The gifts of 2016 weren't sweetly wrapped in chic silver bows beneath a popcorn-trimmed tree. Rather its gifts were hiding under piles of muck, mire, and metaphorical dirty diapers. 2016 made us work for its rewards; an ongoing dichotomy. Low meeting high. Pain meeting beauty. Injustice meeting a renewed fervour for truth.
We've lost those we've never heard of and those we worshipped from afar. The famous and the infamous. Those whose poetry and music and performances and stories and athletic prowess and acts of heroism and sacrifice we admired. We counted on them to help us get through the trials and tribulations of our lives.
What is it about the loss of childhood figures and teenage icons that seems to rock us to our core? It struck me that these memories from our past, brought up by the untimely passing of our idols, finds us transported back to a place and time before all of the real, hard to process sadness was let in; a time before grab em by the pussy, before nightclub shootings, and school shootings, and so many shootings.
Canada's blues crusader Paul James is a national treasure, and were it not for the shifting, sliding, finicky tides of the music business -- he'd be known around the world -- after all, he's toured in bands throughout the world, and Bob Dylan once told him if he moved to L.A., he'd make the big time.
Over his 50-year career, Bowie had an unparalleled ability to remain relevant by giving each generation its own moment with him. The 1970s kids got to enjoy his most prolific and influential period as one of the era's most definitive artists as it happened while the rest of us eventually discovered it as a pop cultural rite of passage, regardless of our entry point. He kicked off the decade a year early with his non-hippie hit "Space Oddity" before unleashing his Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke personae, collaborating with John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and moving to Berlin to record his groundbreaking trilogy, "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger."