Elie on David Bowie
David Bowie, a name synonymous with greatness. Originally David Jones, he decided to change it so as not to be confused with another star who also tragically passed a few years ago, Davy Jones of The Monkees. His career would soon capitulate into stardom.
I didn't discover Bowie until my late teens, thanks to my mum who was a fan. I have many memories of playing his hit song, "Sorrow" while cleaning the house with my mum as well as "Under Pressure" with another fallen great, Freddie Mercury.
Bowie first came to stardom with his album hit "Space Oddity" with many more hits to follow. As well as a talented singer/songwriter, Bowie was also a natural actor, perhaps best remembered for his lead role in "The Labyrinth", a favourite of many generations of fans.
Bowie will be remembered for his innovation, rejection of traditional image and gender, amazing character personalities, and of course, his music.
David will always be a hero, not for a day, but until the end of time, joining all the other legendary musicians 2016 has taken away from us...
Tina on Prince
Prince (prince Rogers Nelson), was a great man and inspiration to many. Being a singer,a songwriter,a record producer and a multi instrument player he touched most people's hearts in all walks of life. I vividly remember growing up with my older sister playing prince songs (on records) in the lounge room and her bedroom singing along with every word. The movie purple rain was an influential movie to me. It showed me that not every thing in life will be perfect, not everything is forever.
His music was the sound track to a generations life and the ripple effect of his stage presence set a precedent for what a performer should strive to reach at Evey Concert they perform. With over 1oo million albums sold world wide and winning an uncountable amount of awards including being introduced into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2O04 why wouldn't you as a performer want to reach this level of respect and admiration.
He taught me that different isn't bad,different doesn't mean that you should hide,be loud and be proud of who you are. Be eccentric and stand out,make a difference. His support in female artists was next to none in the music industry and was encouraging for a then very young me a positive roll model for a male wanting to include and recognize females and their talents. In a world of red roses be the purple Lilly. Prince left this world at the age of 54 years young (too young) and I have no doubt that his musical mark will be a permanent reminder that just because someone said no doesn't mean you can't do it. It simply means you have to show them why you need to do it.
Party like its 1999 prince, ride in that little red corvette, wearing your iconic purple leather jacket and I'll remember each year to blow you a kiss when doves cry and I see purple rain.💜
Peet on Alan Rickman
Although I'm sure this wasn't the start of his career, my first memory of Alan Rickman was those immortal lines "I'm going to cut your heart out with a spoon". He made the very best Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. I always remembered him after that. Every time I'd see him in a movie, I'd think "That was the dude from Robin Hood."
Then, of course, came Harry Potter. I am a mad Harry Potter fanatic. I am Hufflepuff all the way, and the books are like my bible. So when Mr Rickman first appeared as the devious Severus Snape, I was entranced. Snape is not meant to be loved, and the fact that he has such a huge following is testament to Alan Rickman's acting skills.
When I found out, in that final book that everything Snape ever did... like, EVER did, was for love - my heart just broke. And when I heard that Alan Rickman had died on 14 January 2016 - my heart broke all over again.
"After all this time?"
Danni on Alan Rickman
I think for me Alan Rickman's death had hit me hardest. I fell in love with the character Professor Snape from the Harry Potter book series first, then when Rickman made his Harry Potter film debut appearance as Professor Snape in 2001 it was done; sold; finalised! I was in love. That voice, his talent, the way he perfectly captured what I envisaged as a teenager, Snape to be. Snape to me was a misunderstood character; a young, different and unusual boy who grew into a begrudging and harsh teacher at Hogwarts. A man who felt the sting of unrequited love and built walls to protect himself.
Rickman was from a humble working class background and made his way into theatre pretty much the same way I did. Reading, influence, the magic of the stage and wonders of creative writing fueled his passion. So I followed his footsteps; dreamt of the day I trod the boards of a theatre and wrote for the stage. His ability to so artfully demonstrate comedy and tragedy was what I wanted to do with my theatre. Have the ability to make others laugh and cry all the while experimenting with all things art and theatre. From the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" right through to the absurdism of Samuel Beckett's "Play", I enjoyed every bit of Rickman's theatrical choices in life. Rickman once said in an interview, "I never said no", and I try to this day to follow that advice when chasing the dream. This was how he influenced my life. Below is a taste of Alan's absurdism. The theatre/film world lost a legend to cancer January 14, 2016 and it feels like yesterday I shed a little tear for this loss.
Jonathan on Zaha Hadid
For me, 2016 was the year the world lost one of its most innovative and groundbreaking architects, Zaha Hadid.
For those who may not have heard of Zaha, some of her well-known works include the London Olympic Aquatic Centre and the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. The British designer, passed away aged 65, after suffering a heart attack while in hospital in Miami in March where she was being treated for bronchitis.
Zaha’s buildings have been built all over the world and she paved the way for women looking to do something amazing in a male dominated profession.
Zaha was the first architect to really have a lasting impression on me. Unlike most designers, her work blossomed from inconceivable creativity, which was beautifully manifested graphically in her art, and finally born into stunning reality as her projects got built. She was an individual of great courage, conviction and tenacity.
Zaha once said, “You have to really believe not only in yourself; you have to believe that the world is actually worth your sacrifices.”
I was privileged to be able to visit a few of her buildings in the UK this year – a wonderful and befitting way to say ‘Goodbye and Thank you’ for inspiring me to be who I am.
Alex on Leonard Cohen
I did my best, it wasn't much // I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch // I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you // And even though it all went wrong // I'll stand before the Lord of Song // With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen (Canadian singer, songwriter, musician and, poet) died the 7th of November 2016. He was 82.
Leonard Cohan was very much on my mind when he passed as new cover of Hallelujah by an American A Cappella Pentatonix has just been released and just Bob Dylan just in October has been award the Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". Leonard and Bob's work and contribution to music were often compared and there isn't a cover of Hallelujah I don't love so Leonard and his dark voice and words were very much on my mind.
What I have always loved about Leonard's songs and lyrics is how they appeared defeatist, I know that sounds incredibly sad but he always seemed to embrace the worst so very well and leave us not necessary with chin up look on the bright side but instead a reminder that from the bottom this is really only one way to go and that is up. This was very evident in how he explored political, justice and war themes. I could also relate to how torn and changeable he was on these themes, sometimes he was ready for the gritty fight and other times he was a sweet hippy speaking of love and peace time. To me, he always seemed very in tune with what was going on and how he was feeling and in that way a true artist using art to reflect back to world what he is seeing.
Like a bird on the wire, // Like a drunk in a midnight choir // I have tried in my way to be free.
Peet on Gene Wilder
When the news broke on 29 August that Gene Wilder had died, a piece of my childhood went with him.
I know Gene was most well known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka, but my main memory of him really just relates to him. It's of being a kid, and seeing my mum laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face. We were watching a show called "Hanky Panky" - not one of his most well known, but definitely one of the funniest. To see my mum that happy imprinted on my brain and it's something I will never forget, so thank you Mr Wilder.
Another honourable mention that also made an impression on me was "Hear No Evil, See No Evil" where he played a deaf man and teamed up with Richard Pryor, who played a blind man... hilarity ensued! This was one of four movies they made together, their comedy genius bouncing off each other.
Gene was born on 11 June 1933 and named Jerome Silberman. Back in the days when real names weren't chic enough, he changed his name to be more appealing and received an Oscar nomination for his first major role in Mel Brooks' "The Producers".
When Gene died, he left the world with a true legacy in the form of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles - amongst many others.
"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."
- Willy Wonka
Amanda on Carrie Fisher
When a celebrity dies many people say 'why are you sad, you didn't know them' but whilst we may not have known them personally, these people touched our lives and gave meaning to certain times in our life.
Once such person for me was Carrie Fisher. With her portrayal of Princess Leia I was shown, as a young girl, that a woman can be a formidable person, a kick ass, bad ass leader of the rebellion who stood up for what was right and took no shit, and Carrie herself was no different!
Her advocacy for mental illness and drug addiction showed everyone that these topics needed to be talked about, discussed and brought into the public eye. Many parts of her life were put on display in her autobiography Postcards from the Edge.
Carrie will always be Princess Leia to me even though she has a vast movie history and to sum up my feelings..
"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened. "
One of my favourite quotes from Carrie is “I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.” something we should all remember and live by I think! I will forever be sad that we won't get to see her grace our screens again after Episode 8 or hear her views on the world.
Let it be reported that Carrie drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.
Vale Carrie Fisher 21.10.1956 - 27.12.2016