Remembering David Bowie in Berlin

I will never forget that Monday morning, when the news of Davids passing broke out. Berliners are not a very proud folk, nor are they easily moved or over-emotional about things. But that very Monday morning in early January, conversations were dominated by the sad news. The shock and grief in the city was almost palpable. If you think about it, it was very unlike Berlin. A city that let David move around at ease, when he lived in the city from 1976 until 1978. I once saw an interview with David, in which he stated that it was in Berlin, where he had to learn to do his own groceries again. Berliners couldn't be bothered about this rock star, and it was exact the situation David needed.

How different was it last month. The pavement in front of the apartment David shared with Iggy Pop - Hauptstrasse 155 in Schöneberg -, had turned into a sea of flowers, candles and beautiful memorabilia. An out poor of sadness from fans, admirers and tourists, but also from regular Berliners.
There was a common feeling among every single person I saw at the Hauptstrasse or talked to in the days and weeks after. Everybody is so grateful for Davids brilliant music, the films he made, his wisdom, wit and sense of humour, and of course the amazing parting gift he left behind, the album ‘Blackstar'. In Berlin, Davids life was celebrated with playing his music, an open day at the Hansa Studios at Potsdamer Platz - where Low and Heroes were recorded - and many other tributes.

This gratitude showed in something else too, something that touched my heart, and the hearts of many others. January was a rather cold month, with -10ºC and lots of snow. The wind came from the east, blowing cold wind from Russia over Poland, right into our city. When I walked to the metro station of Rathaus Schöneberg, I saw the little lake next to the station was frozen. Children were playing and ice skating on it, but not on the whole lake. Overnight, on a part of the little lake, someone made a beautiful tribute to David out of snow and ice. By removing the snow in a certain pattern, it showed a huge black star and written under it: Let’s dance. It was so simple, modest, and yet so typical for a city where tributes and monuments for people are a part of daily life. I think I took a hundred photo's there, while children made sure to keep the star and letters snow free. They played, in full joy of life, no sadness, no sorrows. It was beautiful.

It was right then and there that I fully came to realise, that, despite the fact there's a huge amount of people very sad about David's untimely passing, there's an even larger crowd so enormously grateful for what David created and left behind. I know for sure, that in the future, this gratefulness will be paramount.

May Gods love be with you.

Berlin, Germany

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