Following David Bowie Home

A journey through South London a few days after the death of David Bowie in January 2016, following a pilgrimage he had made himself, in secret, back to the places where he grew up. I wrote about this for The Independent on Sunday but here’s an updated version, now that we are a year on.  If he meant anything to you at all, or you are curious about why he meant so much to others, please read on. There’s a video to go with it, of things I saw that day. I can’t put his music on that for copyright reasons, so I am playing the chords for Heroes. Anyway, here goes …

David Bowie told the driver to stop when they got to the house where he was born. He was weeping. “It’s a miracle,” he said quietly to himself, looking out of the tour bus, which was squeezed into a tight back street in Brixton, south London. “I probably should have been an accountant instead.”

This very private moment happened in 1991, when Bowie was almost at the height of his powers, and was observed only by a member of his band, according to Paul Trynka’s biography, Starman. But in the hours after Bowie’s death at the age of 69 last on 10 January, it emerged that he had made another, even more secret trip back to the places where he was brought up, shortly after being diagnosed with liver cancer. What did he see when he came here with his then 13-year-old daughter, Lexi, in the summer of 2014?

Now that Bowie has been cremated, with no family or friends present at all, I’m following his trail back through the years to understand him, the life from which he emerged to become a global superstar, and what we are really left with now. Continue reading “Following David Bowie Home”