Bowie statue campaign continues as Marillion’s Steve Hogarth gives his support

David Bowie at Friars, July 15, 1972
David Bowie at Friars, July 15, 1972
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Friars supremo David Stopps is pushing ahead with the campaign for a statue of David Bowie in Aylesbury.

The campaign was put on hold for a week after Aylesbury Vale District Council raised the issue of whether it was something that he and his family would approve of.

Mr Stopps wrote to his connections close to Bowie’s family. In the end he was told to rely on the official statement from the family which read: “Just as each and everyone of us found something unique in David’s music, we welcome everyone’s celebration of his life as they see fit.”

Mr Stopps said the statue ‘will not be a memorial and will not show David’s birth date and date of death’.

Rather it would be a celebration of his art and ‘special connection’ to Aylesbury, where he debuted his iconic Ziggy Stardust album.

Mr Stopps said: “We are not asking council tax payers for any money. We intend to raise the money from crowd funding and grants.”

He said all that was needed was for local councils to’ approve a suitable site, which we think should be under the arches where the floral tribute was’.

“The statue will not be on a tall plinth like that of Disraeli or John Hampden, but rather at ground level in the same way as the Ronnie Barker statue.

“If we can make timely progress Aylesbury could be the first town on earth to have a Bowie statue. We are also proceeding with a design for a plaque in the alley by the Green Man which was approved by Aylesbury Town Council some time ago. Whilst a plaque will be of interest to local people it will draw very few people to the town. A statue, on the other hand, will draw people to Aylesbury every day for the next 100 years.”

The floral tributes to Bowie under the arches at the bottom of the Market Square have now been removed.

A petition calling for a statue currently has 1,200 signatures and is now available to sign online at change.org – search for ‘Bowie Aylesbury’ on the website.

A Friars statement added: “We are also very engaged in the future of music in Aylesbury and were very encouraged by our attendance at the Aylesbury Alternative Music Society last week. We want to work with all interested parties to put more live music events on in Aylesbury. In the long term we need a new music venue like the O2 Academy in Oxford where new breaking artists and bands can play. Watch this space.”

STEVE HOGARTH:

On behalf of everyone in rock n’ roll and particularly as the singer of Marillion (27 years), I’d like to add my voice to the lobby to erect a statue to David Bowie in the Market Square.

Bowie debuted his classic and seminal album “Hunky Dory” at Friars and, (I am reliably informed by David Stopps) actually made the decision to form his band (which would become “The Spiders from Mars”) in the dressing room of the building which now stands adjacent to the Market Square.

Bowie mentions the Market Square in the opening line of his song “Five Years” and later used Friars to showcase his Ziggy Stardust live set to American journalists flown in specially for the occasion.

He had a fondness for Friars which he expressed only last year when he sent a txt wishing David Stopps all the best with the Friars exhibition in Aylesbury Museum.

I was with David S when the txt came in. DB wasn’t a man to send frivolous messages so it must have been as heartfelt as it was rare.

Let’s be proud of Aylesbury’s relationship with this unique and brilliant artist.

We won’t see the like of him again.

His influence runs through my music just as it does everyone else whether they know it or not.

I’m often down at Abbey Road studios in London and never cease to be amazed at the constant presence of Japanese tourists and kids from all over the world who pay homage.

It would be good for the town if they were to add the David Bowie statue in Aylesbury to their “must see” list. They could do it on their way to Bicester Village...