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DEATH OF DAVID BOWIE

MUSIC

Bowie’s old studio opens doors for fan farewell

The former Hansa Studios, where David Bowie spent much of his time in the years he spent in Berlin in the late 1970s, is throwing a party on Friday for his fans in the capital to raise a glass – or just put on the red shoes and dance the blues.

Bowie's old studio opens doors for fan farewell
File photo: DPA

“We are all still shocked and endlessly sad about David's passing and his unsuccessful battle against cancer,” the event organizers wrote on Facebook.

“Only a few days ago we were celebrating David's birthday and Blackstar album release,” at the Meistersaal (formerly Hansa Studio 2), they went on. “Now we have to say goodbye to the true chameleon of pop music.”

Among the guests is sound engineer Eduard Meyer, who worked with Bowie at Hansa Studios during his Berlin period in 1976-9, when the singer produced the albums “Low” (1977), “Heroes” (1977) and “Lodger” (1979).

“Now we're standing here and crying,” he told fans gathered in the Meistersaal.

Fans are invited along all afternoon on Friday to “say goodbye to David Bowie in their own way” at the singer's former haunt.

And by the morning a queue had already formed along the street to join in the memorial.

“You can use the stage to share personal words or memories with us, play his music or just light a candle and think of him together,” organizers wrote.

“We can be heroes, forever and ever!”

Petition for a 'David Bowie Street'

The event is just the latest in a series of moves to commemorate Bowie in the city where he left an indelible mark on culture and consciousness.

Almost 10,000 people had by Friday signed a petition to administrators in the Schöneberg district to rename Hauptstraße, where the rock icon lived with Iggy Pop at number 155, in Bowie's honour.

“There are many Haupstraßen in Berlin, but still no David Bowie Street,” the petition read. “This extraordinary artist has earned a special honour in Berlin.”

SEE ALSO: Berlin pays tribute to dearly departed Bowie

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HISTORY

‘Lost’ manuscript of pro-Nazi French author published 78 years later

A book by one of France's most celebrated and controversial literary figures arrives in bookstores this week, 78 years after the manuscript disappeared

'Lost' manuscript of pro-Nazi French author published 78 years later

It is a rare thing when the story of a book’s publication is even more mysterious than the plot of the novel itself.

But that might be said of Guerre (War) by one of France’s most celebrated and controversial literary figures, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, which arrives in bookstores on Thursday, some 78 years after its manuscript disappeared.

Celine’s reputation has somehow survived the fact that he was one of France’s most eager collaborators with the Nazis.

Already a superstar thanks to his debut novel Journey to the End of the Night (1932), Celine became one of the most ardent anti-Semitic propagandists even before France’s occupation.

In June 1944, with the Allies advancing on Paris, the writer abandoned a pile of his manuscripts in his Montmartre apartment.

Celine feared rough treatment from authorities in liberated France, having spent the war carousing with the Gestapo, and giving up Jews and foreigners to the Nazi regime and publishing racist pamphlets about Jewish world conspiracies.

For decades, no one knew what happened to his papers, and he accused resistance fighters of burning them. But at some point in the 2000s, they ended up with retired journalist Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, who passed them – completely out of the blue – to Celine’s heirs last summer.

‘A miracle’
Despite the author’s history, reviews of the 150-page novel, published by Gallimard, have been unanimous in their praise.

“The end of a mystery, the discovery of a great text,” writes Le Point; a “miracle,” says Le Monde; “breathtaking,” gushes Journal du Dimanche.

Gallimard has yet to say whether the novel will be translated.

Like much of Celine’s work, Guerre is deeply autobiographical, recounting his experiences during World War I.

It opens with 20-year-old Brigadier Ferdinand finding himself miraculously alive after waking up on a Belgian battlefield, follows his treatment and hasty departure for England – all based on Celine’s real experiences.

His time across the Channel is the subject of another newly discovered novel, Londres (London), to be published this autumn.

If French reviewers seem reluctant to focus on Celine’s rampant World War II anti-Semitism, it is partly because his early writings (Guerre is thought to date from 1934) show little sign of it.

Journey to the End of the Night was a hit among progressives for its anti-war message, as well as a raw, slang-filled style that stuck two fingers up at bourgeois sensibilities.

Celine’s attitude to the Jews only revealed itself in 1937 with the publication of a pamphlet, Trifles for a Massacre, which set him on a new path of racial hatred and conspiracy-mongering.

He never back-tracked. After the war, he launched a campaign of Holocaust-denial and sought to muddy the waters around his own war-time exploits – allowing him to worm his way back into France without repercussions.

‘Divine surprise’
Many in the French literary scene seem keen to separate early and late Celine.

“These manuscripts come at the right time – they are a divine surprise – for Celine to become a writer again: the one who matters, from 1932 to 1936,” literary historian Philippe Roussin told AFP.

Other critics say the early Celine was just hiding his true feelings.

They highlight a quote that may explain the gap between his progressive novels and reactionary feelings: “Knowing what the reader wants, following fashions like a shopgirl, is the job of any writer who is very financially constrained,” Celine wrote to a friend.

Despite his descent into Nazism, he was one of the great chroniclers of the trauma of World War I and the malaise of the inter-war years.

An exhibition about the discovery of the manuscripts opens on Thursday at the Gallimard Gallery and includes the original, hand-written sheets of Guerre.

They end with a line that is typical of Celine: “I caught the war in my head. It is locked in my head.”

In the final years before his death in 1961, Celine endlessly bemoaned the loss of his manuscripts.

The exhibition has a quote from him on the wall: “They burned them, almost three manuscripts, the pest-purging vigilantes!”

This was one occasion – not the only one – where he was proved wrong.

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