The BRIT Awards 2016 Icon Award - David Bowie

Acceptance Speech by Gary Oldman on behalf of David Bowie

"We are all coming to terms with magnitude of David's passing. The Jones family lost a husband and a father. Those closest to David lost a dear friend and the world lost a man, an artist of transcendent talent.

As Annie so gracefully said, David's contribution, his influence on popular music, on culture itself has no equal, he was the very definition, the living embodiment of that singular word 'icon'. I am so deeply touched and honoured to be here tonight to accept this award for David and his family.

In recent years, David sparingly spoke about music and his process, but in one of these rare instances, he graciously and elegantly expounded...

'Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can't say that life's pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it, but it has allowed me so many moments of companionship when I have been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I have wanted to touch people. It has been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in.'

Over his career, David challenged and changed our understanding of the medium, whether in music or in life, he emphasised originality, experimentation, exploration, and in his very unique way, he also reminded us to never take ourselves too seriously.

David was funny. He was funny, hilariously so, and the laughs were many and massive, and I shall miss them. A related story, a few years ago we were standing on a street corner, and he was approached by this big fella, rocker type, long hair, you know leather clad, and he offered up this piece of paper for David's autograph. David signed the piece of paper, and as the fella walked away he turned to me and said 'Well, he's going to be disappointed.' I said 'Why?' and he said 'Because I signed it Gary Oldman'.

His outlook was always positive, and I never once heard him complain. I can share with you that David faced his illness with enormous courage, and dignity, and grace, and customary humour. Even in dire circumstances. When he wrote to tell me the bad news that he had cancer, he added, 'the good news is I have my cheekbones back.'

He was the sweetest soul ever, with the best cheekbones, until it was done.

David, you were mortal, but your potential was superhuman, and your remarkable music is living on. We love you, and we thank you."

"And now to honour David please welcome a band who worked with him for many years and a young lady who David himself said was 'the future of music'... Lorde."

© Gary Oldman.
24th February 2016.