London Bye Ta-Ta. David Bowie, Brixton boy.

Could the Man Who Fell to Earth have landed anywhere other than SW9?

We always knew Bowie was a Brixton boy. 40 Stansfield Road, the Brixton Pound tenner, latterly Aladdin Sane next to Morleys. It was cool.

But what with the preachers and the drummers and the snapper and the hipsters and the drunks and the drugs; the evictions and the Foxtons and the Albert and Academy it was just one of those Brixton things. We never gave it that much thought. Everyone has to come from somewhere. Even Major Tom.

Then came Monday morning.

Swiftly Brixton and Bowie made utter sense. Sure, there were other places he called home – New York, Berlin, Bromley, Beckenham – but Brixton was where the magic began. And as thousands of people have made their way to party and to pay respects, Brixton has become the most pertinent of pilgrimages.

More meaningful than Kurt’s Seattle Center or Diana’s Kensington Palace Gates – Brixton stands as perfect metaphor for Bowie and his unique importance.

And it is unique – unique to each of us; changing for all of us. It’s being written about everywhere. The moment Bowie told us all it was OK to be different. Different to our parents, different to each other.

Whether blasting out of Top Of The Pops with Mick Ronson and Starman or lambasting MTV for their lack of black artists; outing himself in Melody Maker or turning us on to the Velvet Underground, Bowie was – is – proof positive that there’s always another way to live. A semi-secular saint preaching curiosity, creativity, tolerance and taking-it-to-the-limit.

Like the place of his birth, Bowie’s an enigmatic flame attracting all manner of moths. Rooted like Brixton in the grand traditions of music hall and theatre; emblematic of the seismic post-war societal shifts. At once transporting and utterly down-to-earth.

So as the flowers on Brixton Road pile ever-higher, the Brixton Pound calls for a permanent tribute to SW9’s prettiest star.

A monumental piece of public art in a prominent Brixton location.

From one London character to another, a heartfelt thank you.


Written by Charlie Waterhouse of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll who designed the 2nd edition Brixton Pound notes (including the famous Bowie tenner)