Well it was with great sorrow that we woke up on morning of Monday 11th January 2016 to hear that David Bowie had passed away. Someone that has been a major musical favourite and inspiration to us here at London Calling Blog, though we are divided on preference for 1970’s and 1980’s Bowie, showing there is a David Bowie for everyone, for me David Bowie is the artist that in the 1970’s reinvented his sound and persona with every passing album. Personally, he will remain most memorable as the man who sung ‘It’s a god-awful small affair, To the girl with the mousy hair’ at the start of ‘Life On Mars?’, one of the greatest songs ever written, very much part of the soundtrack to my life.
What sets David Bowie aside from the vast majority of artists is the sheer range of people he influenced through his five decades of music, meaning so many things to so many people, for so many reasons. No musical artist has managed to constantly redefine themselves and reinvent their persona and make it work as David Bowie did, nothing less than a real innovator, an artist who really did it his way, something entirely lacking from musical artists these days.
For us here at London Calling Blog, David Bowie has always been the local legend, born in Brixton, but grew up in Bromley, a mere two streets from where I grew up, attending the same schools and even now living a mere five minutes drive from where he performed his first live show, he is someone that I have been aware of from the earliest of ages. But this is to miss the point, David Bowie influenced and meant so much to countless people the world over.
This is something that has been demonstrated by the sheer response an incredible piece of artwork, placed up in his place of birth, Brixton by Street Artist Jimmy C in 2013. This stunning mural is one that has been popular with local residents long before recent events, who are proud of their ‘Brixton Boy’, created in the artists distinctive Pointillist style the portrait presents perhaps David Bowie’s most iconic persona, that of Aladdin Sane of the iconic 1973 album of the same name. The mural has become the focus point for people to express their loss, becoming an impromptu shrine and symbol of the effect this artist had on so many people across the generations.
While even the next day there was a somewhat somber tone around this mural, with people clearly at a loss, still processing the news that someone whose presence has accompanied their lives was now gone There was also a sense of celebrating what was great about David Bowie, so with this in mind the spirit on the evening of his passing being announced the people gathered at the mural and nearby Ritzy cinema to celebrate and pay their respects to one of the few true musical legends, the Starman who came and blew our minds.
The mural on the morning after his death, with the flowers and tributes continuing.
A touching note offering a glimpse of the many characters David Bowie expressed himself with through his incredible career.
Saying goodbye with lyrics from ‘Rebel Rebel’.
Lyrics from 1972 song ‘Five Years’ added next to the work on the day after his passing.
Message placed up on The Ritzy the day of the sad news breaking and scene of some of the celebration of his life and influence, just down the road from the Jimmy C mural.
The mural two days after his death, with the flowers and tributes still continuing.
Since yesterday, the walls either side of the mural have become canvas to those wishing to say goodbye to such a unique individual.
Someone paying their respect by adding to the hundreds of messages left at this focus point.
Crowds still gathering two days on from the news of his passing, amply demonstrates the immeasurable respect people have for this man.
So as the world says goodbye to a truly original individual, a man who influenced countless people, we would like to sign off with some of our favourite David Bowie lyrics, from his 1971 song ‘Quicksand’;
“I’m not a prophet
or a stone age man
Just a mortal
with the potential of a superman
I’m living on”
And this for us his very apt, David Bowie was just that a mortal who took on the potential of a superman, and he will live on, through his music, his art, his films and mostly through the lasting presence he left with the world, but mostly because ‘Ziggy Played Guitar’. RIP David Bowie, you will be missed.