Bowies Eyes

One of the most famous aspects of one of the world’s most famous men, was that David Bowie had different coloured eyes, a peculiarity that set well with his unique life, that marked him physically different to the rest of us mere mortals.

This week, a koala with different coloured eyes, caused by a rare genetic condition was named Bowie. It has heterochromia, with a bright blue right eye with a brown left one.

But Bowie didn’t have this condition, as Paul Morley writes in Friday’s i paper of an incident at school:

“David Jones (as Bowie was then) … got into a fight with the usually mild mannered George Underwood over a girl Carol Goldsmith…. Aggrieved that he might lose Carol to George, Davie sabotaged their first date, and smugly, possibly wrongly, announced that Carol preferred him to George. George lashed out and caught Davie in the left eye with his knuckle, damaging the iris’s sphincter muscles.

The injured eye was saved after a series of operations, buyt the trauma led to anisocoria, a relatively common condition that causes the pupils in each eye to be different sizes. Generally the size difference is barely noticeable, but with Davie it was pronounced, the iris i the left eye almost obliterated by a paralysed pupil, creating the disconcerting illusion that his eyes are different colours.

Morely goes on to suggest this damage to his eye

“suggested he was  seeing things others couldn’t see, and could even see into the future. “

No. It means that his damaged eye allowed extra light in, so probably making him avoid strong light, wear dark glasses for protection. The fight probably took him down a peg or two, or made him realise he had to do something different to attract the girls as he was not much of a fighter.

I am also intrigued by the amount of time he must have spent n hospital, away from his friends, which draws parallels with another iconic British male – John Lydon/Johnny Rotten who suffered meningitis as a child so also spent time away from his peers.

Most people only saw Bowie at a distance, so the oddity in his eyes did not have such a huge impact. I’ve seen loads of pics of him over the years and never noticed it.

What intrigues me more is that the myth of his eye colours has become so widespread. Did nobody really look at him? Or did so many people live the myth of him being physically different to the rest of us? Touched by the hand of God, a stigmata, whatever.

6 thoughts on “Bowies Eyes

  1. I’ve never bothered to look at Bowie’s eyes – my sister’s ex boyfriend however has a dog with one normal eye and one with a shrunken eyeball, which looks very peculiar indeed – but he’s a gorgeous dog!


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