Auntie talks Bowie

After a tumultuous year that began with the star’s death last January

Had he lived, David Bowie would have been 70 on January 8th.

In 1972 he declared himself gay in an interview, and four years later as bisexual, before walking it back in 1983 as “the biggest mistake I ever made” and suggesting it was all a record company image pushed on to him in his Ziggy Stardust era.

But in a world so much more isolating and hostile for bi and gay people, in those years he was an icon for queer people pushing accepted limits of gender and sexuality.  What matters, in a sense, was not what was ‘real’ but what that public image did for people: years later people in bi spaces over and over again cited him as the inspiration for feeling they could come out.

Bowie: The Last Five Years airs 7 January at 9pm on BBC2 – no doubt it’ll be on the iPlayer – and gives us this issue’s cover.

The programme promises unseen archive footage and early interviews which have never been released before. It’s surprising that a life so public still has unaired footage.