Saturday, 13 December 2014

March (2) and April Memoriams

14th March 2014 – Manuel Torres, 83

Monday, 1 December 2014

January 2014 Memoriams

Where did the year go to? A blur of nappies, for me, no doubt, but sitting down to be reflective, as one does, you realise what a contemptible bastard the Reaper was this year too. 

Here then are a few thoughts and tributes to the great, good and the memorable who left in January this year.*

*And a few who went before, but were announced after the bells.

To repeat the drill, for those new to this:

This stemmed from a conversation with Toby Hadoke in May 2011, over BAFTA/Oscar tributes and their ability to omit people. And then from many, many conversations with poor old Jon Arnold following.

Arnold's belief, and one I share, is that if someone makes a mark on your life, however oblique, it is right to tip a hat of respect towards them at their death. They could have written a book you love, or been a hero of your childhood (or adulthood), or even had a passing role in an episode of a TV show you liked. Whatever they did, it is right to acknowledge their role in an aspect of your life, much as we hope others will do for us in the future when we are gone.

He made one small ruling though: "it can't be a meaningless list of names, it has to express why these people meant something." For some people, that is fairly obvious. Phil Everly's legacy, for example, is fairly easily defined and adored. The bigger challenge was in expressing the adoration felt for so many unsung heroes, too many of whom we lost this year. Folk who might not get a moment in a Year End Memoriam on TV, but who deserve a moment of respect none the less. In fact, researching the finer details of folk I had as fuzzy memories led me to appreciate them all the more again.

I guess as you get older, your spheres of knowledge widen, and so by degrees do the vast number of people involved. Take Doctor Who for example. The average fan has an interest in a show going back fifty years, and knows of many of the main stars, production teams, assistants, writers, associates and guest casts of the show. Thats a list of over two thousand names from the off, and I've never met anybody whose sole interest in life is merely one TV show.

So on top of all our the personal tragedies, here is a small (small not being the operative word here) tribute to lives that moved: writers, musicians, politicians, historical figures, war heroes, actors, geniuses, activists, footballers. Some may be acknowledged for their place in history, others for their effect on me. All people made equal by that final exit.

It isn't a complete list. You wont find the Deaths of Everyone in 2014 here - go to Wikipedia for that. I can't pretend to know everything: indeed, I notice many an American football obit, but being blind to the sport, I would have no knowledge of their existence within the sport. Conversely, due to my political history and cult TV geekdoms, folk of those aspects may well show up more than normal.

There was also some judicious editing. My interest has always been primarily in brilliant people, or, at the very least, people I can understand the motivations of. Folk involved in being genuinely evil, I find little brilliance in. Hence previous year snubs of Erich Priebke, and intended future snub of Peter Tobin, for two examples.

For Death is merely a point. All of the people, in their own way, were awe inspiring. So enough of me. Lets pay tribute to the first of these sadly departed.


The Monster Demon's Final Trick



A number of years ago now when I wrote the Depression blogs I was asked to write a third part in the series. As it was on a rather heavier subject, I did the adult thing and hid away from it! But one can’t run away from things forever, and if it can help even just one person, then I guess it is worth it. So here is the warning that the following contains talk of that most hideous side effect of clinical depression – suicide.

 Mentioned up front.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Mr Hoolihan Regrets

A free ghost story for Hallowe'en then.

Mr Hoolihan Regrets
Michael S. Collins


“Will the witness stand and confess his truth to God?”


“That’s unfair, yer honour. Prejudiced I might say.”


“The witness must explain himself.”


“Well for one thing, I can’t stand, as I don’t have any legs. I can only hover like this. Second, I’ve been dead for nigh on a hundred years, and I’ve never met God yet. It sort of puts a damper on the whole belief bit, when you know he’s hiding from you.”


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

RIP Matthew Collins (1964-2013)

Matthew dead?

My uncle?

Well, that's not really the nicest April Fools in the world, I expected better from you all... Yet here we are on April 2nd, and the news hasn't been wiped away like all those daft pranks.

When Dad said the police had tried to phone him on Sunday night, we were joking about which of us was in trouble with the law. "If you find out we're suspected in anything, let us know" I joked. It seems like such a pleasant alternative now.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Chavez

So, Hugo Chavez is dead.

And the flood gates have opened on social media. Either a saint or a devil, depending on which tweet I was reading at that moment. I feel the need to tread carefully, as I have friends who believe he was either.


Aha, say folk with long memories, didn't you write some Chavez apologism back in 2006. And 2007. And 2008. etc etc.

Aha, say folk with longer memories, you also said what a lovely chap that Castro was. I disagree. What I said was that he preferable to Batista whom he succeeded.  On a similar note, I find leprosy preferable to bubonic plague, ESA preferable to being homeless and Alex Ferguson preferable to Jose Mourinho.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

Perfect Strangers



So last time we were talking about rock music, only we got a little distracted by the sensational Alex Harvey and had to leave early.




Enough of the preamble in that case. On with the show.