So like many people across the world I woke up on the morning of Monday 11 January ready to start the day. I did what I am sure many people do nowadays, I turned to my side and reached to the bedside table to pick up my iPhone, I unlocked the screen and began to scroll through my various social media feeds only to come across a raft of horrific posts. The horrific posts were the plethora of announcements, tributes, exasperations and deep sadness from people at the terrible news of the loss of one of the greatest musicians to walk the earth; David Bowie had sadly passed away at the age of 69 at his home in New York after an 18 month battle with Liver Cancer.
Just 2 weeks ago Bowie released his last, and 25th studio recorded album, Blackstar. Little did any of us know that not only would this be his last album, but it was a gift from him for us all – working right to the end just showed the passion he had for the music industry. Tony Visconti, Bowie’s lifelong producer, published a Facebook post at 03:49 on 11 January saying:
He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.
He really was right that Bowie “was an extraordinary man, full of love and life”. I have been in London on a course for the last few days and I decided to visit Bowie’s hometown of Brixton this evening (Tuesday 12 January 2016) to go an pay tribute as many other have done. So I hopped on the tube from Waterloo station and made the 30 minute journey over to Tunstall Road, Brixton while listening to a whole host of Bowie tracks on my headphones for company. It’s been a while since I listened to Bowie and I had to ask myself why I hadn’t listened to much of his work lately which I couldn’t answer, instead I played my favourite Bowie record over and over again – Ziggy Stardust!
I hopped off the tube at Brixton and tapped out of the station exit and continued up to the street, as I walked up I wasn’t sure what I would see until I reached the crossing at the corner of the Morley’s store. There was a gathering of people opposite the Subway store which sits across from the famous Brixton Bowie mural created by famous street artist James Cochran. As I reached the crossing you could see the heap of flowers and glow of candles left by the plethora of Bowie fans.
I had arrived at the shrine to David Bowie right here in the heart of his hometown in Brixton, London. There was a slightly sombre mood but not one of great sadness either, more a mood of appreciation and respect for one of the greatest artists to grace us with his talent and presence. You could see the speaker still strapped to a tree in the street where Bowie tracks had been blasting from last night when fans gathered and held a huge street party in his honour.
I stood a while watching people, still listening to Bowie on my headphones, read some of the messages people had left and took a few photos to remember the moment. After this I headed up towards Ritzy’s Picturehouse who were displaying a tribute to Bowie on the front, it reads:
David Bowie. Our Brixton Boy. RIP
After which I headed to the Brixton POW for a swift pint before heading back onto the tube to my hotel in Waterloo. While I am sat here doing a quick edit on the photos below and writing this blog post (with a nice pint of ELB Pale Ale to hand) it is hard not to think how sad it is to have lost such a great musician to such a god awful disease which seems to be taking so many friends, family and talented people from our grasp. But I am proud that I am lucky enough to have had Bowie in my lifetime, to have watched Labyrinth on the TV as a child and I know this; that I will make sure that when my child is born he/she will know Bowie’s music!
Rest In Peace David Bowie and goodbye Starman! Here are the few images I took tonight (click to view bigger):