David Bowie died Sunday night after an 18-month-long battle with cancer. As the music world mourns the loss of a star, here are some of Bowie’s most memorable places to pay tribute to the iconic singer.
This little Georgian street loaded with guitar shops still has the same claustrophobic, in-crowd appeal that drew a young Davy Jones to catch a train in from Bromley. The blond-haired teenager sat for hours in the Giaconda Coffee Bar, spinning fantasies of stardom with Marc Bolan or Steve Marriott, from 1963 or so.
Vintage and Rare Guitars is another period jewel, unchanged for 200, never mind 50, years with a beautiful, mid-18th-century panelled interior crammed with beautifully patina-ed 50s Gibsons and Fenders at anything up to £60,000 – its customers have included Bowie's band members.
The tiny St Anne's Court is home to Trident Studios, where David recorded Space Oddity and, after a couple of fallow years, his coveted breakthrough, the Ziggy Stardust album. The doorway is tiny and anonymous, as it always was, and the studio is smaller, but you can still hire it for voiceover work if you fancy emulating your hero.
The huddle of buildings west of Wardour Street all formed a backdrop to Bowie's teens. Brewer and Windmill Street still buzz with authentic Soho sleaze; in 1964, many of the buildings featured interconnecting first floors with clubs or brothels which bands hired as rehearsal spaces.
Archer Street, completing the block, was the home of Charlie Chester's Casino – here, David and band would nod politely at the Kray Twins and, on one occasion, auditioned for whizz-kid producer Mickie Most. The casino's sign is still there, although today the building hosts the elegant Italian restaurant, Bocca di Lupo.
The elegant, airy Georgian and Edwardian terraces around Manchester Square, which back in the 1960s housed the EMI offices. It was on these streets that Bowie the Mod blossomed into something far more eclectic and exotic, influenced by manager Ken Pitt, who nurtured Bowie's career up to Space Oddity.
David moved into Pitt's flat at 39 Manchester Street in June 1967. After a session reading Pitts' books on Aubrey Beardsley or Oscar Wilde, he'd venture out to Pollock's Toy Museum. "He'd come back with all sorts of things," says Pitt, "then he'd pin them on the wall." Today, the Toy Museum has moved a little nearer, just by Goodge Street, but its Victorian prints and card theatres still evoke the off-kilter eccentricity and child-like enthusiasm of Bowie's early songs.