Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Letters: Bowie, in the corner of our eye for 40 years

These letters appear in the 13th January 2015 edition of The Independent

Tuesday 12 January 2016 18:58 GMT
The cover of David Bowie's Aladdin Sane album has become one of the most enduring images of the late artist
The cover of David Bowie's Aladdin Sane album has become one of the most enduring images of the late artist (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ve never owned a Bowie single or LP. Yet for all of nearly four decades he has been there, that figure you see in the corner of your eye every day, making up part of my unaware life, like water or electricity or oxygen – things you notice only when they suddenly go.

For me Bowie wasn’t just a source of music – he was part of my background for 40 years, always exciting, always rejecting the past, always changing, always something new, beautiful to look at, writing tunes that the entire world loved.

I shall miss him. More than I could have imagined.

Allan Friswell

Cowling, North Yorkshire

Thank you, Independent, for your excellent testimonial to the highly intelligent and innovative David Bowie. I was lucky enough to see him in concert in 1973, in his Ziggy Stardust phase, and I have never forgotten his performance.

Susan Rowberry

Saxmundham, Suffolk

In terms of his contribution to what has made this country great David Bowie outstrips many of those who have merited a state funeral, and interment in Westminster Abbey.

He truly deserves such posthumous honours; the state would be remiss not to confer them, and any cost would be offset by the massive influx of mourners from overseas who would travel to London for the event.

Paul Dunwell


There are many reasons for admiring David Bowie, but I can’t help but admire him for turning down both a knighthood and a CBE. He would have been much diminished by accepting an award from our tainted honours system.

Dr Peter WH Smith


Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday broke the news of David Bowie’s death and throughout the programme followed it up at length with numerous eulogies. Weighty political interviews and reporting from the front lines were squeezed between the various accolades of how great an artist David Bowie was.

It culminated in Nick Robinson cutting Vickie Hawkins of Médecins Sans Frontières short, when she explained about the conditions faced by 4000 migrants in the “jungle” camp in Calais: “’ll understand, with this extraordinary news about David Bowie this morning there is lots else to talk about.”

Is this symptomatic of our times? A pop artist’s death trumps the human suffering of thousands and how to deal with it.

Christine Fuchs

Chigwell, Essex

I’m obviously missing out on an event of international importance. I’d heard of Major Tom but thought that he was Sergeant Pepper’s brother-in-law.

Full front page picture, first leader, two pages, three page obituary, substantial pull-out supplement. Will you rise as highly to the occasion when Placido Domingo dies?

Peter Forster

London N4

Hunt’s hidden agenda: privatising the NHS

Steve Richards continues the myth that the junior doctors’ dispute is primarily about seven-day working (“It’s the miners’ strike all over again. With all the same mistakes”, 12 January). It is not: rather, it is a devious move to make the job so unpleasant that no one wishes to do it any more on the Government’s terms.

Once this is achieved, the Government will then have every excuse to invite its private medical cronies in to rape what remains of the NHS and reduce it to the American model. If you want to know more details, ask any dentist of a certain age practising in England.

Prepare for private medicine, including GP services – believe me, it’s coming.

Roger King

St Ives, Cambridgeshire

Steve Richards argues correctly that seven-day working is now the norm. However the issue for junior doctors is not working seven days, which they already do, but rather the cover available and the payment structure for the work.

This clearly applies to others. For example Sir Philip Dilley, Chair of the Environment Agency, has resigned as he is “unable to deliver” a requirement to be “available at short notice throughout the year”.

He was on a salary of £100,000 for three days a week; junior doctors, working full-time, start at £23,000. Perhaps it is time for a review of all salaries and working arrangements, at the top as well as at the bottom, of public services?

Peter Marsh

Emeritus Professor of Child and Family Welfare

University of Sheffield

I don’t buy the story that junior doctors will be better off, with fewer hours and more money. The truth is that we are struggling to provide sufficient doctor cover now.

What this government is proposing is to remove an overtime payment for weekend working, knowing full well that doctors will continue to deliver weekend cover but for less money.

This Government is trying to do it on the cheap. The end result: doctors will become demoralised, make mistakes through being overworked and will leave the health service. Privatisation via the back door. Stop this madness now.

Richard Weston

Netheravon, Wiltshire

On 26 December I was admitted to Barnet Hospital with acute pancreatitis. The doctor ordered an endoscopy. But it was the weekend so there were no “technicians” available for giving me treatment. “All gone home.”

Then it was New Year’s Eve and New Year, so again, nobody.

It was only on the Monday that I had the endoscopy, where they found a gallstone as well as pancreatitis. This was dissolved and I could go home on Tuesday supplied with painkillers.

If the technicians had been required to work on those days, I could have gone home on Friday. I was costing NHS for those extra unnecessary days and needlessly taking up a hospital bed.

Lorna Roberts

London N2

Hamas, not just an ideology

The Independent’s editorial (11 January) claims Israel is “using Hamas’ anti-Israeli ideology as an excuse to keep Gaza as an open-air prison”.

First, it should be clarified that Hamas – proscribed as a terror group in the United States, the European Union and the UK – does not merely have an anti-Israel “ideology”, but more importantly, a vast military infrastructure, which it uses to indiscriminately attack Israeli towns and cities.

Second, attempting to link the persecution of Christians across the Middle East to the situation in Gaza misses a vital point: while the Christian population across the region is being decimated at the hands of Islamist extremists, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are thriving.

Yiftah Curiel

Spokesperson, Embassy of Israel

London W8

The logic behind top salaries

It simply does not make sense to compare the rate of growth in CEO pay and firm value, as Ben Chu does (“Think the market is always right when it comes to top pay? Think again”, 11 January).

A CEO on an annual salary of £1m could be given an extra £1m pay rise after raising her firm’s value by £1bn, from £100bn to £101bn. Comparing the 100 per cent growth rate in her salary with the 1 per cent growth rate in the firm’s value will not tell us anything useful about whether she is being paid fairly.

Sam Bowman

Executive Director

Adam Smith Institute

London SW1

Rochdale deserves better MPs

I fully concur with Brandon Ashworth’s view (letter, 8 January) on the subject of what Rochdale and its people have done to deserve Simon Danczuk, namely that many of the people have left the town. I can testify that it did not stop in the 1970s but carried on to the noughties.

I would however add that Rochdale and its people have been poorly served by all its MPs for more than 40 years. I wish Rochdale all the best, but it needs a leader who cares for the best of the town, its wonderful people, and not his/her own interests.

Nicolas Andrews-Gauvain

Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

Religious holidays for all, please

Fantastic idea to organise school examinations around religious holidays. I’m assuming as well as Ramadan this will include the holidays of Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Taoists, Jainists, Zen Buddhists, devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and atheists?

Mark Piggott

London N19

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

How did they make an “11th-hour deal” with just “30 hours to go” (“Catalonian parties agree on regional president”, 11 January)? Did the two parties work in different time zones? Or did the reporter mean just 30 hours to go to the next cliché?

Fabian Acker

London SE22

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in