Is there life on Mars?

Yesterday at the BRIT awards in London, after a lovely obituary by Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman, who accepted the rare BRIT Icon Award on Bowie’s family’s behalf, 19-year Lorde-BRITS-Bowie-2old singer, Lorde—a young woman David Bowie called the “tomorrow” of music—walked out to centre stage and, backed up by Bowie’s long time touring band, sang Life on Mars?.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still listening to a lot of David Bowie.  Ziggy Stardust from beginning to end at least once a day. Low, once a week. Cuts from the Best of Bowie when I only have a minute. Modern Love five times in a row when I’m getting ready to go to work.

I started listening to Bowie when I was a teenager growing up on the Rock. My sister brought Ziggy Stardust home from London when she went there on a school trip. Teenage girls loved Bowie.

Forget loving Bowie. Many teenage girls wanted to be Bowie. This one did, anyway. Neither boy or girl. Androgenizing without the benefit of pharma. Lady Stardust sang his songs of darkness and dismay. Having the universe your playground. It all made sense.

And so did last night’s tribute. The band made you sit up and take notice at the first chord. Lorde was superb. She took hold of the song and held the reins the entire way through. It could not have been better.

The 20-minute tribute is great, but if you just want to see the Lorde bit, check in at 10:25.


It’s a god-awful small affair

To the girl with the mousy hair

But her mummy is yelling, “No!”

And her daddy has told her to go

But her friend is nowhere to be seen

Now she walks through her sunken dream

To the seat with the clearest view

And she’s hooked to the silver screen


But the film is a saddening bore

For she’s lived it ten times or more

She could spit in the eyes of fools

As they ask her to focus on


Sailors fighting in the dance hall

Oh man!

Look at those cavemen go

Gail PiAuthor Photo 01 Sandy Tam Photographycco is a strategist who has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years, most of which as President of Gail Picco Associates. Prior to establishing Gail Picco Associates, she spent eight years working in a shelter for assaulted women and children. She is the author of What the Enemy Thinks, a recent novel set in the nonprofit sector, of Your Working Girl, a blog of memoir and commentary on politics, charity and popular culture, and writes a regular column for Hilborn Charity News. She is a Principal with The Osborne Group in Toronto and Chair of the Regent Park Film Festival.

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