Thursday, 10 December 2015

In Memoriam: March 2015

1st March 2015 – Daniel von Bargen, 64

Troubled actor known for his roles as Commandant Spangler in Malcolm in the Middle and Kurger on Seinfeld.

1st March 2015 – Stuart McGrady, 29

Scottish footballer who played for Queens Park and Ayr United.

2nd March 2015 – Dave Mackay, 80

Scottish international footballer who played for Hearts, Tottenham and Derby, and won the league title with the first two. He would later win the league title as manager with Derby.

“In the 1960-61 season, he was a major figure in Tottenham’s historic achievement in taking both the League and the FA Cup, the first club to win the double in the 20th century; Mackay made 37 out of the 42 League appearances, and figured prominently in the Cup final at Wembley, won against a Leicester City side largely reduced to 10 men. The following season Mackay added another Cup winners’ medal when Spurs defeated Burnley in the final. He should also have participated in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Rotterdam in May 1963, but an injury to his stomach muscles kept him out of the game, which Spurs won in a five-goal canter against Atlético Madrid. There was more bad luck later that year for Mackay, when in a Cup Winners’ match at Old Trafford against Manchester United he broke his leg. With great determination, he found his way back, only to break the leg a second time; and return courageously, once more. There was one more successful Cup final to come with Spurs, in May 1967, when he captained the team that beat Chelsea at Wembley. A year later, the club allowed him to move on advantageous terms to Derby County, where his career continued to flourish. In these latter years, he had to temper his rumbustious style, becoming essentially a second, left-sided centre-back but where, in his own way, he was just as effective. Derby was in the Second Division when Mackay joined at the start of the 1968-69 season, but under his influence and tutelage, the club won the division by seven points and returned to the First Division. Mackay was named joint Footballer of the Year.”
Brian Glanville, Guardian obit

2nd March 2015 – Dennis Barker, 85

British journalist who wrote obituaries for The Guardian.

“By the standards of many who worked for the Guardian then, the way that he talked and the way that he dressed could make Dennis appear old school and formal, but his writing was quick, fluent and deft, with a special gift for a grabby opening sentence (the “intro” in newspaper terms), so that news desks could deploy him both on heavyweight stories and on subjects that called for the lightest of touches. In his first London years he reported on the Torrey Canyon oil slick disaster, Earl Attlee’s funeral, the aftermath of the Ronan Point tower block collapse, the arrival of Asians from Kenya at Gatwick (“frost, sun, fog and lamentations”), a torrid Birmingham byelection where the leader of the far right British Movement offered himself as a candidate – but also on trouble in Carnaby Street and the 21st anniversary of the radio series Mrs Dale’s Diary.  It was perhaps such pithy and flavoursome paragraphs that caught the eye of the BBC and found Dennis installed as one of the regular team in the early years of Robert Robinson’s Saturday evening series Stop the Week on Radio 4. He was also called in for offbeat contributions to the science programme New Worlds.”
David McKie, Guardian obit

Examples of his work are scattered throughout this year and previous years Memoriams.

 5th March 2015 – Jim McCann, 70

Irish guitarist who worked with The Dubliners from 1974 to 1979.

7th March 2015 – Sir Derek Day, 87

Played hockey for Britain in the 1952 Olympics, winning a bronze medal. Later became a UK Ambassador.

“In 1972 he was posted as a counsellor to Cyprus and was present when the Turks invaded the island two years later. The High Commission in Nicosia found itself on the dividing line between Greeks and Turks, and when Turkish forces entered the city Day was stuck in his office for three days, unable to make the 100-yard journey home. But he recalled the conflict as strangely “civilised”. Services such as street lights and telephones continued to work. On one occasion he had phoned his opposite number in the Turkish Embassy after the Turks had bombed a prison about 300 yards from his office, asking him if he could persuade Turkish forces not to bomb quite so close to the High Commission. “Well, I’ll do my best,” the man replied, “but it’s a bit difficult with these military.”   A less civilised atmosphere prevailed in Addis Ababa, where Day was posted as ambassador in 1975, a year after the revolution which had deposed Emperor Haile Selassie and about a month after Selassie’s death. The new Soviet-backed Derg junta was not interested in talking to British diplomats and the security situation meant that it was often dangerous to venture outside the embassy compound. In his first year 13 British subjects were kidnapped by various rebel groups, so Day spent a lot of time negotiating with their captors; all were eventually released unharmed.”
Telegraph obit

7th March 2015 – Gregorio Bundio, 86

Argentine Football manager who took El Salvador to the 1970 World Cup.

9th March 2015 – James Molyneaux, 94

Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1979 to 1995.

“Although he was a leader of the Orange Order and associated organisations for almost half a century, he was never known as a bigot or as aggressive in his Protestantism. But he was utterly unyielding in his politics, as immovable as he was courteous. He ascended slowly but inexorably in the Ulster Unionist hierarchy, becoming leader in 1979 after his predecessor Harry West had been humiliated in an election by Paisley. Molyneaux managed to staunch the flow of votes to Paisley while increasing the sense of party unity.It was an open secret that he was an integrationist rather than a devolutionist, meaning that he preferred Northern Ireland to be ruled directly from Westminster rather than through a subordinate assembly in Belfast. But his party contained a strong devolutionist wing, which Molyneaux dealt with through obfuscation rather than confrontation. He seemed to set out to baffle Unionist audiences, his biographer Ann Purdy admitting: "The portrayal is always of someone who speaks in gobbledegook." He formed a close alliance with Enoch Powell, who as a Unionist MP was another convinced integrationist. One-time Northern Ireland Secretary Jim Prior wrote in his memoirs: "At Westminster he was Enoch's puppet, and it made him a less pleasant man than his nature would normally have dictated." Molyneaux's reaction to the efforts of Prior and others to talk him into devolution was one of polite but firm immobility. "He remains inert," a British official complained after yet another futile round of talks.”
David McKittrick, Independent obit

10th March 2015 – Stuart Wagstaff, 90

Australian actor who appeared in A Night to Remember and was a regular panellist on the Australian version of Blankety Blank.

“After 90 years playing for them, there was no way Stuart Wagstaff was going to miss out on having the last laugh.In a posthumous email to his nearest and dearest the former navy man and entertainer - who so elegantly combined a debonair persona of gentleman with vaudeville ham - informed attendees of his memorial service on Tuesday: "Just to let you know that I have 'shuffled off this mortal coil' and I'd like to thank everyone who has shared with me all the ups and downs of these fascinating 90 years."There won't be a funeral as I have donated my tired old body to the anatomy department of the University of Sydney. (Hey! I finally got to Uni!!). Thanks and farewell."
Andrew Hornery, Sydney Morning Herald

“During his career he was kept busy with TV appearances all over the country, including being a regular panellist on Channel 9’s Celebrity Squares. He is perhaps best remembered for his time as a permanent panellist on Blankety Blanks alongside famed comedian Graham Kennedy. His first love was always the theatre. In 1981 Wagstaff toured as The Narrator in the highly successful Rocky Horror Show starring Daniel Abineri and repeated that with a second tour a few years later where he formed a close bond with Russell Crowe.”
Stuart McLean, Daily Telegraph (Australia)

 12th March 2015 – Sir Jerry Wiggin, 78

Conservative MP for Weston-super-Mare from 1969 to 1997.

“In 1987 Wiggin became chairman of the Commons select committee on agriculture, where, in 1989, he briefly came to public notice when he compelled Edwina Currie (the junior health minister who had resigned after causing an outcry with claims that most egg production in Britain was infected with salmonella) to come and explain herself, saying that egg consumers had been “bemused, confused and frightened by her remarks”.  Christened “Junket Jerry” by Private Eye because of his alleged fondness for foreign trips (he was, among other things, an office holder of the British-Chinese parliamentary group, the British-Swedish parliamentary group, the British-Turkish parliamentary group and the British-Paraguayan parliamentary group), in 1995 Wiggin was on a fact-finding tour of South Africa when The Guardian and a Channel 4 Dispatches programme claimed that he had used the name of a fellow Tory MP, without his knowledge, to table amendments to legislation in which he had a personal financial interest.  The report alleged that Wiggin had used the name of the former athlete-turned-MP Sebastian Coe, a member of the standing committee considering the Gas Bill, to table an amendment to exempt holiday parks from the possibly costly provision of gas supplies to mobile homes. This would have benefited the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, a lobby group for caravan site owners of which Wiggin was a paid consultant. Had he tabled the amendment in his own name, he would have had to declare a personal interest , making it less likely that the amendment would be carried.”
Telegraph obit

13th March 2015 – Daevid Allen, 77

Australian musician who founded the bands Soft Machine and Gong.

“After forming Soft Machine in 1966, the band recorded one single — "Love Makes Sweet Music" backed by "Feelin' Reelin' Squeelin'" — before embarking on a much-hyped tour of Europe, including a string of breakout appearances in Paris. However, upon returning to the U.K., the Australian Allen was denied entry back into the country due to visa problems, forcing the guitarist's departure from the outfit he founded. In 1968, without Allen, Soft Machine would hit the road as the Jimi Hendrix Experience's opening act. Having relocated to Paris, Allen formed the progressive rock band Gong in 1967 alongside singer Gilli Smyth. The group released their first album Magick Brother in 1970. Three years later, Gong recorded their most famous work, the three-LP mythology-building Radio Gnome trilogy, comprising the albums Flying Teapot, Angel's Egg and 1974's You. The following year, Allen would leave Gong and become a solo artist, releasing a string of albums throughout the Seventies and Eighties.”
Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone obit

15th March 2015 – Mike Porcaro, 59

Bass guitarist for Toto, who died after a long battle with ALS.

16th March 2015 – Andy Fraser, 62

Bass guitarist for Free, who wrote the song All Right Now.

“Their 1970 song All Right Now, which Fraser co-wrote with Free singer Paul Rodgers, topped charts in more than 20 countries and was given a music-industry award for a million plays on radio in 1989. “That song is a blessing and a curse,” observed Fraser in 2013. “But it opened lots of doors. It still earns a fortune now. Forty years later, people still want me to play All Right Now at gigs.” With its nimble-fingered, chordal bass solo, All Right Now became Fraser’s most famous composition and brought him admiration from a generation of electric bass players. It also led to remarkable commercial success for Free, whose profile peaked in 1970 when they were flown by helicopter to perform in front of half a million people at the Isle of Wight festival.”
Joel McIver, Guardian obit

17th March 2015 – Shaw Taylor, 90

True crime TV presenter who was the star of Police 5 (the precursor to the modern day Crimewatch programmes), telling viewers to “keep them peeled”.

“It never stops and it never gets boring. It's always a nice reminder of the warm and friendly relationship I had with viewers. I don't feel as though I've been away. I originally declined the offer, believing that retired TV presenters should remain in the shadows.[Police 5] started as a six-week filler, but it struck a chord with viewers."
Shaw Taylor, Whats on TV 20 February 2014 (on Police 5’s comeback)

19th March 2015 – Joy Tamblin, 89

WW2 Bletchley Park worker, who later joined the Womens RAF.

20th March 2015 – Gregory Walcott, 87

Actor who was the lead in Plan 9 from Outer Space.  He latr appeared in the The Eiger Sanction, and Ed Wood.

“When Mr. Walcott, a tall, ruggedly handsome Southerner, was offered the key role of a pilot in “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” the idiosyncratic director Edward D. Wood Jr.’s low-budget 1959 oddity about aliens who bring the dead back to life, he had already been in the hit Henry Fonda Navy comedy “Mister Roberts” (1955) and other movies. He said in a 1998 interview that the “Plan 9” script “made no sense” but that he took the job because one of the producers was a friend of his.“I thought maybe my name could give the show some credibility,” he said. The film seemed destined to be no more than a footnote in Mr. Walcott’s busy career. He was a regular on the 1961-62 police series “87th Precinct” and had guest roles on “Bonanza,” “Maverick” and virtually every other TV western. He acted alongside Mr. Eastwood on “Rawhide” and in “The Eiger Sanction” (1975), “Every Which Way but Loose” (1978) and other movies. Often cast as an authority figure, he played lawmen in Steven Spielberg’s “The Sugarland Express” (1974) and Martin Ritt’s “Norma Rae” (1979). But “Plan 9 From Outer Space” slowly developed a following for its cheap effects, its stilted dialogue and a ragtag cast that included the one-name TV personalities Vampira and Criswell as well as Bela Lugosi, in footage shot shortly before his death in 1956. To Mr. Walcott’s embarrassment, “Plan 9” became a staple at bad-film festivals and the movie with which he was most often associated.”
Peter Keepnews, NY Times obit

20th March 2015 – Walter Grauman, 93

Director of 633 Squadron, who also directed, for TV, the pilots of The Fugitive and The Streets of San Francisco.  He had over 300 TV episodes, and one off dramas to his name.

“In addition to these films, Grauman directed the 1964 WWII film “633 Squadron,” starring Cliff Robertson.  George Lucas has said that he patterned the “trench run” sequence that results in the destruction of the Death Star in “Star Wars: Episode IV” on a scene in “633 Squadron.Grauman helmed 53 episodes of Angela Lansbury’s “Murder, She Wrote” and 49 episodes of Buddy Ebsen detective series “Barnaby Jones.” But his career also encompassed directing episodes of series ranging from “Peter Gunn,” “Perry Mason,” “The Untouchables,” “The Fugitive” and “The Twilight Zone” through “The Streets of San Francisco” and “Trapper John, M.D.”
Carmel Dagan, Variety obit

21st March 2015 – Perro Aguayo Jr, 35

Well regarded Mexican wrestler who died in a tragic ring accident.

“Life goes so fast. I can’t believe some of us pack our bags and don’t make it home.”
TJ Perkins

“A wrestler and promotor, El Hijo was the son of lucha libre legend Perro Aguayo. Beginning his career at just 15 years old, El Hijo teamed with his father and became a mainstay of the lucha libre scene and went on to form the Los Perros del Mal stable with La Familia, La Furia del Norte, Blue Demon Jr., Pierroth Jr. and his sons. The faction also invaded AAA in 2010 teaming with Konnan and his allies. That same year El Hijo had emergency surgery to remove a stomach tumor. With the entire lucha libre community in mourning, AAA issued a message of condolence: "The grief overwhelms our hearts. Rest in peace, El Hijo del Perro Aguayo."
John Powell, Slam Wrestling

21st March 2015 – Hans Erni, 106

Swiss artist.

“He was strongly influenced in his early days by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, but his abstract era ended with his first public success, a huge mural titled "Switzerland, Vacation Land of the People" commissioned for the 1939 national exhibition in Zurich.A 60-metre-long Erni mural was inaugurated at the entrance to the UN building in Geneva. Erni's communist sympathies occasionally got him into trouble, and he later said that for 20 years he was "boycotted, defamed, spied on, and banned from cultural life as a national traitor". Swiss bank notes he designed in the 1940s weren't printed because he was deemed a Marxist.  However, the crushing of Hungary's 1956 uprising against communist rule was an ideological turning point for him.  "Tanks destroyed my vision of life," he declared at the time.  Erni created more than 90 stamp designs for Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Nations.
Roisin O’Connor, Independent obit

 21st March 2015 – Sir Hal Miller, 86

Former Vice-chairman of the Conservative party, who was Conservative MP for Bromsgrove from 1974 to 1992.

“His loyalty to local industry did not aid his political fortunes: in 1981 he resigned as PPS to Francis Pym in protest at subsidies to British Steel that were damaging small steel companies in his area. He maintains it was his interest in seeing justice done to the executives of the local firm Walter Somers in the arms-to-Iraq affair that led him to challenge the Government over the issue in 1990. After Eton and Oxford, Sir Hal worked in the Colonial Service in Hong Kong until 1968. 'Going into politics', he told the Independent on Sunday last year, 'was my biggest mistake . . . I mistakenly assumed there would be a system for promotion based on merit and experience'. He erred, he said, in pursuing interests in Europe rather than making alliances in Confactions. Yet, despite the apparent bitterness, Sir Hal remains a party man. He is a team-player by nature: a part-time rugby referee, and legendary among contemporaries for his fearlessness in the organised Etonian riot known as the Wall Game.”
Alex Renton, “Party loyalist true to tradition”, Independent, 25 May 1993

22nd March 2015 – Derek Chinnery, 89

Controller of BBC Radio 1.

23rd March 2015 – Lee Kuan Yew, 91

Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990.

“Lee's thinking also had an international impact. His brand of capitalism -- which stresses the role of government rather than the free hand of the market -- has provided a blueprint for China's landmark economic reforms. But Lee was also a divisive figure, attracting criticism for stifling media freedom and for the harsh treatment of political opponents.”
Katie Hunt and Susannah Cullinane, CNN obit

23rd March 2015 – Roy Douglas, 107

British composer.

“The gifted and versatile musician worked with both William Walton and Ralph Vaughan Williams giving pleasure to a worldwide audience. He also worked as a pianist and organist in the London Symphony Orchestra for several years in 1933. Mr Douglas also took part in, and became the librarian for the last season of the Promenade Concerts at the Queens Hall in 1940, and the first season at the Royal Albert Hall in 1941. He spent much of his early career composing film scores. The last of these was orchestrating the theme music for David Lean’s Great Expectations, before he withdrew from the film industry in 1946. He composed music for 11 films, and a further 32 broadcast programmes. From 1944, Mr Douglas was the musical assistant and friend of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, until his death in 1958. He helped to prepare his work for performance and publication, including the last four symphonies by the composer and the opera Pilgrim’s Progress. For 30 years, between 1942 and 1972, Mr Douglas did similar work for Sir William Walton. He rehearsed Walton’s Violin Concerto with the soloist Henry Holst and the composer, as they prepared for the first performance.”
Jamie Wier, Kent News

23rd March 2015 – Gary Dahl, 78

Creator of the Pet Rock.

“The wonder of it was, for a few frenzied months in 1975, more than a million consumers did, becoming the proud if slightly abashed owners of Pet Rocks, the fad that Newsweek later called “one of the most ridiculously successful marketing schemes ever.” Gary Dahl, the man behind that scheme — described variously as a marketing genius and a genial mountebank — died on March 23 at 78. A down-at-the-heels advertising copywriter when he hit on the idea, he originally meant it as a joke. But the concept of a “pet” that required no actual work and no real commitment resonated with the self-indulgent ’70s, and before long a cultural phenomenon was born. A modern incarnation of “Stone Soup” as stirred by P. T. Barnum, Pet Rocks made Mr. Dahl a millionaire practically overnight. Though the fad ran its course long ago, the phrase “pet rock” endures in the American lexicon, denoting (depending on whether it is uttered with contempt or admiration) a useless entity or a meteoric success.”
Margalit Fox, NY Times obit

25th March 2015 – Ron Suart, 94

Football manager who was in charge of Blackpool and Chelsea.

“Tall and lithe, an astute reader of the game and an excellent timer of his vigorous tackles, he was the regular incumbent of the tangerine No 3 shirt in 1947-48, playing a prominent role in reaching the FA Cup final, only to miss the Wembley encounter with Manchester United through injury. He bounced back resiliently in the next season, only to be replaced subsequently by the emerging Tommy Garrett and, after 113 appearances, was sold to Blackburn Rovers of the Second Division for £12,000 in September 1949. After initially understudying Billy Holt in central defence, Suart switched successfully to right-back, helping to reach the last four of the FA Cup in 1952 (Blackburn lost to Newcastle United after a replay), tallying nearly 200 games for Rovers before becoming player-manager of non-League Wigan Athletic in 1955.”
Ivan Ponting, Independent obit

26th March 2015 – Tomas Transtromer, 83

Swedish poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2011.

The tools on the wall are in mourning.
He lies awake, hears the woolly flutter
of night moths, his moonlight comrades.
His strength ebbs out, he pushes in vain
against the iron-bound tomorrow.”
The Indoors is Endless, Tomas Transtromer

“When Barbara Epler received the news last week that Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer had won the Nobel Prize for literature, she had one reaction: “I said, ‘Call the printers!’” she recalled. Ms. Epler is the president of New Directions, publisher of Mr. Tranströmer’s The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, an anthology translated by the Scottish poet Robin Fulton. For New Directions, Mr. Tranströmer’s win was big news — by Friday its book was ranked #12 on Amazon, a rarity for the independent publisher, which is known for its commitment to publishing difficult poetry and literature in translation. “For a poetry book to be number 12 that just kills me,” said Ms. Epler, adding that while Mr. Tranströmer “sells perfectly well in our terms” the spike in sales last week was positively “stratospheric.” In response, New Directions quickly arranged to have an additional 1,500 copies of The Great Enigma printed for shipment by tomorrow, forcing its short run publisher to work through the Columbus Day holiday. Another 8,000 copies will follow in a few weeks.”
Emily Witt, Observer, 10 October 2011

“Commentary ranges from the delighted to the bemused to the angry, so let's start with Tranströmer himself. Largely unable to speak since a stroke in 1990, his wife Monica told the media that he was "surprised, very surprised" to win. "It happened very fast. We thought the winners would be told ahead of the announcement. I think Tomas was called four minutes before the announcement was made," she said. It means, she added, that "the speculation of previous years has ended" (the Swedish poet has long been a favourite to take the prize). "I must say I feel happiness, one has to feel happy about it," she said, while in a release issued by his Swedish publisher Bonnier, she added that they'll be celebrating by having "fish for dinner, but the rest is a surprise". The hurrah for Tranströmer crew is led by Paul Muldoon, writing in the New Yorker, that it is "truly heartwarming" to see him win, adding that "Sweden should be proud to honour a poet who has meant so much to the rest of us throughout the world and who confirms the notion held by many of us that poetry is no less politically charged when it examines the interior world of kettle-boiling and hearsay than when it more obviously takes on the exterior world of 'burning witches and heretics in the boiling squares,' as the great Derek Mahon once put it". Teju Cole, also writing on the New Yorker blog, calls Tranströmer one of his "ports of refuge" in a beautiful, affectionate hymn of praise to a poet who he reads "when I wish to come as close as possible to what cannot be said". I love the line he quotes from Tranströmer describing New York, as "a high place where with one glance you take in the houses where eight million human beings live".
Alison Flood, Guardian, 7 October 2011

Personally, I’m quite happy when these awards go to people I’d never previously heard of before. All helps in the sharing of new finds and information, after all.

“He wrote in exceptionally pure, cold Swedish without frills. His descriptions of nature were as sparse and alive as a Japanese painting. In fact, in later life, he attempted to write haiku in Swedish. Peter Englund, the secretary of the Swedish Academy, said: “One of the secrets of his success around the world is that he’s writing about everyday stuff. The economy of words that you can see in his poems is manifested in the economy of his output; you can get the core of his work in a pocket book of 220 pages. You can get through it in an evening.” Björn Wiman, writing in the Stockholm paper Dagens Nyheter, praised him for his capacity to transform the everyday into astonishment. “His poem C Major is almost unique in the history of literature, since it both describes and summons up pure delight.”
Andrew Brown, Guardian obit

26th March 2015 – John Renbourn, 70

Guitarist who worked with Bert Jansch and Pentagle.

“Renbourn was the catalyst who brought together his two performing partners – Jansch and McShee – plus the jazz musicians Terry Cox, a percussionist, and the upright bass player Danny Thompson to form Pentangle. After a residency at the Horseshoe pub in central London, which McShee later described as public rehearsals, they made their concert debut at the Royal Festival Hall in May 1967. Their performances brought together all their wide and varied influences – jazz, blues, traditional folk, original songs, medieval themes – in a fluid, improvisatory style. Often described misleadingly as a folk-rock band – Renbourn’s rhythmic accompaniment and Cox’s percussion matched the patterns of the songs without imposing a rock beat – Pentangle paved the way for further innovations in folk music. Their first album, The Pentangle (1968), was released to critical acclaim, and by 1969 they were touring the US, appearing at Carnegie Hall, the Newport folk festival and Fillmore West in San Francisco with the Grateful Dead, as well as the Isle of Wight festival in the UK. Their third album, Basket of Light (1969), took them into the charts when the opening track, Light Flight, was chosen as the theme tune for the television series Take Three Girls. During this time there was little space in the schedules for Renbourn’s solo concerts, although he recorded solo albums, The Lady and the Unicorn (1970), with an emphasis on medieval music, and Faro Annie (1971), which revisited his folk and blues repertoire. The relentless touring with Pentangle took its toll and they disbanded in early 1973.”
Derek Schofield, Guardian obit

“In Britain several musical crazes segued out of each other. There was a Dixieland Jazz craze in the late '40s and that brought on an interest in classic blues recordings. Big Bill Broonzy came and played and he directly influenced a number of home grown players. Muddy Waters who was mentored by Big Bill in Chicago followed him over and that led to electric bands forming. Skiffle had come out of the Dixieland movement and a lot of those players went on to try and play R'nB. I guess it all came together in the 60's although the roots go back at least to the 20's.”
John Renbourn, interviewed by Michael Limnios, March 2015

26th March 2015 – Ian Moir, 71

Scottish footballer who played for Manchester United, Blackpool and Wrexham.

28th March 2015 – Gene Saks, 93

Tony award winning director and actor who directed The Odd Couple.

28th March 2015 – Miroslav Ondricek, 80

Cinematographer who worked on If... and Amadeus.

“Ondříček and Forman’s fruitful collaboration began in 1963 with two amusing short films, one on a talent contest (Audition), and the other on a band competition (Why Do We Need All the Brass Bands?), which gave documentary material fictional form. Their first feature together, the sharply observed and satirically affectionate A Blonde in Love, aka The Loves of a Blonde (1965), gave fictional material documentary form. By using mostly non-actors, improvised dialogue, and by shooting in the streets, the film brought a new vitality into Czech cinema. Ondříček, a football fan, believed that filming a number of matches had honed his skills in working with non-actors who could not be expected to hit their marks for lighting. The Fireman’s Ball (1967), Ondříček’s first film in colour, brought Forman and Ondříček into disfavour with the authorities for its wicked sideswipes at petty bureaucracy, causing it to be banned. When the Russian invasion ended the Prague Spring, several film-makers left the country, Forman for the US and Ondříček for the UK, where he was invited by Lindsay Anderson to shoot a short, The White Bus (1967), and If... (1968).”
Ronald Bergan, Guardian obit

“A friend of mine told me a great thing: "Mirek [the diminutive form of Miroslav—ed], you are an easy-going guy." I never make any problems on the set, like [saying] I need more time. I never ask for anything special. They were always asking me questions, like what do you need for your camera. I would ask them: "Tell me about your budget. Do you have a lot of money? If yes, we will shoot with this camera; if you don’t have, then it is also OK, we will shoot with the other camera." Because for many film-makers their ideas are what makes the film. It is like in a democratic parliament, they fight each other, talk to each other. I hate it. Everything should be simple. If you like it, then we should shoot it that way; more important: if people really like it, than we shot it the right way. If you like me, you should work with me. This is very simple, as simple as human beings are.”
Mirek Ondricek, Kinoeye interview 2001