s death was met with widespread sadness and disbelief, with the artist’s latest album, Blackstar, being released just days earlier, to much critical acclaim.

Derek revealed the scale of the response his departure has attracted on his Facebook page alone, testament to how the artist has had an impact on so many lives.

“The response has been overwhelming on the page I just keep getting hundreds of notifications every time I look at it, which is no surprise really,” he said.

“The thing I find through running the page is that he helps people in their young days, growing up.

“A lot of the younger fans have problems fitting in, have been bullied and feel different in some way, but feel they can relate to Bowie.” 

Image courtesy of Thierry Ehrmann, with thanks

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