They say these things come in threes and after the last week and change, I’m beginning to think there is some cosmic truth to such a thing.
First it was Bowie. He was the maestro of my younger days, back when big hair, attitude and cute girls were a matter of waking up. One of my favorite Bowie moments is from the summer of ’84. I was seventeen and right in the middle of having the whole world figured out. I’d gone into town with a girl and we ended up going back to my Aunt’s apartment building in Long Island City. We grabbed some Chinese and a six pack and I figured out the piss poor lock to the roof and we made camp up there, me and her and Bowie with the panorama of Manhattan smiling back at us from across the East River. We ate and we drank and we laughed and then we slow danced to Bowie, and sometimes it feels like all of that happened on Mars. And sometimes I can still feel her pressed against me as Bowie did his thing and we moved into ours with the Trade Center keeping watch. It was always going to be that way, and Bowie was always going to take us home.
Then Alan Rickman went and left us. This brilliant scoundrel of a man was on loan to us from the other side of the pond for works that spanned decades, creating moments that will only prosper with time. I was remiss- unfortunately so- for not including Rickman in my recent list of “Bad Guys I Love”, but the truth is, Rickman was nobody’s foil. It speaks to his incredible talents that he could not be typecast in spite of the fact he made a wonderful badass in flicks such as Die Hard and Harry Potter. His work in movies such as Love Actually, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Bob Roberts- to list just a few- stands as testament to his range and his mercurial ability to take the words and transform them into flesh and blood and heart and soul. As with all great thespians, his voice does not go quiet simply because he is gone. His talents get to be enjoyed by the rest of the galaxy, because now he’s on loan from all of us.
Glenn Frey was from a time when songs were so much more than a collection of lyrics and melodies pieced together into an agreeable enough thing. Frey sang stories, great big ones like Hotel California that made us think on the mysteries; and simple ones like Take it Easy that throw us back to a time when picking up and taking off was a very real part of our everyday existence. Frey could sing a small club to closing time and he could close down an eighty thousand seat stadium the very same way. Because his message and his talent was honest as a summer rain, as strong as a prayer in the desperate hours. His ability to take us on a trip to wherever he was going speaks to the magical qualities of music, and why it matters so very much. I was emailing Christy when she brought up Frey’s passing, and I could feel the sadness in the brief passage she shared with me on how much his music meant to her as a young girl. She talked about how she and her Aunt would belt out Eagles songs in her Aunt’s jeep as they moved down the road and I remember thinking to myself how beautiful a thing it is, to have memories that come out of nowhere and hang on like that. Forever.
The angels won the week. I’d damn them for stealing from us, but I can’t rightly say I blame them for wanting such fine company.