Monday, 12 December 2016

2016 Memoriam: April

1st April 2016 – Denise Robertson, 83

Long time Agony Aunt on TV show This Morning.

“She worked as a counsellor in the early 1970s and began writing fiction, winning £1,000 in a BBC competition for a TV play. In 1972, her husband, sister Joyce and mother died, and Denise found herself having to sell her jewellery, including her wedding ring, to feed herself and her son. The following year, despite her anxieties over what people might think, she married Jack Tomlin, the widowed father of her son’s best friend, and in the process acquired four stepsons. But the north-east in the 70s was a hard place to live – his business also collapsed, and Denise, Jack and their five children lived in sub-standard housing. Determined to build on her earlier writing success, Denise began producing short stories, television scripts and novels. Her first novel, Nurse in Doubt, a hospital romance, was published by Mills & Boon in 1984. The trilogy that followed, The Land of Lost Content (1984), A Year of Winter (1986) and Blue Remembered Hills (1987), was set in a fictional Durham pit village, Belgate, and reflected her love for the north-east. The last of her 20 novels, Don’t Cry Aloud (2015), looks at forced adoption, an issue she had encountered as an agony aunt.”
Suzie Hayman, Guardian obit 4 April 2016

3rd April 2016 – Bob Ellis, 72

Australian journalist and political commentator.

“Ellis had a knack for being there at the moment that mattered – and if he hadn’t quite arrived, if he was still struggling to finish lunch when the government fell or the minister crossed the floor, his writing made it seem nothing much of moment had happened until he was on the scene. He made dull politicians interesting. He found virtues in some and vices in others that had never been suspected. He brought scale to petty conflicts. He found history in everything. Game predictions were his forte. There was about Ellis something of Father Rothschild SJ, the hero of Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, who would pop up at London cocktail parties to forewarn a young woman that her father would be PM on Tuesday. I was there outside the Liberal party room in late 2009 when Ellis caused much mirth among the Canberra professionals by declaring that Tony Abbott would emerge any minute as the new leader of the Opposition. The mockery died after half an hour.”
David Marr, Bob Ellis: grubby, funny, wayard and original – and Labor to his core, The Guardian, 4 April 2016

“Ellis chronicled 1970s Australia, recording a country anxiously awaiting change and then retreating from transformation with both humour and perception. A war baby, he was one of the few of his generation university educated and his literate familiarity with the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, Peter Sellers, Dylan Thomas, Catcher in the Rye, Catch 22, and Jules and Jim and Black Orpheus produced a form of journalistic commentary that, as his celebrity grew, famously wandered from objectivity. "There was sometimes an heroic madness in what Bob wrote, a sort of metaphysical something," said Leunig (who released the duck at Daylesford in rural Victoria). "His work could be wrong but at the same time it could contain an unsuspected truths." During a 50-year career as a journalistic gadfly, Ellis never mislaid his knack of gatecrashing great moments. In 1973 and a star byline on the iconoclastic newspaper Nation Review, Ellis after a long lunch in Chinatown, and with Leunig his willing apprentice, followed Queen Elizabeth II from her Rolls Royce up the stairs to attend the Sydney Opera House opening, brazenly waving a clipboard and pen to ward off security. Thirty-seven years later, when Julia Gillard addressed her first prime ministerial press conference, Ellis shattered the room full of love that was the Labor caucus by hissing when the new leader spoke of understanding how Australians were disturbed when they saw asylum seekers arriving by boat.”
Damien Murphy, Sydney Morning Herald obituary, 4 April 2016

3rd April 2016 – Cesare Maldini, 84

Italian football defender, who captained AC Milan to the European Cup in 1963. He played twice at the 1962 World Cup, although he missed out on the infamous match with Chile that was to become known as The Battle of Santiago. He later became a football manager, and took his own country to the 1998 World Cup quarterfinals. He style was seen as too cautious, however, and despite taking Paraguay to the World Cup last sixteen in 2002, his dour style of management – a world apart from his somewhat cavalier approach to the defensive midfield spot as a player – won him more critics than admirers. There is no caveats to be placed upon his twelve year stint as coach of the Italian Under 21s international side, however, as they won three European titles in a row (still unprecedented), and he helped coach the careers of youngsters who would become world legends like Gigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro. They also reached the Quarterfinals of the 1992 Olympic tournament.

“As a player, he was an uncompromising centre-half who would become in time a libero, or sweeper, playing behind the defence – tactics he would bring with him when he took over the Azzurri. In 1954 he joined AC Milan, a team full of famous players, including the elegant Swede Nils Liedholm and the remarkable Uruguayan inside-forward, Juan Schiaffino. He stayed with the club until 1966, and then spent a year with Torino. In [1963], Milan won the European Cup final at Wembley, against Benfica of Lisbon, making them the first Italian club to win the trophy. A tactical change that secured the match inspired Maldini’s ambition to be a manager. This he did at Milan, becoming assistant manager from 1970 to 1972, then manager until 1974, before leading, in turn, Foggia, Ternana and Parma. He was assistant coach to Enzo Bearzot when Italy won the World Cup in Spain in 1982, and from 1986 to 1996 he had particular success with Italy’s under-21 team, which responded to him eagerly, delighted, as were the Azzurri when he took charge of them, by his democratic methods. Skilled players were always allowed to express themselves, something for which one of the most skilled of all, Gianfranco Zola, scorer of Italy’s winning goal at Wembley in 1997, declared his gratitude.”
Brian Glanville, Guardian obit 5 April 2016

Glanville’s reference to how his U21 side allowed the likes of Zola to express themselves is perhaps central to the juxtaposition at the heart of Maldini. His world Cup exits in 1998 and 2002 were built on a sort of nervous paralysis, games in which neither side had the heart to go for it. In 2002, he held Germany till the 89th minute, and only then threw on top scorer Nelson Ceuvas, far too late to make an impact. Yet, in the early round, against Slovenia, down to ten men and 1-0 down, he put on two strikers and went for broke, and Paraguay produced their best result of the tournament and won 3-1 to qualify for the second round, when elimination had looked likely. It is the pivotal tragedy of Cesare Maldini, manager: when he stuck to his attacking heart, his teams produced their best. It was when he second guessed himself, and reverted to the outdated stereotypes of Italian football (stereotypes which were outdated even within his own playing career, and which his own Under 21 side had strove to disprove) that he faltered.

But that is not to say he was a failure, far from it. Besides his international pedigree, and his playing success (which included four Serie A titles), he is one of the few managers to win European trophies as player and manager, with his Milan (as manager) winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1973. His son Paolo, now regarded as one of the finest defenders of all time, followed in his father’s footsteps, captaining AC Milan to the European Cup. But Maldini was never bitter that his substantial achievements might have been eclipsed by his son in the modern game. Cesare spent his career focused on youth development, and what greater example of success can there be than to see your own protégés, even your own children, succeed?

“He was a great. A great Coach, a great person and a great father to all of us. Above all I’m sorry.”
Andrei Shevchenko, Football Italia 5 April 2016

3rd April 2016 – Erik Bauersfeld, 93

Actor who was the voice of Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi.

4th April 2016 – Peggy Fortnum, 96

Illustrator who did the drawings for the original Paddington Bear books.

“From her first reading of the manuscript of A Bear Called Paddington, Fortnum was captivated by the talking bear. She visited London zoo to sketch and photograph Malayan bears as she wanted her Paddington to be convincing. “At the beginning, I wasn’t sure of the anatomy,” she wrote. “I wasn’t sure what to do with his paws … It takes an age to get it right.” She described her difficulties: “The line has to be expressive. I do lots of drawings. Humorous drawing is more difficult than any other kind of drawing. I remember an agent saying at the beginning ‘Anyone can draw bears.’” She also wanted the Browns, the family who give Paddington a home, to be realistic and easy to identify with; for authenticity, she borrowed a photograph of her nephew and his father walking through Victoria station in London and used them as models. Her illustrations made the idea of a bear from Peru arriving at Paddington station with a suitcase and being adopted by an ordinary family seem perfectly reasonable. Fortnum’s benign style and kind eye matched the warmth of Bond’s story. As Bond said of Fortnum: “She thought very highly of Paddington, as I did of her. It was a happy combination.”
Julia Eccleshare, Guardian obit, 4 April 2016

5th April 2016 – Ray Fitzwalter, 72

Journalist who was editor on World in Action.

"A tenacious crusader against miscarriages of justice, he commissioned an investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings by the IRA in 1974 which concluded that the half-dozen men serving life sentences for the attacks, the so-called Birmingham Six, were wrongly convicted. They were subsequently released. As a young newspaper reporter in the late 1960s, he had been the first to expose the scandal of the Yorkshire architect John Poulson who bribed politicians and council officials in order to win contracts. On joining World in Action, Fitzwalter was the journalist whose films finally nailed Poulson’s corruption and led to the resignation of the Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, and Poulson himself being jailed. While the Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, newly-elected in 1975, reportedly considered his World in Action team to comprise “just a lot of Trotskyists”, Fitzwalter himself was widely admired for his puritanical integrity, a scourge of corruption in public life and an advocate of what one senior Granada hand typified as old-fashioned, sleeves-rolled-up investigative journalism.”
Telegraph obit

“Other memorable programmes included a 1984 challenge to Matthew Parris, then a Conservative MP, to show that he could live on unemployment benefit of £27 a week. He failed and was duly humbled by the experience. In the same year a World in Action reporter secretly filmed a police officer setting up an armed robbery, including supplying a mask and gun, with a view to arresting the “robbers” he had persuaded to take part. A 1988 documentary entitled The Taming of the BBC, offered evidence of the detailed interest that prime minister Margaret Thatcher was taking in the appointment of governors to the corporation. Under Fitzwalter’s editorship World in Action won 35 national and international awards, including a Bafta and three accolades from the Royal Television Society. In 1990 Fitzwalter himself was awarded a Bafta for “an outstanding creative contribution to television”. By the early 1990s, however, he found himself at odds with the new generation of senior management at Granada who were increasingly obsessed with ratings, cost-cutting and short-term profitability, and had little or no interest in inquiring journalism. He eventually resigned and set up an independent production company, based in Manchester, which over a 10-year period made more than 250 programmes for a variety of outlets, including the BBC and ITV.”
Chris Mullin, Guardian obit, 13 April 2016

6th April 2016 – EM Nathanson, 88

Author of The Dirty Dozen.

6th April 2016 – Merle Haggard, 79

American country singer who had eleven number one albums.

6th April 2016 – Dennis Davis, 65

Drummer who worked with David Bowie.

7th April 2016 – Blackjack Mulligan, 73

Pro-wrestling Hall of Famer, who, as one half of the Blackjacks with Jack Lanza, won the WWWF Tag Team Championship in 1975 from Dominic DeNucci and Pat Barrett. Regarded as an accomplished singles and tag star, Mulligan won titles in several territories, had a long and successful feud with Andre the Giant, and became the patriarch of a wrestling dynasty. His sons Barry and Kendall became wrestling stars, and his grandsons Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt work for the WWE today.

“Blackjack Mulligan, who died today at the age of 73, was a force of nature. Like a cyclone, you could get blown away by the power of his words, and sucked up into his vortex. Announcers knew it; just hand him the microphone and get out of the way. Ask a question, and he was a boulder rolling down the hill, unable to stop. That Mulligan stayed on top for so long in various territories, is a testament to his talent, his interview skills, and to his love of the business.”
Steve Johnson and Greg Oliver, Slam Wrestling obit

7th April 2016 – Rachel Johnson, 93

Last surviving inhabitant of St Kilda.

“Rachel lived out the last years of her life at a carehome in the town. Her son, Ronnie Gillies Johnson, 61, also a resident of Clydebank, said: "If you asked her about St Kilda now, she would look at you and smile. "St Kilda was an important part of her life, but she did not speak much about it." The St Kildans lived in a semi-circle of 16 cottages and Rachel stayed at number 13 with her parents Christina, Donald and her older sister Cathie.”
Tristan Stewart-Robertson, Last Surviving Resident of Remote St Kilda island, Rachel Johnson, passes away at 93 in Clydebank, Clydebank Post, 7 April 2016

“She occasionally attended St Kilda reunions over the years - and is featured in a photograph if St Kildans returning to the islands in 1980 to mark the 50th anniversary of the evacuation. St Kilda is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Alexander Bennett, trust's general manager for countryside and islands north, said: "It is a sad day and truly an end of an era to learn that the last if the native St Kildans has passed away. "I was privileged to have met Rachel on a number of occasions. She was intensely private but extremely kindly. "On behalf of the NTS and all who care for St Kilda, we offer our condolences to her family and friends." Mother-of-two Mrs Johnson died peacefully at Mount Pleasant Care Home on Monday. Her funeral is at Radnor Oark Parish Church on Friday. She is survived by one of her sons, Ronald.”
Telegraph obit

8th April 2016 – David Swift, 85

Actor who appeared in many film and TV roles, including as Montclair in The Day of the Jackal, and as Beadley in the 1981 BBC Day of the Triffids mini-series. He was best known to TV audiences as Drop the Dead Donkey’s Henry Davenport, the sardonic, womanising veteran newsreader. It was a role Swift made his own, his timing mining the comic potential on every line, and making Davenport a sympathetic if flawed character, no mean feat.

“During his first decade in acting, he ran Preview 1 and Preview 2, sound-recording and film-editing businesses, in the West End of London. Among those who used his facilities were the BBC documentary directors Charles Denton, Richard Marquand and Paul Watson. In 1969, he formed the independent production company Tempest Films with them, and then approached the Daily Mirror journalist John Pilger to join the co-operative, which he managed. “We wanted a frontman with a mind of his own, rather like another James Cameron, with whom Richard had worked,” Swift said. “Paul thought John was very charismatic, as well as marketing extremely original, refreshingly radical ideas.” However, Tempest was an idea before its time, with the BBC and ITV reluctant to commission independents; instead, it “packaged” ideas. One of the first was The Quiet Mutiny, a 1970 documentary for ITV’s World in Action, directed by Denton, with Pilger as the reporter. The programme revealed that thousands of American service personnel in Vietnam were refusing to follow orders – and some were even killing their own officers. It caused a furore with the US embassy in Britain and marked the start of a long screen career for Pilger.”
Anthony Hayward, Guardian obit 18 April 2016

“[Drop the Dead Donkey], written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, ran for six series and 64 episodes on Channel 4, from 1990 to 1998, and collected a total of 17 awards. Set in the studios of Globelink, a fictional rolling television news station owned by a media tycoon who prizes ratings and sensationalism above responsible journalism, the series was filmed very close to transmission to ensure the jokes were as topical as possible. But for many fans it was the office politics rather than the satire that made the show so unmissable, as put-upon editor George Dent (Jeff Rawle) struggled to keep his staff and bosses happy. Each episode was produced in just five days with the script changing right up to the last moment to incorporate breaking news. Swift recalled the rehearsal process as “a bit like having open heart surgery without anaesthetic”. To make his character convincing, he invented his own back story: “He lives in a flat in Albany in St James’s, London, close to actor Terence Stamp. He drives a drop-head Bentley and goes off to his house in Wiltshire at the weekends.” It was, he admitted, “an enviable lifestyle, particularly as I only drive an old Honda.”
Telegraph obit

10th April 2016 - Mildred Gordon, 92

Labour MP for Bow and Poplar from 1987 to 1997.

“During her 10 years as an MP, before the seat was subject to boundary changes, she established herself as a doughty campaigner who was difficult to discipline. The issues she espoused included children’s rights, the need to recognise domestic carers, the extension of the law against rape in marriage to cover both men and women, the prevention of obscene and nuisance phone calls, public speaking in schools and recognition for civilian casualties in the second world war. She was a sponsor for a bill seeking the rehabilitation of Trotsky and tried to defend her beloved East End from the rampages of development at the expense of its residents. At the opening of the Docklands Light Railway shortly after her election in 1987 she told the Queen, who had asked how she liked the new job, that she felt she had little power to help her constituents. The Queen replied understandingly: “Once they find out you lot can’t help them, they all write to me.”
Julia Langdon, Guardian obit 18 April 2016

11th April 2016 – Jack Hammer, 90

Song-writer who wrote Great Balls of Fire.

11th April 2016 – Nicholas Gargano, 81

Boxer who won a bronze medal for Britain at the 1956 Olympics.

12th April 2016 – Arnold Wesker, 83

One of the Angry Young Men playwrights of the 1950s, he wrote Roots, and Shylock.

“Yet even as a relatively young man, when he had produced only six plays, he was already being written off as a has-been. But his critics had totally misjudged the man. He continued to write successful plays, more than 40 in all, right into his 70s. In addition to that he wrote four books of short stories, two collections of essays, a book for young people, three more of non-fiction, a collection of poetry and an autobiography. Wesker was most famous for his trilogy of plays, comprising Chicken Soup With Barley, Roots, and I’m Talking About Jerusalem. These were written between 1958 and 1960 and were based on his working-class and impoverished Jewish background. More than 400,000 copies of this work were sold in book form.”
Chris Moncrieff, Scotsman obit 13 April 2016

“Incredibly silly things are said. I had someone send me what she had written as her contribution of me to a collection of mini-portraits of Jewish writers. And she said very nice things about me, but..she said that Roots had difficulty being performed abroad because its main impact was the use of Norfolk dialect. Which is incredible nonsense, because factually Roots , apart from The Kitchen , which, curiously, is my most performed play abroad, Roots is the next, I mean there are productions of Roots all over the world. And she should have checked that, so things like that are said and people are going to read it and students are going to read it and they're going to put it in their essays and...I mean, I once...there was an actress in one of my plays a few years ago and she went on to do another play up in the north a play by a young woman writer who went on to have success at the Royal Court, when this writer heard that this actress had been in one of my plays she said "Oh! So do you know Arnold Wesker?" and the actress said "Yes, yes"..."Is it true that he once took a gun out to a director?" And I thought, where on earth does a story like that begin? I mean I don't think I've ever even handled, except in the RAF - a rifle, I don't think I've ever handled a gun in my life.”
Arnold Wesker, interviewed by Ewan Jeffrey, Theatre Archive Project 19 December 2003

12th April 2016 – David Gest, 62

Former husband of Liza Minnelli who became famous for his appearances on TV reality shows.

12th April 2016 – Pedro de Felipe, 71

Spanish footballer who won the European Cup with Real Madrid in 1966.

12th April 2016 – Balls Mahoney, 44

Former ECW wrestler.

13th April 2016 – Jock Scott, 64

Scottish punk poet.

“I used to go out to concerts and at one gig, I met a member of the road crew. He took me backstage to meet Ian Dury. I got chatting with Ian in his dressing room, met him again after the gig and continued chatting with him late into the night. He asked me to come to the next show and I did. It all came out of meeting Ian Dury by accident really. Yeah I know people say he was difficult but I didn’t find him difficult at all. There was always lots to do. I had a crap job and wasn’t really keen on rushing back to it, so I made myself useful around the camp.”
Jock Scott, M Magazine interview, 5 September 2014

“It was a tribute to his distinctive, unusual character that he could make tragic material so funny. Another poem, All Over the World Girls Are Dreaming (About Me), clearly indicated Jock was no believer in false modesty. The Caledonian Blues (2005) was recorded with Gareth Sager of the Pop Group. But it was as a live performer that Jock best expressed himself, often opening events for music acts including Ian Dury, Joe Strummer or the Libertines; a daring master of the pause, he could silence rowdy audiences with his words. Once he had overcome an early tendency to fall over in mid-performance from his pre-show intake – insecurity drove his consumption of drink and drugs – his sparse, minimalist performances could be riveting. Last year, already ill, he performed at the Barbican with the indie rock band British Sea Power, ostentatiously tearing up his script as he left the stage – a sense of histrionics was second nature and for much of his life he motored on little more than his paradoxical sense of self and his handsome personality.”
Chris Salewicz, Guardian obit 25 April 2016

Through Ian Dury, he met Anna Chancellor, with whom he had a daughter, Poppy.

“Which one of my records is coming out?”, asks Jock Scot, the Leith-born poet laureate of the binge-drinker, connoisseur of the legendary Willie McGonagall and renowned supplier of ‘good vibes’ to the likes of Ian Dury, Dr. Feelgood and Vivian Stanshall. We’re sat in Jock’s north London living room with the artist and filmmaker Robert Rubbish who is making a documentary film about Jock; also present is Lias Saoudi, the genial frontman of the Fat White Family. Both Lias and Jock share a discordant muse and today the discordance is fuelled by Jock’s array of whiskeys and ciders and all manner of alcoholic devilment; the power of positive drinking. Before we get a chance to steam in, Jock answers his own question. “Is it My Personal Culloden, the one with Davey? Well, that’s fucking great because that’s the best one!” Originally recorded and released back in 1997, My Personal Culloden is a collaboration between Jock and Nectarine No. 9 man Davey Henderson and is being re-released by Heavenly Records. Jock is a funny, sour, savage writer and the album stings with an atmosphere of gnarling paranoia, imprisoned minimalism and disenchantment with love and the capital punishments of London town. Most of Jock’s characters wage an internal war with their limited circumstances but, of course, there is a thin line that separates laughter and pain and comedy and tragedy and he fearlessly straddles these extremities of emotion. “It’s even better that the album is being re-released,” continues Jock. “Because I’ve not got a copy.”
Colm McAuliffe, A Long Lunch with Jock Scot, Robert Rubbish and Lias Saoudi, Quietus 19 August 2015

“I got diagnosed in 2014. I remember thinking I’d hopefully live long enough to see the World Cup!”
Jock Scot

13th April 2016 – Gareth Thomas, 71

Actor best known for his title role in Blake's Seven, but who also appeared in The Children of the Stones.

14th April 2016 – Sir David MacKay, 56


“As a mathematician, David’s expertise on Bayesian probability theory led to his dramatic intervention to help right a notorious miscarriage of justice, when the solicitor Sally Clark was wrongly imprisoned in 1999 after being accused of murdering her two babies. David was horrified that a key witness for the prosecution had misused statistics to tell the court that there was only a 1 in 73m chance that Clark’s babies had died naturally in cot deaths. He recalculated the probability and proved that Clark was far more likely to be innocent than guilty. David got involved in the campaign for her release, which was achieved after a second appeal in January 2003.His commitment to mathematical accuracy was combined with a refusal to give easy answers. “I don’t want to feed you my own conclusions,” he wrote in the first pages of Without the Hot Air (an early draft of which was tellingly called You Figure It Out!) “Convictions are stronger if they are self-generated, rather than taught.” This continued the style of his earlier academic work. “You can understand a subject only by creating it for yourself,” says the introduction to his landmark textbook Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms (2003).”
Mark Lynas, Guardian obit, 18 April 2016

14th April 2016 – Anne Jackson, 90

Tony award nominated actress, who was the widow of Eli Wallach, and who appeared as the doctor in The Shining, and as Margaret in Man of the Century.

14th April 2016 – Martin Fitzmaurice, 75

Compere for darts competitions in the UK.

15th April 2016 – Morag Siller, 46

Actress who appeared in Emmerdale, Casualty and Coronation Street.

 16th April 2016 – Kit West, 79

Special effects designer who worked on Return of the Jedi.

“Particularly memorable in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the comic-book-style adventure brought to the screen by director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas, were the “rolling boulder” opening sequence and “face-melting” scene he brought to life. His skills won him an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, shared with Richard Edlund, Bruce Nicholson and Joe Johnston, other key members of the film crew. A Bafta Award for Special Visual Effects followed when West was part of the team responsible for the dazzling images in the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi (1983, now titled Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi), at times battling with the intense heat of Arizona’s Yuma Desert and rain in the redwood forests of northern California.”
Anthony Hayward, Scotsman obit 18 May 2016

17th April 2016 – Tiga Bayles, 62

Indigenous Australian radio presenter. He was considered to have changed the landscape of indigenous media in Australia, given them their own radio show.

“Bayles was a founder of the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association’s 98.9FM radio station. In a statement yesterday, BIMA said Mr Bayles, 62, was a leading figure in the Aboriginal rights movement, and was Australia’s most prominent and awarded indigenous broadcaster. “Among his many honours [said the statement], Tiga was the inaugural winner of the national Deadly Award for Indigenous Broadcaster of the Year, and his work around decolonisation and invasion was recognised by Amnesty International’s inaugural media awards in 2014.”
Stephanie Bennett, The Courier Mail, 17 April 2016

“The biggest challenge is definitely getting the Government to recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media is an essential service for a diverse range of listeners. The information we provide to our listeners through our broadcasting is information that they do not get from anywhere else, which makes us a specialised service. The other big challenge is being valued by people for our work, that includes being valued by our own mob and by members of the dominant community.”
Tiga Bayles, Eamma interview

Bayles was also considered one of the leaders of the 1982 Commonwealth games protests.

“Around 2,000 people marched for land rights in Brisbane on 26 September 1982. In what was named Queensland's biggest Aboriginal march, protesters carrying placards and banners walked peacefully from the city to a park across the Brisbane River. On 29 September 1,000 people marched peacefully through central Brisbane in support of land rights. Protesters held banners and wore badges and stickers that read 'Stop playing games: land rights now'. Despite the Premier's ban on street marches, further protests were staged in Brisbane during the Games.”
Pose, M. (2009) Commonwealth Games Brisbane & Aboriginal Protest 1982, in museum Victoria Collections Accessed 01 October 2016

17th April 2016 – Doris Roberts, 90

Actress who appeared in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Rhoda and Murder She Wrote.

18th April 2016 – Scott Nimerfro, 54

Screenwriter who wrote Hannibal and was associate producer on the 2000 X-Men film.

19th April 2016 – Patricio Aylwin, 97

First leader of Chile after the dictatorship of Pinochet, and who moved Chile back to democratic roots.

“Immediately after the coup of 1973, Aylwin declared that Allende’s government had been on the point of “installing a communist dictatorship by force”, and that what was needed was a short takeover of power by the Chilean military, followed by the installation of a centrist government. However, Pinochet had other ideas, and when it became obvious he had no intention of relinquishing power, Aylwin, who never went into exile, became a leading member of those seeking a constitutional exit to rule by the armed forces. He was instrumental in the creation of the Group of 24 that brought together politicians of different persuasions, and eventually led to the Concertacíon de Partidos por la Democracia coalition that was to hold power from 1990 onwards. In 1988 Aylwin was active in the campaign for the “no” vote in the plebiscite on the continuation of Pinochet in power, and when that campaign was successful, he became the Concertacíon’s candidate for the presidency. In the 1989 election he won more than 55% of the vote, and was inaugurated in March 1990.”
Nick Caistor, Guardian obit 24 April 2016

“Shortly after taking office he established a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, which in nine months prepared a bulky and rigorous report detailing abuses and giving the names of more than 3,200 people killed between September 1973 and March 1990, mostly by agents of the Chilean security forces. Reparations, amounting to $18 million in 1992 and taking the form of pensions, health care and educational grants, were made to relatives of the dead and disappeared. A new national corporation of reparation and reconciliation continued to receive reports of abuses, adding hundreds more cases to the record. The result was an impressive degree of national consensus on the reality of what had gone on under Pinochet. It had been hoped that the report would serve as the basis for trials against the perpetrators of human rights crimes, but the Chilean supreme court, still dominated by Pinochet nominees, blocked the move. In 1993, when some military men were asked to give evidence in investigations into where the “disappeared” had been buried, Pinochet sent troops in full combat gear with rocket launchers and automatic weapons on to the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago for a brief display of force. Aylwin promptly proposed a law that would allow special judges to hear evidence from military men in secret, but the idea was seen by some of his coalition partners as a “betrayal”, and he was obliged to withdraw it.
Telegraph obit

19th April 2016 – Pete Zorn, 65

Guitarist, saxophonist and mandolin player who was a mameber of Steeleye Span.

19th April 2016 – Walter Kohn, 93

Chemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1998.

“Kohn started to examine the change that occurs to the spatial distribution of the electron density when an impurity is added to a metal. For a positively charged impurity, the electrons pile up around it as expected. They also exhibit a wave-like distribution (Friedel oscillations), which reflects a quantum property of the electrons. This quantum feature led Kohn to examine the possibility that the electron density contained the key to other properties. In 1964, while on sabbatical in Paris, he established with Pierre Hohenberg, a postdoc at the École Normale Supérieure, the Hohenberg–Kohn density theorem. This stated that the electron-density distribution (not the energy landscape) determines the properties of a many-electron system.”
Lu J Sham, Walter Kohn (1923-2016), Nature 534, 38 (02 June 2016)

20th April 2016 – Victoria Wood, 62

Four time BAFTA winning comedian, who was considered one of the finest comic actresses of her generation. She was the writer and performer of Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV, and wrote/starred in Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies.

20th April 2016 – Solly Pandor

Football team manager who helped lead the Zambian national team from 1993 to 2000, and helped direct Zambian sport through one of its biggest tragedies. In 1992, Zambian football looked to be in the ascendancy. They smashed through their first round World Cup qualifying group with eleven goals in four games, and although they were in a final group with Morocco (who had reached the World Cup’s second round in 1986), Zambia were heavily fancied to make it. A Zambian side after all, which had put the world on notice by thrashing Italy 4-0 at the 1988 Olympic games, was maturing and on the verge of a deserved World Cup debut.

On the 27th April 1993, the plane taking the Zambian team to an away game in Senegal suffered mechanical failure (and possibly pilot error) en route and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. There were no survivors.

The entire team (with the exception of two injured stars who played in the Dutch league), and their manager, and coaches, were all dead.

“A week later, the players boarded the plane again for the game against Senegal. Kalusha and Charles Musonda of Anderlecht had missed the Mauritius game and so made their own way to west Africa. The plane's captain, Feston M'hone, wanted to fly from Lusaka to Brazzaville, then on to Libreville and Abidjan before finally arriving in Dakar, the sheer number of refuelling stops suggesting how unsuitable a vehicle it was for the journey. There was, as so often, a delay, because as a military craft the Buffalo was denied permission to cross Congolese air space. The decision was taken to fly directly to Libreville. The Buffalo landed and refuelled. According to the Gabonese minister of transport it had routine checks and then took off again. Two minutes later it exploded, killing all five crew and 25 passengers. Mutale, then 23, was one of those killed. Six members of the 1988 Olympic squad, including the goalkeeper Efford Chabala, died. So too did the 19-year-old Moses Chikwalakwala, Zambia's Young Player of the Year in 1992. There were claims the plane had been shot down by the Gabonese military, mistaking it for an invasion force. Diplomatic relations between Gabon and Zambia were shattered, neither country wanting to pay for an investigation and each trying to put the blame on the other. Being a military plane, there was no black-box flight recorder. Eventually, in 2003, the official report was released. It was inconclusive, but blamed a defect in the left engine.”
Jonathan Wilson, The day a team died: a tragedy for Zambian football, Independent 19 January 2012

“On the streets of Lusaka, some people wept openly as the news of the crash spread, and a sports journalist at The Times of Zambia collapsed. The Zambian team... were considered the best in Southern Africa.”
AFP, New Straits Times, 29 April 1993

The tournament still had to continue. Look at Togo, who were punished for pulling out of the 2010 African Nations Cup after suffering a terrorist attack on their team bus in which people died, to see how the football authorities tend to react to tragedies. Sure, FIFA let them “delay” the World Cup qualifiers, but they still had to be played.

So the Zambian FA turned to Fred Mwila and Solly Pandor to be the new management team for the national team. And they say the English managers job is a difficult one? “Here you go, entire team died in an accident, the nations in a state of psychological shock, please be our mediator, psychologist, and teacher, find a team from somewhere, and please qualify for the World Cup too”, basically. Rather than run a mile, or take any excuse, Mwila and Pandor took the job.

Their first match in charge was a home tie against Morocco, now widely expected to qualify with ease. They put together a makeshift team of youngsters, lower division players, players in the reserves in the Dutch league, and the aforementioned Kalusha Bwalya, who saw it as his own personal mission to bring back Zambian football from the abyss, in honour of his fallen friends. Wearing black armbands, the Zambian side took to the pitch, and observed a minutes silence.

It came as little surprise then, that Morocco scored within the first ten minutes of the match.

Zambia were not to be outdone however, and Kalusha Bwalya was not to be outdone, firing in an absolutely unstoppable free kick to level the game, to an explosion of euphoria and delight from the home crowd. As if that weren’t miraculous enough, with twenty-three minutes left in the game, a long ball was headed down to Bwalya on the edge of the box, who casually flicked the ball with his right foot through to the running Johnson Bwalya, who fired home. Solly Pandor had taken a gang of misfits and neverwheres, and got them to beat the group favourites!

“President Frederick Chiluba and his wife wiped tears from their eyes as Johnson Bwalya of Bulle in Switzerland scored Zambia’s go-ahead goal with 13 minutes left. “Everyone has worked hard and made great sacrifices,” said Winston Gumbo, chairman of the Football Association of Zambia. “We’re back on the road to the World Cup”.”
Sun Journal, via Associated Press, 5 July 1993

The away trip to Senegal followed, and this time the team played out a goalless draw in Dakar, before crushing the Senegalese 4-0 back in Lusaka.

Morocco won 1-0, a disputed goal which went to a FIFA appeal, and Zambia missed out, by the narrowest of margins, on their first World Cup appearance. The scratch team had come closer than anyone had hoped, and raised the spirits of a shell-shocked country.

That wasn’t the end of the story, however, as Zambia reached the 1994 African Nations Cup, and eliminated Senegal and Mali en route to a shock Finals place. There, despite taking the lead, they went down narrowly to a Nigerian side which was to become the finest African side of the decade. In 1996, they reached the Semifinals. By then, Zambia had gone through a number of managers, including Ian Porterfield, and Solly Pandor was in a sort of Director of Football style role, which he held until 2010.

He retired to run a sports shop.

“Solly Pandor was a dedicated servant of the game, a manager whose service has left an indelible mark on Zambian football and whose legacy of service to the game and the country will endure into the future, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said. Speaking after attending the funeral of long serving former Chipolopolo team manager Pandor in Lusaka yesterday, FAZ president Andrew Kamanga said the death of Pandor was saddening. Kamanga prayed that God Almighty strengthens the family stressing that the entire football fraternity mourned the loss of a one of the longest serving managers of the game with the family. “We are profoundly saddened about the death of Solly. The success and management of the national team we see today owes part of its success to the foundations that such long serving and dedicated men like Solly woked hard to establish,” Kamanga said.”
Football Association of Zambia official Facebook status, 21 April 2016

“We have lost one of the best team managers who ever managed the Chipolopolo.”
Patrick Phiri, All Africa, 20 April 2016

It seems that in times of tragedy or disaster you need a unifying figure who will put an arm around a nation, and, no matter what any Wikipedia list will tell you about who managed who (and good lord, the Zambian national football team Wiki page is a catastrophe of knowledge issues), Solly Pandor, from all the tributes he recived in his home land, appeared to have been that for an African nation in its darkest hour.

20th April 2016 – Guy Hamilton, 93

Film director who worked on four James Bond films, including Goldfinger and Live and Let Die. He also directed Evil Under the Sun and Force 10 from Navarone. As chiefly in charge of casting for Goldfinger (he cast Harold Sakata as Oddjob based on his movement), he was responsible for casting Demsond Llewellyn as Q. He had a strong influence on the making of the films, over riding producer Harry Saltzman on Ken Adam’s set designs. Also, when Live and Let Die was originally to be set during the Mardi Gras, Hamilton vetoed it, claiming similarity to Thunderball, and focused on the New Orleans jazz funerals instead, which gives a more ethereal quality to the film.

After all, anyone can be bumped off during Mardi Gras, but the “Who’s funeral is this?” “Yours.” scene could only take place in the world of Bond.

“In 1951 Hamilton also worked on Huston’s The African Queen, after the rigours of which he felt confident enough to direct, and assured the producer Alexander Korda that he could complete a film in three weeks. His mentor Reed advised him to make a comedy thriller: “That way if it is only half thrilling and only half amusing, you’ll still have a success.”The result was a brisk, third screen version of Edgar Wallace’s The Ringer (1952), generally considered the best adaptation of the writer’s work. It was good enough for the producer Ivan Foxwell to offer him The Intruder (1953), starring Jack Hawkins. Hamilton and Foxwell were near contemporaries, sharing a military background and strong ties with France. After their successful joint debut they made The Colditz Story, Manuela (1957) and the engaging A Touch of Larceny, with James Mason. Although Hamilton enjoyed script involvement he maintained that he held no ambitions to write or produce, and enjoyed working for those who had “a hands-on approach to production”.”
Brian Baxter, Guardian obit 21 April 2016

Earlier in his life he had worked on The Third Man as production assistant.

“To me, a Director's a storyteller. I mean that's what it's all about. I also think of it, it's the second oldest profession in the world. It started in Baghdad with the begging bowl. you know, you sat down and you said, "Children I will tell you a story." And they all cluttered around and if you told them a good story, they filled your bowl up. If your bowl wasn't filled up, give up being a storyteller and go and build a pyramid, that was the only job you could get. I do think that I care about the audience, I think about the audience. And I'm telling this story for them, and I've got wonderful things called Actors, and I've got some great technicians who make the Actors look even better. But if I don't tell the story right, or it's the wrong story, forget it.”
Guy Hamilton, to Michael Apted, Directors Guild Interview

“Well, I enjoyed Bond, I enjoyed the whole experience of Bond and after “Diamonds Are Forever”, I said, ‘Bye bye and thank you!’ But they said, ‘Oh no, wait a minute, you are to do the next Bond without Sean!’ And so we went off with Roger Moore. I had told him, ‘Whatever you do, don’t try to play Sean Connery. You got to create your own Bond, and I will try and help you, because I know the things you’re good at and the things you’re not so good at.’ Every actor has strengths and weaknesses and as a director you’ve got to find that balance. Roger created his own Bond with a lighter tone than Sean Connery, but that’s because it’s very much his personality.”
Guy Hamilton, to Puerto Andraitz, “Film directors must be gentle to the viewer’s eye”, Film Talk 8 March 2015

20th April 2016 – Avril Henry, 81

Academic who specialised in English medieval culture.

21st April 2016 – Lord John Walton, 93

Neuroscientist and peer.

“The international success of this work led to a major grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America that enabled Walton to develop a research programme based at Newcastle, where he became professor of Neurology and Dean of Medicine. Later on, with further grants from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada and the Muscular Dystrophy Group of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (which he and Nattrass had founded in the early 1950s), he was able to embark upon an expanded programme, for the first time involving basic research into neuropathology, histochemistry, electrophysiology and the biochemical aspects of neuromuscular disease, among other techniques of investigation.”
Telegraph obit

22nd April 2016 – David Beresford, 68

Guardian journalist who wrote the book Ten Men Dead about the Maze hunger strikes.

23rd April 2016 – Madeleine Sherwood, 93

Actress who appeared in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

24th April 2016 – Billy Paul, 81

Soul singer who had a number one hit with Me and Mrs Jones, and won a Grammy.

26th April 2016 – Mark Farmer, 53

Former child actor who appeared as Gary Hargreaves in Grange Hill.

28th April 2016 – Barry Howard, 78

Actor best known for his role as Barry in Hi-de-Hi!

28th April 2016 – Sir Edward Ashmore, 96

WW2 Navy officer, who later took charge of the Navy.

“Ashmore strove assiduously to restore both the material and the morale of the Navy following the “Healey” defence review of 1966, the Labour government’s decision to withdraw from East of Suez, and the cancellation of Queen Elizabeth, the first of a proposed new class of aircraft carriers.He authorised the making of the television series Warship, and a programme about the carrier Ark Royal which popularised Rod Stewart’s song Sailing. Ashmore’s achievements included successfully combining the Far East and Home Fleets under one command based at Northwood. In 1974, when Chevaline, the highly secret Polaris improvement programme, was overspent and delayed, he insisted that for it to be delivered safely and without further cost over-runs, the Navy should be given sole management.”
Telegraph obit

28th April 2016 - Jenny Diski, 68

Author who wrote Rainforest and was forever linked with Doris Lessing.

30th April 2016 – Sir Harry Kroto, 76

English chemist, who won the Nobel Prize in 1996 for the discovery of fullerene molecules.

“In 1985 Harry, then professor of chemistry at the University of Sussex, had teamed up with Rick Smalley and Robert Curl, both professors of chemistry at Rice University, in Houston, Texas, to laser-vaporise carbon in laboratory experiments designed to simulate the chemistry of stars and interstellar space. Their experiments appeared to indicate that they had made an unexpected molecular species comprising 60 carbon atoms. This was amazing. Carbon had long been known to exist as diamond or graphite, but carbon as a small molecule required completely new thinking. This was where Harry drew on his artistic side and a knowledge of graphic design: he proposed that C60 was made up of a mixture of pentagons and hexagons, a structure known in ancient times, and now ubiquitous in footballs and in the work of the US architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller. But at first nobody could prove it, and many were openly sceptical.”
Hazel Cox and Geoff Cloke, Guardian obit 5 May 2016

 30th April 2016 – Daniel Berrigan, 94

Anti-war Jesuit activist.

“The United States was tearing itself apart over civil rights and the war in Southeast Asia when Father Berrigan emerged in the 1960s as an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic “new left,” articulating a view that racism and poverty, militarism and capitalist greed were interconnected pieces of the same big problem: an unjust society. It was an essentially religious position, based on a stringent reading of the Scriptures that some called pure and others radical. But it would have explosive political consequences as Father Berrigan; his brother Philip, a Josephite priest; and their allies took their case to the streets with rising disregard for the law or their personal fortunes. A defining point was the burning of Selective Service draft records in Catonsville, Md., and the subsequent trial of the so-called Catonsville Nine, a sequence of events that inspired an escalation of protests across the country; there were marches, sit-ins, the public burning of draft cards and other acts of civil disobedience.”
Daniel Lewis, Daniel J Berrigan, Defiant Priest who preached Pacifism, dies at 94, New York Times 30 April 2016

30th April 2016 – Daniel Aaron, 103

Founder of the Library of America.