All photos by Vincent Bittner & Franziska Knobloch
As my companion and I leave the subway, the rain begins, softly. "It has to be around here," she says to me, suggesting we're getting close to the Berlin house where the David Bowie lived next to Iggy Pop in the 1970s. Throughout the decade he recorded a trio of albums in the city—dubbed his "Berlin Trilogy." We embark on a geo-navigated journey to the rock god's former home. Eventually, we find we've stumbled on it without the assistance of our phones. It's pretty hard to miss.
On the sidewalk in front of us is a TV team setting up their equipment. The boulevard that's dissecting the various lanes of traffic overflows with people holding cameras, iPads, and their various smartphones high in the air to catch a glimpse of Bowie's former address—located at Hauptstrasse 155. A tattoo parlor currently occupies part of the building. At the doors there are more groups of grieving fans, and Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" flows lightly through a speaker system into the night air. While people continue to lay down candles, chaplets, and cards in memoriam—one young man who appears to actually live inside the house struggles to make his way through the front door amidst the sprawling tribute. A booze-reeking member of the assembled crowd suggests that the youngster may not even know who Bowie is.
The group of mourners don't seem to be very sad; they're taking selfies, sitting on the ground, and talking about music. Even the police are there just to guarantee that no one's getting run over by passing cars. As I turn my back to the ongoing of this small Berlin sidewalk, "Heroes" begins to play from the speakers. The music somehow seems louder than it did before.