This story originally appeared on Noisey UK.
Last night hundreds of people gathered in the streets of David Bowie’s native Brixton as part of a street party in his memory. Plans for the celebration had emerged on social media not long after the announcement of Bowie’s passing at 7 AM yesterday morning, and quickly gathered steam with over 7,000 people registering their interest on Facebook. The crowd filled Brixton Road from the early evening and continued playing Bowie’s music well into the night.
We headed down to join the tributes at around 9 PM, and were immediately struck not only by the masses already there, but the huge variation in demographic and age range. It’s obviously not much of a surprise, everyone from your nan to your nephew loves Bowie, but to see it played out so vividly was quite dreamy.
We started near the mural of Ziggy Stardust just opposite Brixton station, then weaved through the bodies, acoustic guitars, and empty champagne bottles until we reached a brilliant display of candles, flowers, and personal written tributes. To our left, a man who looked probably only a few years younger than Bowie, wearing rainbow-striped lycra sat slumped against the mural, was crying.
From there, up to Brixton’s Ritzy cinema, where the words “David Bowie, Our Brixton Boy, RIP” had been spelled out above the door. It was here that the bulk of the people were gathered, some just drinking and occasionally chanting Bowie’s name like he was some sort of legendary hardline football manager, others leading huge singalongs. Someone even painted the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt on the unexpecting face of Sir Henry Tate, whose monument stands outside the Tate Central Library. Before too long, a handful of police cars showed up, in part to manage the traffic and block the road, but also possibly to coax down the couple who had clambered on top of a phone box for a dance.
It’s a strange thing when sadness turns into a party, and last night it was often hard to tell whether people were mourning or just there to get a bit pissed and sing “Space Oddity”. The air was as full of confused tears as it was the sound of bottles clinking and crackly sound-systems blaring “Let’s Dance”. Yet, for an artist with so many identities, who affected so many different people, in so many different ways, it seems sort of fitting that the response to his death would take so many forms.
Anyway, here’s a shitload of videos of how it went down, and you can read the full VICE photo story, right here.
HERE'S HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE BELTING "STARMAN"January 12, 2016
HERE'S HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE PARTYING TO "LET'S DANCE" LIKE THEY'RE IN A CLUB
Brixton is currently bouncing to the sound of one of its greatest sons. BOWIE loud and proud https://t.co/cArYEAIV8I— John Dawkins (@dawkinscov1980) January 11, 2016
HERE'S HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE DOING "SUFFRAGETE CITY" A CAPELLA
"Suffragette City" by the David Bowie memorial in Brixton. pic.twitter.com/khcu18SUtJ— Tim Chester (@timchester) January 11, 2016
HERE'S HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE SINGING "SPACE ODDITY"January 11, 2016
HERE'S HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE SINGING "LIFE ON MARS"
Life On Mars live from the streets of Brixton pic.twitter.com/KnzNZZgzRh— Paul B ★★★★ (@paulbridgewater) January 11, 2016
HERE'S EVEN MORE PEOPLE SINGING "LIFE ON MARS"
AND HERE'S THE POLICE
See the full VICE photo story from last night here.
Follow Angus on Twitter.