Work your quirk: A shrine to David Bowie

I LOVE Natasha Devon. She's the gorgeous Miss Fierce behind Body Gossip, but today Natasha is kicking off SASSYology's Work Your Quirk where I riff with kick-ass women about the things that make them totally YOU-nique.

Natasha's quirk? She digs on David Bowie. A lot.

"...I’ll never forget the night I was awoken from a rather gorgeous dream involving Russell Brand and a bottle of Baileys, by my bedroom light being unceremoniously flicked, a great crashing and rustling of items being assembled and the sight of my then-boy-fling standing over me in his boxer shorts, with his hands on his hips.

"I’m sorry," he said, attempting to look dignified in spite of his semi-clad state “but I cannot live like this anymore. I am going home”.

Immediately wondering if I’d been dribbling/snoring/hogging the duvet, I attempted to persuade him that this was something of an overreaction.

“No!" He said. "It’s me or the Bowie shrine! And I already know what the answer is! So I’m going”.

I never actually intended to have a fully-fledged shrine to the Thin White Duke in my bedroom. And I’d never before considered that it might be a little bizarre to be attempting to get jiggy, or sleep, with 20 pairs of mis-matched eyes bearing down on you. But, he was right. Now the Bowie shrine is here, it’s here to stay.

Loving Bowie is in my genes. My Mum, Aunt and Uncle are all fanatics – As are their children. I was always rather “yeah, yeah, whatever Mum” about him until 1997, when he released ‘Earthling’ (and I grew out of my ‘automatically thinking anything your parents are into is a bit lame’ phase).

Since then, Bowie has provided the soundtrack to my life.

Aged 21, air-guitaring to ‘Slow Burn’ and drinking cheap vodka that burned the back of my throat in my university halls.

Aged 25, having just broken up with my first long term boyfriend and moved to a strange new city with people I’d never set eyes on before, puffy eyed from crying and a little scared, listening to a beautiful piano version of ‘Life on Mars’ as I watched the sunset out of my top floor window, and convincing myself that everything would be okay.

Aged 26, mind and body ravaged by an eating disorder, laying on my bedroom floor listening to ‘Sweet Thing’ and thinking ‘if Bowie can reach the depths of misery he describes in this song and emerge a rock God and legend, I can conquer my demons’.

Aged 27, finally healthy, spending giggly nights in with my flatmate and doing silly dances to the Labrynth soundtrack, feeling a freedom just to laugh, to dance and to BE.

My first summer in Hackney, strutting along the street feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin with ‘Sound and Vision’ on my i-pod.

And today, at Body Gossip HQ, with Radio 6 Music on in the background, regularly punctuating our work/conversation to shout ‘BOWIE!’ when one of his tunes comes on. Watching Ruth roll her eyes and knowing she would not have it any other way.

I have managed to accumulate what must be the largest library of theoretical knowledge about David Bowie for many, many miles. Every birthday and Christmas someone will buy me another chunk of Bowie related literature to devour. The more I learn, the more fall in love with the man, as much as I have his music.

Long before Lady Gaga put a telephone on her head, Bowie was donning outrageous stage garb- And as an expression of his creative self as much as to generate headlines. In the late 60s and 70s, his lyrics summed up the disenfranchisement of a generation – Who wanted to shed the identities of their parents and embrace new, exciting experiences. They epitomised possibility and intelligent rebellion – one that didn’t involve violence and riots – just guitars and ideology.

Since then, Bowie has reincarnated himself countless times. He didn’t cling on to the commercial success of Ziggy Stardust and release endless Greatest Hits albums, as he must have been tempted to do. He innovates, he explores, he continues to learn. Sometimes he has produced absolute garbage. And sometimes it’s been utter genius. The point is, he isn’t afraid to try.

Bowie is articulate, outrageous and brave. He’s also beautiful – and without a gym buffed body, botox, a fake tan or a classically handsome face – He’s uniquely himself. There’s a lot to aspire to, and be inspired by.

During the last census, I wrote ‘Church of Bowie’ on my form. It seemed fitting, when you consider the existence of my own little shrine. There’s a vintage NME on there, from the year that I was born, an original ‘Aladdin Sane’ LP bearing the iconic ‘lightening bolt’ image, a flyer from the local pub where they have a monthly ‘Bowie night’ (and I have my own glass) as well as a Christmas card Sarah from Body Gossip made me, depicting Bowie in the ‘Rebel Rebel’ video wearing a Santa hat (which she drew on.)

I’ll concede that it’s a little strange, but it makes me happy..."

What's your quirk and how do you work it?

Authentic, YOULisa