My family liked weird kids movies growing up.
We liked some non-weird movies, too: the usual Disney fare, a J.T.T. joint, lots of good family fun. But also? Weird movies: The Last Unicorn, Never Ending Story, The Electric Grandmother. Just weird. Maybe it was because they were the only children’s movies available at the library. Maybe it was because they were never rented out at the convenience store downtown. Whatever the reason, the only things that may have spent more time in the VHS player were my dad’s reruns of Star Trek TNG and a pirated copy of Casper.
Other kids in my class didn’t really watch these movies. They liked, I dunno…Wishbone? And so, when my slumber-party birthday rolled around, I thought it might be fun to watch one these weird movies with my friends. I selected a personal family favourite: The Labyrinth.
…It wasn’t well received. They didn’t like it. They thought it was creepy (to be far: it is), but they laughed for the wrong reasons, and we didn’t finish it. And that was that, for a time. Not too long after, though, a friend who was at that party came over again. As we plotted out how to spend the rest of our day, she asked, almost sheepishly “…could we watch that goblin movie again?”
That moment was significant, and is, in some ways, the official start to a friendship that would go from grade school friends, to high school besties, to college roommates. It started there because that’s when I realized “this person likes weird stuff too.” And you know what? That’s a big deal.
We watched The Labyrinth together that day, and many times after. We’d sing the songs, we’d recite the dialogue, we’d draw silly pictures of Jareth in the margins of our school notes. We fully embraced the wonderful weirdness of that movie—and in each other, really—for years to come.
As I read over the tributes to David Bowie on my Facebook timeline, so many things came through: his innovation, his artistry, his boundless creativity. But for me, it’s his legacy as a Conduit of Weirdness that I’ll forever treasure. Before the internet made it all-too-easy for other weirdos to find each other, David Bowie was there to light the way. And now that light has dimmed.
For a hot minute back in 2013, I did yoga. Like any good yoga class, most would end with a communal Namaste: “The light in me honours the light in you.” As the rest of the world bids goodbye to Bowie, something very similar is rattling around in my brain to sum it all up: The weirdness in me honours the weirdness in you, good Sir. Thank you. ❤