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MAJOR TOM 

Suddenly it all makes sense. In the BBC Bowie documentary ‘The Last Five Years’ Bowie explains that the most important character that he created in his long career was the first, Major Tom, who’s dilemma he so poignantly lyricised in ‘Space Oddity’. “For here am I sitting in a tin can, far above the world. Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do”.

Subsequently there were more Major Tom references throughout the Ziggy album, particularly ‘Starman’. “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and see us but he thinks he’d blow our minds”. It’s therefore no surprise that he was first choice to play Thomas Jerome Newton in Paul Mayersberg’s 1976 film ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ which was taken from a novel by Walter Tevis. 

Later in Ashes to Ashes from his 1980 ‘Scary Monsters and Supercreeps’ album he again references major Tom. “Ashes to ashes, funk to funky, we know Major Tom's a junkie, Strung out in heaven's high, Hitting an all-time low.” In his 1995  album ‘Outside’ ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ continues the theme. It seems that Bowie was always experimenting and lyrically reflecting on modern society and the way relationships were evolving, but at the same time was reflecting on the past particularly the dilemma of how to deal with the difficulties of celebrity. Memories it seems were omnipresent in his art. How fitting therefore that in his text to Friars Aylesbury on 1st March 2014 he said “Memories are everything apparently, and I have only great ones of the fabulous Friars.” 

Then for his final album Black Star and his co-writing on his stage play Lazarus he returned to Major Tom and ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’. Lazarus picks up on Thomas Jerome Newton’s tortured life trapped on earth. Most people when they get old and poorly just fade away but not Mr Bowie. In the last five years of his life he worked intensely and even right at the end was planning more projects and writing new songs. How lucky we are to have ‘The Next Day’, ‘Black Star’ and ‘Lazarus’ as the final farewell to one of the greatest artists to have ever walked the earth. 

MONDAY APRIL 3                 HOLY HOLY playing THE RISE and FALL of ZIGGY STARDUST and THE   SPIDERS FROM MARS (Tickets available now)

SEPTEMBER 2017                UNVEILING of THE WORLD”S FIRST STATUE of DAVID BOWIE in AYLESBURY’S MARKET SQUARE 

Holy Holy Holy feature long time Bowie producer and collaborator Tony Visconti on bass and the last surviving Spider, Woody Woodmansey on drums. It’s a complete coup that Friars has managed to secure this date. They will be performing the Ziggy Stardust album in its entirety as well as other Bowie material probably from ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ on which Visconti played bass. He co-produced no less than12 classic albums with David, ‘David Bowie’ (69), ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ (70), ‘David Live’ (74), ‘Young Americans’ (75), ‘Low’ (77), ‘Heroes’ (77), ‘Stage’ (78), ‘Lodger’ (79), ‘Scary Monsters’ (80), ‘Heathen’ (2002), ‘Reality’ (2003), ‘The Next Day’ (2013), and  ‘Black Star’ (2016). Tony produced 7 albums with T Rex including their classic Electric Warrior album. He has also produced and worked with Georgie Fame, Badfinger, Gentle Giant, Caravan, Osibisa, Thin Lizzy, Adam Ant, The Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Morrissey and Iggy Pop amongst many others.

In 2014 Woody and Tony formed Holy Holy, specifically to perform ‘The Man who Sold the World’ album live. Tony not only produced this classic 1970 album but also played bass on the original album with Woody on drums and the legendary late Mick Ronson on guitar. The group undertook a short tour in the UK in September 2014 and a larger scale tour of the UK and Japan in the summer of 2015. In January 2016 they toured the east coast of the United States and followed this with a full tour of US and Canadian cities in Spring of 2016. Holy Holy are Tony Visconti on bass, Woody Woodmansey on drums, Heaven 17’s amazing Glenn Gregory on vocals, the legendary James Stevenson from Chelsea The Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel, Gen X  (with Billy Idol), and The Cult on guitar, Berenice Scott and Jessica Morgan on keyboards. They are a truly amazing band. When Woody Woodmansey starts playing that classic drum part at the start of ‘Five Years’ for the first time at Friars Aylesbury for 44 years it’ll be quite a moment! 

As you probably know, the 40-day Kickstarter campaign to raise £100K for the world’s first statue of David Bowie to be created in Aylesbury Market Square was a huge success. Three days before the final deadline of Dec 6 we were only at £60K and to reach the goal seemed impossible. But boy did the David Bowie and Friars Aylesbury fans step up to the plate. In the last 48 hours pledges were pouring in from £1 to the maximum £6K. If you were one of the pledgers thank you, thank you, thank you! If you would still like to pledge and receive one of the rewards please email Sue@bowiestatueaylesbury.com. The statue is now definitely happening but we’ll need to raise a further £50K to complete the project. Any ideas as to how we can do that would be gratefully received. Sorry the FA website was down. We were hacked. Aylesbury – A Music Town. FD

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