Goodbye Spaceman, Farewell Headmaster

In light of the recent announcements on the passing of two extraordinary men, I felt it necessary to tribute a post in their name. David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Both claimed by cancer at the age of 69. To be barely recovered from the news of Bowie’s passing, only to be hit with another wave of sadness upon hearing about the passing of one of my favorite actors, it’s crazy.

The news of Rickman’s death had caught me entirely by surprise. Just before mid-day, I was sitting at my desk and received a call from my mother, who was working from home. She asked if I was getting ready to go to lunch, I replied with “Soon”. Then in an oh-by-the-way sort of fashion, she mentioned she had heard Alan Rickman had passed away today, also from cancer and also at the age of 69. I was in disbelief. Much like with Bowie, any sign of illness had been carefully hidden. It was as if the cancer had just sprung up from nowhere and stolen the lives of two talented men. Once I was off the phone, I immediately googled Alan Rickman and briefly scrolled through the articles.

Many people have appreciated Rickman’s acting over the years, he was as popular for his stage appearances as he was for his movies roles. I first recall seeing Rickman in the movies Die Hard and Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves, where he played Hans Gruber and the Sheriff of Nottingham respectively. I discussed the news with friends during my lunch, one friend mentioned the movie Truly Madly Deeply as her first encounter with Alan Rickman. I had not seen the movie, one of his earlier ones, just a year before Robin Hood.

I spent the next week hunting down Alan Rickman movies, to rewatch or watch for the first time. While Netflix did not have a huge selection, it did have quite a few and many I had not seen. Among them: CBGB, Bottle Shock, Blow Dry, and Gambit(not to be confused with the X-Men character). Netflix also had Galaxy Quest and Love Actually, the one I have owned on VHS for some time and the other I had recently watched over the holidays. Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, my mother and I even watched several of the Harry Potter films. So skipping those this time, I watched Galaxy Quest, CBGB and Bottle Shock all in one night and it was great to see the many different roles of such a fantastic actor.

There has never been a movie of Alan Rickman’s that I have not liked and now I’ve added a few more to that list.

By Grabthar’s hammer, you will be missed! Farewell, Headmaster.

As previously mentioned, the news of Rickman followed swiftly on the heels of another obituary–that of music icon David Bowie. His death setting the precedence of surprise for that week. My first encounter (if you could call it such) was through the movie Labyrinth, where he played the Goblin King Jareth. It was one of the movies I adored as a child. I had all the songs memorized. It was not until I was older that I learned Bowie was so much more than dance magic. I got into his music, first with the 80s songs that my mother loved (China Girl, Let’s Dance, Modern Love) and then into his older songs (Space Oddity, Changes, Heroes). I loved it all.

He was a master at reinventing his musical style and his own style. Even going as far as inventing alter egos for himself based on themes from his music, leading to a documentary and film revolving around one such alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The documentary and film both with the same name: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1973/1979.

I’m ashamed to say, I have seen very few of his movies and those that I have were limited to minor characters or cameos like The Prestige or Zoolander. I now plan to go back and watch as many as I can:The Man Who Fell to Earth, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Basquiat

But one cannot mention Bowie without also discussing his eyes. Or rather the colors, yes, plural–more than one color. The right eye blue and the left black. While there is a rare genetic explanation(Heterochromia) for this occurrence in some. Such was not the case with David Bowie. The left eye was actually damaged(punched in the face) by his best friend and future music partner, George Underwood. The muscles in Bowie’s left eye responsible for contracting the iris were paralyzed, causing the pupil to remain fully dilated, permanently giving him two eyes with different sized pupils(Anisocoria). His eye colors had always been one of the many fascinating things about him.

I hope you’re floating peacefully far above the moon. Goodbye Spaceman.

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