Today is a good day for birthdays in the geek world. No, I’m not saying that David Bowie is a geek necessarily. He, however, has made a huge impact on geekery in general. A pusher of boundaries, an over-the-top-personality, and certainly a man with his own set of rules, he’s one of the people who has changed popular culture to an extent that we probably won’t be able to comprehend for another few decades or so.
But in spite of Mr. Bowie’s huge influence on music and culture from the 60s to today, there is one achievement of his that will be forever the pinnacle in my humble opinion: his (and his, um, spandex pants’) performance in Labyrinth as Jareth the Goblin King. Geeks of a certain age will know what I mean, as indicated by some of the Twitter responses from this morning, but I’m fairly sure that I’d never seen a man with eyeshadow before, let alone such tight fitting pants, until I saw Mr. Bowie. Let’s just say it made me ask a great many questions, and certainly contributed to my obsession with speculative fiction.
And yet, oddly enough, by the end of the film, I always kind of wanted Jareth the Goblin King to win. Because he was that awesome.
If you haven’t seen Labyrinth, you likely think I’m off my rocker. And I would tell you to go see the film now, except that I don’t think you can possibly recreate the feeling of experiencing it for the first time as a kid.
At very least, I will share with you the perhaps most often quoted songs of the film, “Magic Dance.”
And as a last fun tidbit: Bowie’s son Duncan Jones is also the director of the film Moon, which definitely riffs on his song “Space Oddity”. Can’t get much geekier than songs written about trips to the moon.