Yesterday, a crowdfunding campaign to have a memorial to David Bowie built in the middle of Brixton was launched. The memorial in question takes the form of a giant lightning bolt (as in, the Aladdin Sanealbum cover) "in gravity-defying red and blue-sprayed stainless steel." The structure, described by the campaign as "a monumental piece of public art," is proposed to be three storeys high, and would be placed five streets away from the late musician's birthplace.
This is, we can all agree, a lovely idea. It's important to honour the influential, and those who have inspired and gone before us. But this particular campaign fails to recall that in the suggested ocation, this monument to Bowie would only be literally a few feet away from Brixton's existing Bowie mural, painted by artist Jimmy C, which, since his death has become something of a shrine, where fans from all over the world leave candles, flowers and mementos. Do we really need another Bowie memorial, then? Specifically, do we really need another Bowie memorial that has a fundraising target of £990,000? More specifically, do we really need a fat-off lighting bolt, that will probably eclipse the sun at dusk, leaving the whole of Brixton shivering in the shadows beneath? Is that what Bowie would have wanted?
It appears that a lot of people think so: the David Bowie Memorial campaign raised £30,000 in its first day, and donations are still rolling in. But where does this stop? How many David Bowie memorials can Brixton possibly hold? Will Brixton become a giant Bowie memorial, in the same way that Camden is now a living paean to Amy Winehouse?
There comes a point when we can't do any more for our heroes. I think this is the moment at which we have to accept that we're at this point with Bowie. Often, the best way to honour an icon is to enjoy the legacy they left behind via their art – which speaks for itself – and allow them to rest in peace. A giant lightning bolt certainly sounds novel, but surely it's easier, cheaper and more personal to simply go home, play your favourite Bowie track with a whiskey shot, and remember him (and his fellow legends) that way.