10th January 2016 is a date which many music fans won’t forget in a hurry. Last year, this was the date the world tragically lost David Bowie, although many of us didn’t hear the news until the next day (pun intended). I remember first reading the news on a friend’s Facebook timeline. I then did what I normally do and checked the unbelievable news on Google, hoping that it was just another cruel celebrity hoax. David Bowie wasn’t even reported to be ill. He’d released his latest album Blackstar just two days beforehand. Surely the news couldn’t be true? The utter ridiculousness of such a notion was at the back of my mind, as my being started to prepare myself for the unthinkable.
With huge disbelief at even having to Google the words ‘David Bowie dead’ I was dismayed to find a barrage of media stories confirming my worst fears. A cold chill grasped my heart with utter shock and disbelief of such incredible news. As I walked downstairs, my husband asked if I was OK. Apparently, I was ashen. I told him the sad news and then my tears came, and came, and came. I, like millions of other across the globe had lost someone who meant so much to us. This is a man whose influence was so interwoven into our lives, culture and consciousness that we literally felt like a part of us had withered and died that day too.
I could write a book on how Bowie has influenced my life, and the lives of the next generation of music which I also grew up with and formed part of who I am. One year on there are still copious TV and Radio programmes, tributes and testaments to the man. He is still very much the man of the moment and will no doubt continue to be so for many decades to come.
I paid my own homage to him on Sunday 8th January 2017, by visiting the mural in Brixton which became an unexpected altar at which to honour the man. I also visited his birthplace in Brixton, just a 10 minute walk away, and then went on an organised walking tour around Soho walking in the steps of his ghost; to the places he forged his career as a young man, where he met and visited Lyndsay Kemp, where he sought local inspiration to create album covers and where he celebrated his most famous persona of Ziggy Stardust. Despite being a Brixton boy, it was the place in London where he generally developed his art and theatricality; without Soho, there would be no David Bowie as we knew and loved him. I felt it was a fitting tribute to undertake this pilgrimage of sorts on what would have been his 70th birthday. That day was for the celebration of his life. Today is to remember his astonishing genius, and the legacy he has left behind as a genuine legend. I’m truly privileged to have lived in his lifetime.
RIP David, never forgotten