Why David, Why Aylesbury?

Following the untimely death of David Bowie on 10 January 2016, a groundswell of opinion surfaced in Buckinghamshire, England to celebrate his art in a permanent way, in recognition of the strong connection he had with music club Friars Aylesbury.

Bowie performed the world debuts of two of the most iconic albums of the 20th century ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ at Friars Aylesbury on 25th September 1971 and 29 January 1972 respectively. He formed The Spiders from Mars with Mick Ronson, Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Boulder in the tiny Friars dressing room at the Borough Assembly Hall in Aylesbury’s Market Square.

The first track on the Ziggy Stardust album ‘Five Years’ references Aylesbury Market Square.

“Pushing through the Market Square – so many mothers sighing”.

On January 16 2016, the Saturday following Bowie leaving us, a special event was organised in Aylesbury Market Square to celebrate his music and his legacy with thousands of people attending. A petition was started to create a Bowie statue in Aylesbury which quickly reached over 2000 signatures. Subsequently Aylesbury Town Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council all debated and voted to support the idea of a statue of David Bowie in Aylesbury Market Square with the proviso that no council tax payer’s money would be available to fund the project.

With local authority permissions in place, a Kickstarter crowd-funding scheme was instigated in November 2016 to raise £100,000. At the end of a 40-day campaign this was successful with over £115,000 raised.

Internationally renowned Buckinghamshire sculptor Andrew Sinclair, who is in the vanguard of the new British figurative sculpture movement, was appointed to create the work. Throughout 2017 the sculpture, which has been entitled ‘Earthly Messenger’, has steadily progressed and an unveiling date of Sunday 25th March 2018 has been fixed.

The statue features two main figures. Bowie as Ziggy Stardust circa 1973 and again in his 2002 “Heathen’ blue suit period. Behind these two main figures will be most of the main characters that David portrayed in his long career including references to Space Oddity, Hunky Dory, Ashes to Ashes, Aladdin Sane, Labyrinth, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Life on Mars, Young Americans, The Next Day and Blackstar.

Over 30% of those who pledged funds in the crowd-funding campaign came from outside the United Kingdom and many have already booked their airfares for the unveiling.

The statue is expected to be the No. 1 USP for Aylesbury and indeed the whole of Buckinghamshire.

Bowie, famous for his work with children’s charities, is considered to be one of the most globally iconic musicians and actors of the past 100 years. In 2016 he was the second best-selling recording artist in the world.

This sculpture will be the first statue of David Bowie in the world and is expected to permanently boost tourism and the economic wellbeing of Aylesbury for many years to come.

 

Contact: David and Sue Stopps for Friars Aylesbury Community Projects

davidstopps@fmlmusic.com  Tel: 07899 870023

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