Reflections in 2016 – January

The year started well. I was in Australia. I was with my mum. The weather was unseasonably cool. And then I created a little piece of fan art that blew my socks off! I had been doing these little pieces of “art”, just little highlights to Simple Minds song lyrics that particularly struck a chord for one reason or another, or I thought could look really good if I applied a visual interpretation to them.

Just a few days into January, I created the work below. I took a beautiful painting of a Kyoto snow scene (artist unknown to me. I had just Googled “Kyoto in the snow” and that image seemed the most fitting) and blended it with a picture of Jim from the cover of Melody Maker of him standing (but bent forward) side profile in front of a Canadian flag. Okay, that bit bugged me, that what I would be using was a Canadian maple leaf rather than a Japanese maple leaf…but I had NO faith in my skills as a…”visual artist” to create any of it truly from scratch. But what I saw in my mind’s eye was pretty damn close to what I achieved.


I posted it on the visitor wall, and it was overlooked. Perhaps because the first time I posted it, I just linked to (what was then) my Tumblr blog. I was so proud of how it came out, I really wanted Jim to see it. Two days passed and nothing happened. I expressed my disappointment to my friend, Moonie. She said “post it again”. “Just put it up there again. Keep posting it until Jim sees it!”

And so (with a little bravado!) it went up again on what was the Monday night/Tuesday morning in Oz. When I awoke the next morning, I turned on my iPad and was bombarded with private messages and notifications. I can’t remember the figure now…30s…40s? A lot! Lol. PMs saying, “LARELLE! Wake up! Go to the Simple Minds page!!”, and me half asleep still thinking, “Why? What’s gone on? What have I done now?” Lol. (In amongst those notifications were likes and post notices from SMO.) And when I get there…my heart pounding in my chest a million beats per minute…this is what I see!


I do believe I feared my heart would give out! It was beating so fast. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was on a cloud!

I never expected THAT. I just hoped he’d like it, or even just leave a comment to say he did. What he did went far beyond that for me and it will remain one of the most amazing things ever.

A few days later, it was David Bowie’s birthday, and as he had done with his previous release two years earlier, he released a new album, Blackstar. To say I was excited was an understatement. I listened to it on Spotify on the night it was released. It was a winner for me, with a couple of exceptions. Of course, I had to ask Jim his thoughts on it. He was gracious and wordy in his reply. Again, not something I expected but immensely appreciated, especially given the gravity of what was about to happen.

My days of joy at this glorious start of the year came hurtling down with a crash upon the news of David Bowie’s death less than 48 hours later. I don’t think I had ever cried over the death of someone “famous” before. Well, that is not entirely true. I cried over the death of Elvis…not because Elvis had died, per se, but because my sister was upset and I thought my mum was going to be upset when she heard. I cried at the news of John Lennon’s death. Again, not so much because he had died, but because of the outpouring of grief from fans. And the same happened when Diana died.

But with David…it was so different! I cried because he was MY David. I never knew him personally, but I knew him through his music and I loved him. Not in a way that meant I was “in love” with him, or infatuated with him…but a love for what he stood for, what his music meant to me, how important he was in my life. I had lost my brother just a little over 12 months prior. His name was David also. When Bowie went, another of my David’s was taken away.

Oh, and how much more did I appreciate Jim taking the time to reply to me with his Blackstar review.


To be honest, the rest of January is a bit of a blur…stolen by grief. The first month of the year defined the pattern of the whole year, really.

Song of the month has to go to David Bowie…

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