10 Of The Best David Bowie Sights In London
1: The Brixton Mural
In 2013, street artist James Cochran painted the outside wall of Morleys department store in Brixton with a mural based on Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover. Mourners scrawled so many messages over it that it had to be repainted this summer, and Lambeth Council is in talks to make it a listed monument.
Tunstall Rd, SW9 8EH
2: Bowie’s Birthplace
Bowie’s childhood home is an ordinary-looking four-bedroom house, a couple of streets up from rock venue the O2 Academy Brixton, where Bowie performed in later life. Interviewed about its heritage in the Mirror newspaper, the house’s current owner was unimpressed: ‘It’s not a big deal. The odd person takes photos of the house but no more than that.’
40 Stansfield Rd, SW9 9RZ
3: Ziggy Stardust Cover
On the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, the album that first sent Bowie’s career stratospheric, he is shot in Heddon Street under a K. West sign (later stolen by a fan). The furrier in question has long since given way to posh restaurants, but a plaque commemorates the spotwhere Bowie stood: at No 23, then a makeshift studio in which photographer Brian Ward was doing the cover shoot.
Heddon St, W1
4: Musical Hangout
For 50 years, this central London street, nicknamed Tin Pan Alley, has been associated with popular music. In his teens, Bowie hung out so often at the Giaconda café (now the Flat Iron steak restaurant), with musical friends like Marc Bolan and the Small Faces, that he was spotted there by BBC researchers and ended up on TV advocating a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. There are still numerous music shops on the street, but perhaps not for much longer: the area is being redeveloped for Crossrail.
Denmark St, WC2
5: Bowie’s Mansion
Bowie spent his early musical years in Beckenham, south London – 40 minutes away from the central London. Haddon Hall, the ramshackle mansion Bowie lived in with his wife Angie, painting the ceilings silver and throwing lavish parties, has been demolished. However, the Three Tuns pub where he ran the Beckenham Arts Lab now thrives as part of the Italian restaurant chain, Zizzi. A plaque outside marks this musical history, and murals inside inspired by Bowie albums and films add a touch of Zizzi stardust.
Beckenham, BR3 1AE
6: Lazarus The Musical
Bowie has taken the central character from his most famous film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and built a ‘play with words’ around him. Its plot may be baffling and elliptical, but critics and public alike have given it rave reviews for the staging and, of course, the magnificent songs.
Kings Cross Theatre, Kings Boulevard, N1C 4BU
7: Musical Instruments
Established in 1971, this ever-popular burger joint is stuffed with rock memorabilia. The best, including a guitar once belonging to Bowie, is kept in The Vault, which formerly protected the Queen’s valuables as part of Coutts bank.
Hard Rock Café, Park Lane, W1K 1QZ
8: Festival Fever
David Bowie organised a free festival in Croydon Road Recreation Ground in 1969, an event he immortalised in the song Memory of a Free Festival on the album Space Oddity. The bandstand where he played is now known as the Bowie Bandstand, and a restoration project is planned.
Beckenham, BR3 3PR
9: A Tribute Act
A lavish show is promised on 14 Jan by ‘Europe’s finest Bowie tribute act’, Absolute Bowie. The Spiders from Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey has given the group his blessing, calling it ‘the closest to the real thing you’ll get’.
O2 Academy Islington, N1 OPS
10: 70th Birthday
On Sat 7 Jan you can let out your inner space man at Feeling Gloomy: David Bowie: 70th Birthday Celebration at The Phoenix. Dressing up is encouraged, from spacesuits to face paints, and the night includes classic Bowie songs alongside indie favourites from the likes of Iggy Pop and Kate Bush.
37 Cavendish Square, W1G 0PP