Building on the legacy of David Bowie’s strong connection with Aylesbury, Friars Aylesbury is launching a petition to change the name of Aylesbury to Aylesbowie.
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 history he had with music club Friars Aylesbury. He 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 in 1971/72. He formed the Spiders from Mars in the tiny Friars dressing room and referenced Aylesbury Market Square in the first line of ‘Five Years’. “Pushing through the Market Square so many mothers sighing”
Following a Kickstarter campaign, Aylesbury Market Square will become home to the world’s first sculpture of Bowie which will be unveiled at 2.00pm on Sunday 25 March. When the Kickstarter campaign finished in December 2016, one of the backers Alex Laurent, suggested changing the name of Aylesbury to Aylesbowie. David Stopps of Friars Aylesbury, the brains behind the campaign, thought this was a brilliant idea, and looked into the history and origins of the town’s name.
It turns out that the town name is of Old English origin. Its first recorded name Æglesburgh is thought to mean "Fort of Ægel", presumably relating to the Iron Age hill fort that was discovered in the town centre, though who Ægel was is not recorded. Since earliest records there have been 57 variations of the town’s name, so changing the name to Aylesbowie would simply be the 58th. David Bowie obviously has a much more credible claim to the name of the town than some long forgotten and unknown Anglo-Saxon. Naming the town after him, along with the Earthly Messenger sculpture, will be a permanent celebration and commemoration of his life and work.
The Friars Aylesbury team have started a petition to change the name at change.org (which can be viewed here). After the Earthly Messenger unveiling on March 25th at 2.00pm there will be a statue fundraiser concert at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, with Marillion, Howard Jones and John Otway who all hale from the Aylesbury area. Tickets are available here or from Ticketmaster.
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