Under The SycamoreTree
The sight of hundreds of distraught Bowie fans descending on his home ‘hood of Brixton-though he lived in New York- shows how far our secular society has come. The instinct for pilgrimage and reverence is almost in our DNA. Fans will visit empty soccer stadiums, quasi literary types like me will search out Keats(Rome) and Swinburne’s(IoW) graves, and see them queue in front of Karl Marx up in Highgate. Nearer to home,about a mile away ,is the Marc Bolan memorial.
This has been in existence ,one way or another, since the very pretty TRex singer crashed into a sycamore tree near Barnes station in 1977. Two years ago the tree reached almost martyrdom status with the fans when the council had to cut it down . There was a gnashing of teeth and a wailing of widows.
The T Rex Action Group has actually leased the land, built steps and put in place a statue, a memorial stone and a notice board. Frankly in terms of monument its tatty and rank, but it is privately financed by devoted fans,thats its charm. I pass it on my way to visit George and when I go and watch Rosslyn Park play.
The notice board reminds of the heartfelt and hopeless notes you see on Prayers are asked for boards in churches. On the Bolan board yesterday were hung models of Tibetan bells, a beefeater and a swan. One message read Donald Ross,life time fan,died 29/5/15. Another read We came on your 68th birthday, we miss you Rosanne. One note sadly stated Forever in our hearts, Rock On,Love, Glitter, Flowers, Geraldine and Jamie. Many other cris de coeur had been washed unintelligible.
Elsewhere on one of our trips to New York we stumbled across the annual John Lennon memorial gig. This takes place on the anniversary of his murder , December 8 1980 in Central Park opposite his home in the massive Dakota block. The area has been redesigned and consecrated Strawberry Fields not least because of a $1m donated by Yoko Ono. Here in pure Woodstock sty le, on that day, desperately sincere fans gather round holding candles and strumming guitars and of course singing Imagine. Arguably the world’s best ever pop song. But without no hell or heaven where would David, John and Marc go? The fans don’t care ,the nature of pilgrimage is that somehow by touching or being near the relic, its sanctity will somehow rub off on you. Which of course it does. Its easy if you try. Bless.
My daughter owns a flat in Brixton perhaps she should turn it into an airb&b dedicated to Bowie pilgrims. There maybe a problem in supplying relevant bath room facilities for transgender persons.