I read the news today oh boyAbout a lucky man who made the grade
When I was younger I was raised on a steady diet of rock and pop music. The Beatles, The Stones and Bowie were a regular sound track. An early and important experience of the significance of death for me was my father talking about the death of John Lennon. He spoke about it with the same hollow awe that I have heard people use in talking about JFK or Princess Di. These events and other deaths like them were for many moments of cultural punctuation. Events that changed people’s lives and their worlds.
Death and dying is all around us. Yet, we can be distanced from these realities due to the anxiety that death provokes and our society’s approach to dealing with it. Our relationship with the deaths of those closest to us can be limited by their being hidden away as a clinical activity within our hospitals and aged care facilities. By contrast the deaths of public figures have never been more visible and scrutinised. Social Media and the constant news cycle mean that we are always in the loop. Our uneasy fascination is privileged with contact and information.
For me, the recent death of David Bowie was both personally meaningful but also a reminder of how visible public deaths have become. The world reaction to Bowie’s death was heavily influenced by the knowledge that while he knew that it was coming none of the rest of us did. Reviews of his last album Blackstar (including the moving and challenging film clip for Lazarus released days prior to his death) had to be rethought. Bowie’s music such as the enigmatic lines from Quicksand (Hunky Dory) “the knowledge comes with death’s release” had always suggested a long and personal reflection on the meaning of his own mortality. While his death was private, forever the artist Bowie did not miss the opportunity to use it to fuel his music and our reflection on its meaning for us all.
Maybe you have also been struck by the death of a celebrity in some way that was meaningful or thought provoking for you? Regardless, we would love to talk about this with all of you at our next #pallanz tweetchat
- When? February 29th (Monday )
- 4pm AWST (Perth)
- 5:30pm ACST (Darwin)
- 6pm AEST (Brisbane)
- 6:30pm ACDT (Adelaide)
- 7pm AEDT (Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra)
- 9pm NZDT (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington)
- What? Celebrity deaths
- T1 Have you ever been touched by a celebrity death: Who and how?
- T2 Why was this meaningful for you?
- T3 How did you respond to this event and why?
- T4 What can we learn from this? Can it affect how we are with the idea of deaths closer to home?
- Who? Anyone and everyone with an interest in these issues, including:
- Patients, families, carers
- Celebrities – don’t be shy
- Clinicians, researchers
- Managers, administrators, policymakers
- Other interested members of the community
- This tweet chat will be moderated by Michael Chapman @mchapmanonline
You don’t have to be an expert, a Twitter whiz, or even live in Australia or New Zealand to join – in fact, we strongly encourage those new to Twitter and from beyond our shores to join us and share your views!
For those new to Twitter check out our tutorial here.
Hope to see you all there!