We talked about this lots, my friends and I. About what it would feel like to be in a world without David Bowie.
We considered the dread we'd feel on the day he finally passed. We imagined an awful morning where we could never stop crying, where a fiery beacon - forever burning - was finally snuffed out.
We knew it would come, one day, and it was so terrible a prospect we needed a strategy.
This is the the power of what he achieved. Truly extraordinary and accomplished people are few and far between. Across all disciplines there are a handful but David Bowie changed many, many lives.
He changed mine. Living the life of cliche as an outsider in a small Northern town in the mid '90s, I was searching for something that made sense, something that offered escape. The brooding, low-key photography around "Heroes" stood out one day, flicking through a magazine. Up to that point he was Bowie the pantomime dame, the technicolour figure of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The songs were amazing but they didn't mean anything to me until "Heroes" (the song). It resonated before I really knew anything about Bowie, a song that captured the jubilation and fleeting moments of romance, fringed by melancholy.
Maybe it was also the first song I ever had a deep emotional reaction too. I felt something, I know that.
I bought "Heroes" on CD from HMV and wore it out. Then I bought another copy and wore that out too. I bought Low and Lodger and Hunky Dory. They soundtracked my exams: my GCSEs, then my A Level, then my degree. Hours of revision fuelled by "Art Decade", "Boys Keep Swinging", "Warsawa". I was lifted to another place by the most evocative music I have ever heard. Doors in my mind were opened. I saw wonderful things through them.
A friend and I sat for an hour yesterday listening to the instrumentals from Low and "Heroes" and talked of Bowie. Of how he would never die. I went to bed and was plagued by insomnia but, in between, snatches of dreams came to me: I dreamt of "The Secret Live of Arabia", of Bowie and of being a teenager again.
I woke at 4am. For no apparent reason at 6.35am, I wandered onto the Bowie Facebook page. Five minutes earlier the message announcing his passing was posted. It took me an hour to believe what I was reading. The indestructible had fallen.
We live in a time of hyperbole but not enough can ever be said or written about David Bowie. His story is our story and today my friends are united in sharing how he changed them. Stories of the same small town isolation I felt, of dealing with gender and identity, of escaping into fantasy from the most horrific reality.
He provided solace, example and beauty. He was the greatest pop star that ever lived, a towering figure in popular culture. Perhaps his crowning achievement is a preservation of his legacy: two records that are both reflective and expansive, a beautiful way to say goodbye to his music, his fans and the world. He went out on a high, never succumbing to the embarrassment or wrong moves that plagues artists towards the end. His final act was flush with poetic conceit, so brilliant and frustrating. He leaves us as Lazarus, as the Black Star, as a rutting theatrical construct. He kept perfect balance between the personal and the professional, the individual and the legend. We'll remember a man in control, artistically lucid till the very end. There is so much to digest about his final act, something we will pore over for months and months.
The least interesting thing today is watching how this plays out on the media: on radio shows, in newspaper and on websites like this. We publishers are nothing, it's the people who own the tributes today. Bowie belongs to them.
He is gone and we will never stop crying...