RIP El Tel

RIP El Tel

We’ve had a dearth of death these last few weeks.  Bowie, Rickman, Glen Frey…now Sir Terry. And whilst death is a fact that we all accept – particularly as we ripen and mature as humans – I can’t help but feel a deep dark sorrow for our collective loss. I didn’t have a particular affection for Terry Wogan.  Unlike Bowie and Rickman, he doesn’t rank in my Top Ten Men.  But I did have a great fondness for him. I grew up with Terry Wogan.  He was the constant presence in the car during our morning trips to school. My father took us on his way to work in Birmingham.  Radio 2 was his preference, not mine.  As the driver, however, my father over ruled the tastes of his two daughter passengers – so we were subjected to a...

Funeral for a friend

Funeral for a friend

I went to a friend’s funeral today. I was at school with her. Louise was the girl we all wanted to be – tall, blonde, leggy, clever. And incredibly kind and thoughtful. A beautiful person outside and in. But she was already not of this world.  She circulated in a different stratosphere that twinkled and shone. Unlike the rest of us, mesmerised by Donny Osmond and David Cassidy, she had her sights firmly set on Richard. A stock broker, fifteen years older than us, he seemed an old man living in a middle aged world. We told her she was crazy.  He’d never notice a sixteen year old. She married him on her 21st Birthday.  Their son was born six years later.  But she was widowed at 31, Richard suffering an hereditary and congenital illness. Everyone...

Crimes against celebrity

Crimes against celebrity

My crime against celebrity dates back to Tuesday July 4th 1978 when I was sixteen, recovering from the traumas of O levels at school in Birmingham. To celebrate my new freedom, my elder brother invited me to accompany him to the gig of a band I’d never heard of at the local Barbarella’s nightclub. He said that the band were new and had an album coming out that he thought was pretty good. Barbarella’s had a reputation as a somewhat exotic venue and having only ever attended concerts at the nearby Odeon, I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. Being sixteen though, I knew I needed to dress up for the occasion as it was indeed a nightclub, I’d never been to a nightclub before and I knew I needed to look older than my age. Sadly a cheesecloth shirt and...

David Bowie

David Bowie

Let’s scroll back in time to early 1983 where I am twenty one, in my final year at London University and holding a Saturday job at a small, exclusive bridal and ball gown shop on the Fulham Road to help make ends meet. It’s late February and for once I am unusually early for work. Graham the boss has yet to arrive, so I am standing on the doorstep, looking out down the peacefully quiet, deserted road. A man turns the corner. Even though he is a long way off, I can tell that this is no ordinary man. He is a vision – with a shock of perfectly platinum blonde hair and a very expensive, long navy coat. Even at this distance I can tell that the coat is superlative because of the way it hangs and flows around him as he walks, almost in slow motion...

Being human

Being human

  Harry the Rabbit is seven years old. He was bought as a present for our eight year old daughter. You know the story. She simply HAD TO HAVE HIM. Until, of course, his novelty wore off. Which was about six days. Then I assumed the onerous task of being Harry’s guardian. Harry spent the first three miserable years of his life staring at the garden shed, being pelted by rain and with only the prospect of a furtive hand inserting a carrot and gruel into his cage every day by way of entertainment. Unsurprisingly, he was quickly at Death’s Door, shivering, glass-eyed and listless. The vet pronounced him ‘beyond help’ and suggested that we take him home as the cheapest and kindest option. Nature would take its course. For two days Harry...

What’s happening?

What’s happening?

A lot of my friends are seeing their children off to university at the moment. Packing bags, loading cars, emptying cupboards. Trying to remember all the good advice they promised themselves they would give to their kids and mentally checking off whether they have done so. A frenetic burst of final activity all squashed into a matter of days – or hours. Then nothing. Silence. Wandering around the house listlessly, looking for something to do. Returning to their bedrooms to survey the devastation. Hoping that they’ll return. Knowing that when they do it’ll be different. They’ll be different. The dynamics will have changed. Everything will have changed. It’s my turn next year and I’m dreading it already. But in some ways...