“Something Happened on the Day He Died.”
I was on the bus to work when I got the news. 8am, and a work group chat message reads “Shit Robin, Bowie! I’m so sorry.” Blackstar had just come out, and I assumed it was something in relation to that – a gag at bad reviews, perhaps? .
A glance at the news sites confirmed the worst. I immediately got off the bus. I hit Facebook, Twitter, whatever I could to see if my friends had heard the news. Bill was awake in Dubai, a frantic, if fruitless voice chat over Facebook ensued. Utter confusion.
I seriously considered calling in sick, but hopped on the tube anyway, desperately scanning the faces of those around to see if they knew.
Arriving at work, there was only one thing for it. I tuned into 6Music. Naturally, Shaun, Matt, Lauren & the whole team were in shock, but the support they gave that morning was invaluable.
There were murmurs of meet ups to reflect, so right after work I made the pilgrimage to the mural opposite Brixton Station – masses of people leaving flowers, notes, tributes, before wandering across to the Ritzy where the facade had been altered from whatever film was screening that day, to a simple tribute to “Our Brixton Boy”. Sing alongs, loudspeakers, and facepaint – the air was electric. .
I headed to a local pub to wait for a friend, to jointly process the events of the day. Naturally, the bar was playing his greatest hits. The speakers got louder as the evening progressed, as did the singing. A wonderful wake.
The last year has been an interesting one where I’ve been trying to process just what David Bowie meant to me. I’m still not sure. But I hope to convey it over the next couple of days, if you’ll indulge me (christ knows you have already!)
RIP Bowie. We still miss you.