Under the Sycamore Tree

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.

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