Thursday’s David-Bowie-Is-No-Longer-With-Us News

Sick of David Bowie news? Too bad. Get over it.In this over-stimulated, information-saturated world, Bowie’s death is Big News on the level of Elvis, Lennon, Cobain and Jackson. He was an artist who mattered greatly.

In this over-stimulated, information-saturated world, Bowie’s death is Big News on the level of Elvis, Lennon, Cobain and Jackson. He was an artist who mattered greatly and his death is important to not just music but culture in general.

  1. Start with Billboard’s massive tribute to Bowie.
  2. What was Iman trying to tell us?
  3. Angie Bowie speaks about her breakup with Bowie 35 years ago.
  4. These church bells paid tribute to Bowie.
  5. Elton John performed “Space Oddity” in tribute is old friend.
  6. And Madonna covered “Rebel Rebel” in concert.
  7. Ricky Gervais penned this about Bowie, who was a big fan.
  8. Is Tilda Swinton set to play Bowie in a Ziggy Stardust-based bio-pic?

Finally, here’s another example of the kind of email I’ve been getting this week.

Hey Alan,

On what you posted recently about getting a strong inexplicable urge to finesse and post a blog on Bowie shortly before his passing.  No logical explanation, most would call it serendipity.   Or timing, or fate, or your subconscious merely stitiching together random things that you may know about and kind of drawing its own conclusions.  Perhaps it’s heightened consciousness, though no, not to the heights of true Nirvana.  

Anyway that kind of stuff happens to me, an Aspie, a lot. Many on the autism spectrum are quite a lot more sensitive to stimuli than normal (as in people not on the autism spectrum). But I always listen and try to go in the direction that I am feeling pushed by this cosmic urgency.

One particularly memorable instance: I had a neutered male cat name Druli, (pronounced ‘drooly’ who was at least half-Birman.  (Birmans essentially look like long-haired Siamese cats with blue eyes and pointed colouring, but much stockier, and with white paws.  They are often confused with the Ragdolls which are even larger, but they have white markings on the face, which is disallowed in the Birman breed).  

Anyway.  He moved back with me from the farthest reaches of a logging town in Northwest BC, all the way across the country until I re-settled in my home province of Ontario. A few years of bumping around later and I found and bought a house.  But I was away a lot, and could tell he was lonely. 

So I decided to get him a girlfriend.  I was able to locate a nearby breeder of Birman cats and asked about retired breeding stock.  The owner was getting out of the business and had some retired queens available, so I went to check them out.  All of them were already declawed, a horrendous practice of which I do NOT approve, but the owner of the cats had not produced them.  She bought them from a breeder in Buckingham, PQ.

First, she showed me a sweet female a little further along in years, but Moiselle was already spoken for.  Then she showed me two queens from one of Moiselle’s last litters – Diva, who looked just like her mom, and a tiny little runt named Lily.  I kid you not, Lily looked like your average 5-year-old’s drawing of a cat.  

Now had I been looking for a cat for ME, I probably would have gone with the more correct but snotty Diva.  But the cat I was choosing today was meant to be Druli’s companion for the remainder of his life, and his gentle nature combined with that of the arrogant  Diva would be a problem.  

Then I looked at Lily.  Tiny, scrawny, barely weighing over 4 1/2 lbs, with conformation so terrible that had that same combo of faults shown up in a horse I was asked by a potential buyer to assess, I would have told them to run the other way.  Fast.  But Lily had both assertiveness and lack of ego about her.  So I chose her.  

Now, part of the process of adopting a former cattery queen is that the cat MUST be spayed, so the person getting the cat – usually for free, as I did – cannot profit from her in the future.  I knew Lily had pumped out three litters of kittens, approximately 3 kittens per litter, for her owner.  Those kittens would have sold for approx $500 apiece as Lily, conformationally fucked up as she was, supposedly had good bloodlines and was put to a good stud.  So Lily would have made her owners a good chunk of money…until she stopped getting pregnant.

So it only behooved both me, and the cat, to get her spayed, and ASAP.  I picked up Lily on a Thursday evening, and stopped by my vet to ask if I could leave her there to get spayed.  They paled.  ‘Oh no’, they said, squirming, ‘take her home for a couple of weeks, give her a chance to get settled in first.’

Ohhhhhkay.  So another 10 minutes later and I was opening her carrier door.  Druli was sitting nearby watching in mild interest as Lily, about 1/3 his size, came out of her carrier, looked around, and just completely ignored him as she set about her inspection of her new house.  As she did patrol, Druli followed her around, completely smitten. He never hissed or growled at her, never lifted a paw to her.  He was in love.

Things went so well,l that I called the vet the next day to tell them that Lily was settled in, so how soon could I bring her in for her spay?

“Uhhh….you can bring her in this Tuesday morning and pick her up at the end of the day.”

Tuesday comes and I drop off Lily at the vet.  Mid-afternoon I get a call.  The surgery had gone well, but they found something inside her.  

Aw shit.  Now what?!

Well, it was a huge-ass lump on her uterine horn, about the size of a ping-pong ball, so at first they thought it was a resorbed fetus.  That would definitely account for her not getting pregnant.  But they also thought it might be an extra kidney or even, possibly, a set of retained testes – which would have made Lily a hermaphrodite.  Aren’t hermaphrodites usually sterile? They were still scratching their heads as they incised the mysterious mass.

And guess what it was?  A HUGE fucking gigantic abscess, all set to blow and spew pus and nasty crap into her abdominal cavity, which would have lead to peritonitis and from there, death, within days.  And lodged in the very middle of this abscess was a teeny tiny li’l piece of straw, just like the kind the stud tom was bedded on.  God only knows for sure how it got there but I think it’s obvious.

So.  Had I not listened to that little niggling voice telling me to get Lily in to get spayed, ASAP – had I listened to the vet’s office telling me to wait two weeks before bringing her in – I either would have woken up to find a dead or dying Lily.  But I listened to that voice, and she made it very clear that she was quite happy in her new home, and disaster was circumvented by a timely spay and $650 excision from my wallet.  Ouch.

And now? Sadly Druli is long gone, I had him put down at home in 2011.  But Lily, whom I adopted at the age of 5 1/2 years is now 13 and the senior cat here, and still only weighs between 4 1/2 and 5lbs.  And she now has a companion cat of her own, a big fluffy showgirl who clearly did not want to be a mommy…but that’s another story.

So that’s the end of the kitty segment of this story. But always, always, ALWAYS listen to what that little nagging voice, whatever it is, is telling you to do.  It may not make sense at the time, it rarely does. But things will work out for the best in the end and all will be revealed.  Trust me on this.

Now, the hypothesis about it being liver cancer that felled Bowie…I wouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve known two people who were felled by liver cancer.  It seems a mixed blessing in that although it is extremely painful, it is also extremely fast in the later stages.  One of these people died within 2 weeks of being diagnosed; the other was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer on a Thursday and was dead the following Monday.  He had only been feeling moderately unwell prior to then.

–Susan

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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