Last week, the week of Jan 11th to 15th, was not a good week for things I love and enjoy, like music, movies, and pets.

It started with the shocker that David Bowie, having just released a new album the Friday before, on his 69th birthday, had died.

I wish I could say I’ve been an avid fan since I was a kid, but that’s not true. I knew of David Bowie. I knew his popular music, like many people. I also knew him from the movie “Labyrinth”. But really, that was it. But over the years, my appreciation of him grew.

When the Stephen King TV mini-series “Golden Years” was on, the David Bowie song was the theme. I really like that song. His song “Heroes” became a favourite. That’s how my appreciation grew, little bits here and there, as reminder that “oh, this guy did that song and I like it!”. I also picked up some of his newer albums, like “Hours…”, “Earthling”, and “Heathen”. being an electronica fan, some of the songs on these albums were pretty damn cool. But I think it was Nirvana’s cover of “Man Who Sold the World” that finally sold me that I really did like David Bowie.

Sadly, it was years after enjoying Nirvana’s cover that I finally got a chance to hear the original. It was so much better! Sure the Nirvana version was pretty close to the original. But it wasn’t Bowie singing it. Nirvana’s version was by a bunch of, no offense to Nirvana/ 90’s Grunge bands, a bunch of whiny, mopey brats. Bowie’s version, the one, true, and best version, revealed to me his oddness, his lyrical mastery. These were things I honestly wouldn’t have appreciated before. But I did now.

Since then, I have started purchasing Bowie’s back catalog. I was also inspired to buy Lou Reed’s “Transformer” album, and Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes”. I was really digging this sound and message of rebellion. For most of my life, those that were “rebels” around me were more of the redneck variety. Bowie showed me rebellion could be done very differently, that uniqueness didn’t need to involve other’s perception of being unique.

Although he had different personas throughout his career, that image and existence of non-conformity has appealed to me more and more. Even when he was trying to please fans during the 80’s, he did it on his terms. But for the majority of his career, and life, he did what he wanted and if people liked it, they came to him. He didn’t go after them. To me, that is vitally important. Even in the face of his own death, he still remained in control, as much as he could. Personally, that is something to aspire to.

 

On January 14th, an actor who brought one of the best villains to the screen, Alan Rickman, passed away. He may have disliked being attached to on character, but when he graced the screen as Hans Gruber, he brought what could have been a standard, one-dimensional bad guy to life. He may not have been Bruce Willis’ physical equal, but he was slick, charming, vicious, cold, and yeah, likable!

But before “Die Hard”, as with many distinguished British actors, he graced the stage, making a name for himself as a highly respected and talented actor. Without that training and experience, everything he did afterwards would have been less than he made it.

Most people talk about his roles in “Die Hard”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, and the Harry Potter movie, but there are other roles that I enjoyed. In “Quigley Down Under”, the character of Elliot Marston was a toned down version of his Sheriff of Nottingham, but still menacing and funny. In “Dogma”, he was actually a good guy! As the angel Metatron, he was pretty hilarious and even had a few quiet, sweet moments. In the theatrical version of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, his voice was perfect for the depressed android of Marvin.

Sure Alan Rickman may not have liked being type-cast as the villain, but without those roles, we wouldn’t have known how great he was, and have the chance to see the other movies that showed his humour, emotional range, and his talent.

 

It was a hard week for deaths. But the one that hit me closest to home was that of my cat Felis.

Now if you’re one of those people who aren’t a cat person, or not much of a pet person, feel free to stop reading my blog here.

My family has always had cats. I remember as a little kid having a whole herd of kittens. Being out in the country at that time, when a cat went missing, especially ones that were allowed out over night, we knew that they either wandered off, or were taken by something for dinner. That was just the way of things.

The first cat that was mine was a tabby female that I spontaneously called Tootsie Roll. Don;t ask me what possessed me to call her that, but that was the first thing I said. She was a right-little kitty-making machine. We had numerous batches of kittens from her, many of which ended up in the homes of people in the nearby suburb of Glen Carin (now Kanata).

Many years later, when I was finally on my own, I was given two kittens from a litter that my sister had. They became Roy and Felis, tabby brothers that were hard to tell apart at first. But their personalities eventually shone through. While Roy was a big scared-y cat, Felis was the friendly one who liked to sit on your shoulders when you picked him up. Both of them were talkative, which I think is best when owning pets.

I got them as kittens in 2001. They have been with me ever since. I almost lost them back in 2011, when I had to downsize after my bankruptcy. Originally, they were to come with me when I moved into my sister’s home. But just before the move, I was suddenly told they couldn’t come. To say I was furious and heartbroken would be an understatement. But thankfully, they were taken in by my parents and quickly proved what I always known. Despite being large cats, they were very laid back and sweet-natured cats.

It was during this time that I realized how important they were to me. I had been living on my own for over 10 years, with them being my sole companions. They were family, my boys, I was the leader of our pride. No, I will NOT call them “furry babies” because that is the lamest term I have ever heard.

Felis started to lose weight back in November and wasn’t eating or drinking a lot. We gave him some meds that helped a bit, but in recent weeks, he had gotten worse. But I didn’t really notice. Either I didn’t want to admit he was getting worse, or I didn’t want to have to face the inevitable reality. When I did face the facts, I didn’t want him to suffer, so I took him in and the vet put him to sleep.

 

So… yeah, a bad week.