Image by Rosalind Atkins. Please contact me if you are unhappy with its use.
(Soon to be replaced by my own linocut efforts…)

Monday, May 31, 2010

8. The Bolan Tree

Two centuries later, and another memorial to an English legend. Only this time the tree in question wasn't planted in honour of the dead hero, but was the direct cause of his death.
An unprepossessing sycamore on Queens Ride, Barnes in London marks the spot where T-Rex singer/songwriter Marc Bolan died on 16th September 1977. Bolan was returning from a night out at Mortons, a club in Mayfair, with his girlfriend Gloria Jones (singer of the original Tainted Love). They were less than a mile from Bolan's East Sheen home when Jones lost control of her Mini on a hump-back bridge and crashed into the tree.
Bolan, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was killed instantly.

Fans quickly turned the tree into an unofficial shrine to Bolan, and in 2007 (the 30th anniversary of his death), this was formalised by the English Tourist Board in 'England Rocks', their 'New Guide of Sites of Rock'n'Roll Importance'. Memorial plaques and a bronze bust of Bolan also feature at the site. The tree itself has been tended by the T-Rex Action Group since 1999, when it was in danger of falling down.

Several conspiracy theories suggest Bolan had a typically poetic premonition of his death:
• In the song 'Celebrate Summer' he sings "Summer is heaven in 77".
• In the song 'Solid Gold Easy Action', he sings "Easy as picking foxes from a tree". The number plate on Jones' Mini was FOX 661L.
• In the same song is the line "Woman from the East with her headlights shining eased my pain and stopped my crying". As they were driving from central to South West London, they were technically travelling from the East; plus their home was in East Sheen. Jones herself, however, was from Cincinnati, which is the West however you look at it.

I don't know if it helps to suggestthere's something mystical about a man dying in a car crash. But if you want to pay your respects to an undeniable talent, track the tree down (opposite Gypsy Lane) and leave your own floral tribute.


Electric Wind said...

Been to the TREE many times, it's such a pity that the lease is owned by a woman whose main love was Steve Took,and who just uses Marc Bolan as an ego trip. A very nasty woman who is disliked by 99.9% of Bolan Fans. We appreciate the work done eg the steps,but the bust looks nothing like Marc Bolan,this is were are Hero died and it belongs to ALL fans of Marc.


Fee said...

Dear All. It is a great regret that a small percentage of Marc Bolan fans are quite frankly deranged. There are so many wonderful fans, and nameless idiots like this one give the impression that all Marc Bolan fans are raving loonies.
Dear Electric Wind. What a pity you hide behind a faceless image and a silly pseudonym. As for who I am a fan of. The majority of people consider me to be a huge Bolan fan, because of what I and the other members of TAG have done.
What have you done Electric Wind?
Nothing, other than spread hateful jealous lies about me.
I, like people knew actually knew Marc Bolan know he had good and bad points. Sadly some of his fans only ever want to hear 'nice' things, which detracts from him as a human being. Flawed, but with a fabulous talent and a smile that can still set hearts racing around the globe.
As you well know Electric Wind, the lease is owned by four people and you REFUSE to target your nastiness at the Chairman - Mr. Kevin Warner, because it is easier for you to pick on a disabled woman, than face-up to another MAN.
If I was truly the "very nasty woman" you say I am, I would have had a fence put around the whole thing to ensure people like you could not get to it and vandalise the site as your friends have done in the past.
I am just one of of the four. All of us have worked very hard to make and keep the site looking a tribute to Marc Bolan and his band T.Rex, which makes your comment that my main love is Steve Took sound laughable, otherwise I would have made a Shrine for him.
I would NOT have spent my money (and no one else's) on the Bronze of Marc Bolan which his own Brother described as "a wonderful likeness".
Only after you pay for a second Bronze of Marc will you FAIRLY be able to criticise the one there. One final point - if, as you say, the site belongs to ALL fans, then YOU can pay for the tree surgeon to rectify the mindless vandalism to the tree.
Off you go.
Let's see how many of these "ALL" want to put their hands in their pockets and fund a professional Tree Surgeon. As we have the lease, please let us know when he is doing the work and ensure that all the correct paperwork with regards to the Highways Agency and the Local Council has been done.
It is a weight of my mind that you are going to do the fund raising for it. You shouldn't need more than around £700-£1,000.
Finally, Electric Wind - Do come to the Shrine on the 16th September and express your thoughts to the TAG Chairman in person.

Fee said...

Due to the poisoning of the Bolan Tree it has now been felled because it was unsafe and could have fallen and injured, or killed passing road users. The felling required professional tree surgeons. This money was donated by genuine Marc Bolan fans. It was originally hoped that if the funds could be raised, a piece of the Bolan Tree could have been carved as a totem pole-like piece of art for the site, with images inspired by Marc Bolan Lyrics including the "Tree Wizard", "Ride a White Swan", "Unicorn", and more.

Sadly this money was not forthcoming and it should be noted that although Electric Wind stated "it belongs to ALL fans of Marc" those "All fans of Marc" known to "Electric Wind" donated nothing to the site's care in general, or this project.

Therefore there is no carved piece of the tree at the site. The rest of the site is still there as Marc Bolan's Rock Shrine.

Mrs. Fee Warner.
Written as TAG Secretary, Marc Bolan Fan since 1970, Web Mistress to Steve Peregrin Took's Domain and friend to the late Micky Finn.

Amela Jones said...

Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

Tree Surgeon Peterborough