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The Starman has gone home to the stars

It was a shock to hear about David Bowie's death this morning. In his constant reinventions, he had somehow managed to appear ageless. Lemmy's death at the end of last year, while equally sudden, was hardly unexpected, but Bowie's departure seemed - to me at least - to come out of the blue.

I can't say I am a superfan; maybe I'm too young, but I was always more into artists inspired by Bowie (which is pretty much anyone worth listening to) rather than the man himself. However, when I first travelled to Berlin, I made a point of seeking out the old watchtower which was (purportedly) the one immortalised in Heroes. It's a strange location, behind what was still at the time the brand new Sony centre at Potsdamer Platz. The traces of Bowie's Berlin were rapidly disappearing, although the scars of the Wall were still very much in evidence, especially from the U-Bahn.

It was strange to stand there, between the gleaming glass towers and the ruins of the Luftwaffe HQ, with this watchtower neatly bookended between them in time and space, and to think about what Berlin had seen over the last century and the strange conjunction of circumstances that had brought Bowie there and led him to write that song.

RIP, Starman.

Alternative Ties

I had kind of lost track of Duff McKagan after Guns ’n Roses imploded. Axl and Slash stayed more or less in the public eye, but Duff, Izzy and the others dropped off the radar.

Now here he turns up doing Sweet Child of Mine, accompanied by Krist Novoselic of Nirvana - on the accordion, of all things, and playing both the melody and the vocal part. Check it out:

But what I really wanted to point out was that Duff is wearing a tie, of all the unexpected things for a member of Guns ’n Roses to wear. This just goes to prove my ongoing contention that a tie is the most alternative thing you can wear, now that showing up for business meetings in Chucks barely raises an eyebrow.