English heritage have erected a blue plaque paying homage to David Bowie on the London street where he posed for the album cover of his seminal 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The blue plaque scheme was first instigated in the 1860s to commemorate a link between locations and a famous person or event, with most of the 850 odd London plaques marking residences where iconic characters (such as Karx Marx and George Orwell) lived.
Guardian writer Dorian Lynskey hailed Bowie’s new plaque as ‘a reminder of how powerful an electric current pop could generate in less enlightened times’ and paid tribute to his incredibly bold androgynous invention.
“To gay fans Bowie's early 70s identity was a lifeline, while to those who didn't identify as such it was a demonstration that sexuality isn't a simple binary but a sliding scale,” said Lynskey, “Pop music was the perfect forum in which to explore and debate it.” http://bit.ly/HeRMrz
Bowie’s importance in reducing homophobia was previously recognized by the Sunday Times who hailed him as ‘a sexual trailblazer his importance can’t be exaggerated’.
“A good five years before the New Romantics, Bowie had spear-headed a fresh approach to the male psyche, “ the Times pointed out on 2005.
“After Ziggy (Stardust), young men, mainly teenagers- realised that a flamboyant appearance didn’t necessarily mean effeminacy. Perhaps more significantly, their girlfriends didn’t either,” the paper said.
More recently the Daily Mail speculated that his massive popularity over four decades was driven by him ‘inventing provocative sexual ambiguity long before the rest of the world caught up’ and noted that Bowie practiced what he preached with enthusiastic indiscretion.
“Friends from the rock star’s youth tell a disturbing story of how he pulled his van over one night to pick up an unwashed female vagrant from the roadside,” the Mail recalled, “And would gladly have had his way with her if the other members of his first band, the Mannish Boys, had not made her get out.” (Daily Mail: http://bit.ly/hGCvOW )
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