The Kurfürstendamm (colloquially Ku’damm) is one of the most famous avenues in the city. The broad, long boulevard can be considered the Champs-Élysées of Berlin and is lined with shops, houses, hotels and restaurants.
In an interview with the BBC, Bowie said that his song “Always Crashing In The Same Car” was written about an incident that occurred on Kurfürstendamm.
I wrote that in Berlin, in the mid to late Seventies. […] The full story is rather alarming. I’m not sure if I should tell it or not.
It involved a coke dealer whose car I saw on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin one day, and I’d got it into my mind that he screwed me over a deal. My very good friends Iggy Pop and Coco Schwab had clubbed together and bought me a really cheap but lovely Mercedes, 1954 I think it was. You know the ones with rabbit skin around the steering wheel? So delightful. It didn’t have a floor! It was all very rusted. We were all very broke in those days. It was a bit like a pedal car, if your feet went through. It was quite dicey.
So I was driving that and I saw this guy, let’s call him Johan, in the car. And I was so crazed I started ramming him in the Kurfürstendamm, in daylight, in, like, 12 o’clock in the day. And I rammed him and I rammed him, and I was ramming him, He looked around and I could see he was mortally terrified for his life. I’m not surprised. I rammed him for a good, it must have been a good five to ten minutes, which is a very long time actually. Nobody stopped me. Nobody did anything. And I got out of it, ‘What am I doing?’
That night everything came to a kind of a spiritual impasse, you know? And I really was down in a hotel garage, and I started going round and round, just like a movie I’d seen. I thought, ‘Oh, this is so Kirk Douglas in that film [Two Weeks In Another Town] where he lets go of the steering wheel.’ [laughs] You can tell what kind of condition I was in. Or what condition my condition was in. So I started going round and round, faster and faster. And then I let go. And as I let go I ran out of petrol. I just slowly came to a stop! I thought, ‘Oh God, this is the story of my life.’ As it happens, things picked up after that! [laughs]– David Bowie, BBC Radio Theatre, 27 June 2000