David Bowie death dominates newspaper headlines

The face of David Bowie - in numerous guises - stares out from the front page of every national newspaper, as they mark his death at the age of 69.

Many use the singer's lyrics to accompany poster front pages, while tributes appear in news pages, editorials and several special pull-out editions. Many focus not just on his music but his influence on society. As the star's biographer Dylan Jones puts it in the Sun: "He didn't just create a huge body of music, didn't just release a bunch of singles and albums which influenced people at formative stages of their lives. He also influenced how they looked, what they read and how they lived their lives."

In the Daily Mirror, Stuart Maconie recalls the moment Bowie catapulted himself into the nation's consciousness by performing Starman with the Spiders From Mars on Top of the Pops. "Something changed forever... the moment he draped a limp, louche arm around Mick Ronson's shoulders, pulling him into a near kiss on the harmonies - causing uproar among mums and dads all over Britain. Remember, this was a country where a decade earlier National Service was obligatory, and where homosexuality had been legalised just five years before."

As Alexis Petridis puts it in the Guardian: "Infatuated with the Velvet Underground's world of drag queens and sneering put-downs, Bowie seemed to realise that, for all the generation gap-rendering shocks that British rock music had delivered over the preceding decade, it had never really dared touch on the subject of homosexuality."

Some, like former Arena editor Kathryn Flett, write from a fan's perspective. In the Daily Telegraph, she says: "If you weren't a British suburban teenager in the 70s then perhaps Bowie's death hasn't left you with quite the same sense of aching loss... Trapped as we were in unglamorous Metroland homes, he illuminated our world and allowed us a glimpse of a life beyond."

Alexander Fury writes in the Independent about the enduring importance to the fashion industry of a man who "changed identity as easily as he changed clothes". Bowie's personas - Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke - have all had fashion collections devoted to them, the writer says, adding: "Bowie may be gone, but his ghost has already walked a dozen fashion weeks. It will doubtless walk dozens more I've yet to encounter."


Those who knew Bowie offer a personal glimpse of a man who rarely appeared in public. As Mick Brown puts it in the Telegraph: "The paradox of Bowie was that for all the air of other-worldliness he created around himself, in person he was the most affable, charming - and down-to-earth - man. The south London mateyness, the air of breezy candour, conspired to effect that great social trick of leading you to believe after five minutes' acquaintanceship that you'd known him all your life."

Former PM Tony Blair writes in the Times about being "starstruck" when Bowie dined at Chequers. "He was unfailingly polite and appeared very modest, rather cautious about praise and embarrassed by adulation."

Tour photographer Dave Hogan writes in the Daily Mirror: "You could go into a room and know you were in the presence of greatness. He was this guy with incredible talent who didn't flaunt it. There are many stars today who could learn a lot from his grace."

"Unrecognisable in flat cap, jeans, scruffy hoody and wraparound sunglasses as he carried his lunch - a beef sandwich and salad - in a paper bag, David Bowie wouldn't attract a second glance on his rare forays on to the streets of Manhattan," writes Tom Leonard in the Daily Mail. "He had a rule, said friends, not to stand on a street corner for any length of time in case he was recognised. The star who had spent most of his career doing his utmost to get noticed spent his last years trying to do the opposite as he fiercely guarded a privacy he had never enjoyed before."

'Packed with symbolism'

Many papers pick up on the comment from Bowie's producer, Tony Visconti, that his final album - Blackstar, released on Friday - was "a parting gift" and that the star's death was "no different from his life... a work of art". Mark Reynolds writes in the Daily Express that Bowie's final album was "packed with symbolism and lyrics suggesting he knew it was time to say goodbye".

The Sun reads new significance into the lyrics on that final album, such as: "Something happened on the day he died, Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside." It reproduces still images from the videos accompanying songs on Blackstar, such as one showing a skeleton in a space suit.

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Media captionWas Lazarus David Bowie singing his own epitaph?

A scene from the video to Lazarus shows "a frail-looking Bowie... in an iron, white-painted hospital bed, his head bandaged with black buttons placed over his eye-sockets", the Sun says. "As the song draws to a close, he steps into a huge coffin-like wardrobe, shutting the door behind him, clearly his visual representation of departing this earth."

Wired magazine editor James Cabooter writes in the Daily Star that Bowie rarely wrote autobiographical material, preferring fictional narratives. But he says Blackstar's final two songs feature "some of the most emotional music in his entire career". He adds: "Even the album title appears to be a clue that Bowie was not long for this world. A black star is considered something that has huge presence and mass, but isn't actually there."

Noting the lyrics "I've got drama can't be stolen/ Everybody knows me now," the Financial Times reckons: "Even dying, he was one step ahead."

What the commentators say

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Media captionTimes columnist Tim Montgomerie joins Dan Bilefsky, from the New York Times, to review the papers for the BBC News Channel.

Eye-catching headlines

  • "Creme Egg catastrophe" - the Daily Mail attributes a £10m loss in sales of the Cadbury's seasonal treats to an "unpopular new recipe"
  • "Coulthard spurns Top Gear and races off to C4" - former racing driver David Coulthard is to join Channel 4's team covering Formula 1 from next year, not the BBC's revamped motoring show, says the Times
  • "Patagonia revives Welsh language" - in the part of Argentina settled by Welsh folk in 1865, the number of people taking courses in their ancestors' tongue increased 21.8% to 1,200 over two years thanks to British Council and Welsh government support, reports the Independent
  • "Light at the end of the tunnel for traditional bulbs" - US scientists believe new energy-efficient filament housings could revive incandescent lighting, says the Telegraph

Right to strike?

The debate over the rights and wrongs of today's strike by junior doctors who object to changes to their pay and shift patterns rumbles on. Several medical professionals are given space to advance their arguments.

London-based intensive care registrar Dagan Lonsdale writes in the Guardian that he will spend the day campaigning outside his local Tube station, instead of working. "I will explain how the removal of safeguards on doctors' working hours will put patients at risk, how we already have a seven-day NHS, how I already work weekends and nights, and that the new contract will not change this."

Image copyright PA

Dr Tom Riddington, of Dorset, writes in the Mirror that the health secretary wants an arrangement that "grinds junior doctors into the dirt". He says: "It increases our hours, cuts our pay and removes safeguards that stop patients being treated by overworked sleep deprived doctors... No doctor wants to strike. We want to resolves this, to move on."

In the Telegraph, Alexander Suebsaeng agrees that junior doctors are "overworked... slightly underpaid... [and] very stressed by a system that always feels dangerously overstretched" and says he opposes the government's aims to extend services at weekends".

However, he writes that he did not vote for strike action because of "what it could mean for patients". Of the disagreement over safeguarding measures to ensure adherence to the new hours policy, he adds: "Is this... really irresolvable? Or is it just there to anticipate the charge that this is all about the money?"

And Dr Jonathan Stanley, who works with centre-right think tank the Bow Group, complains in the Sun that the conditions currently proposed are very different from those on offer when the ballot was called. However, he says: "There are elements of [doctors' union] the BMA that wanted a strike from the moment they got their ballot and have no intention of returning to talks."

Making people click

Mail: Shock and mourning at death of David Bowie turns to partying into the night: Fans celebrating life of their music idol turn out in their hundreds at his hometown - and even the statues wore the 'Aladdin Sane' logo

Times: Vigilantes vow to clean German streets of migrants

Mirror: Teen girl uses 'superhuman strength' to lift burning truck off dad and save family

Guardian: Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall announce engagement - in classifieds

Telegraph: Who was Charles Perrault? Why the fairy tales you know may not be as they seem

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