Filed: Brief Lives

The Preston Plumber

Finney Statue

I was driving home through the rain on Wednesday when I passed the statue and fountain of Tom Finney outside Preston North End’s Deepdale ground.

My first regret was that I didn’t have my camera with me to get a shot like the one on the left, although it wasn’t exactly what you would call photography weather. Read more ›››

The Good Die Young

Paul Goggins

It won’t come as much of a surprise to my regular reader if I were to tell you that I don’t have a lot of time for politicians. I met quite a few through work, so I suppose it could be a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

Take Cyril Smith for example. I met him years ago, long before we know what we know now, and even then he struck me as a slime ball who believed his own publicity and not a bit like the jovial, no-nonsense politico we saw on tv… Read more ›››

Ship's Dog

One of the many things that annoys me about the media is that their solution to whatever happens to be the social ill of the day is ‘education’, as in adding yet another subject to the already crowded school curriculum.

Yesterday is was cyber-bullying that kids need teaching about and tomorrow it will be something else. I had meant to keep a diary of all the education initiatives that all the various interest groups cry out for so I could have a rant about it, but a teacher has saved me the bother… Read more ›››

Brief Lives


I was flicking through the Global Notable Deaths of 2013 on the BBC website the other day and I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea of who many of the deceased great and the good were.

I had much more joy (if that’s the right word) with the UK notables which shows how parochial I am, no matter how worldly I consider myself to be… Read more ›››


Margaret Thatcher

Having regretted that I haven’t written enough of my ‘brief lives’ posts last week, along comes another one with the death of Margaret Thatcher.

Of course the are those who would say that her life wasn’t brief enough – ‘Finally I get to wear my black suit and tap shoes together’ tweeted Frankie Boyle. Read more ›››

Richard Griffiths

Richard Griffiths in Bird of Prey

Those of you who are familiar with the drop-down category menu on the right (an I can’t imagine that’s many of you) will have spotted one simply entitled Brief Lives.

The idea was that I might carry my own obituaries for those I particularly admire or detest, but it hasn’t really worked out that way with just 15 entries to date. Read more ›››


Sykes and Jacques

I’m not generally one for heaping praise on the media (unless bribed or coerced), but I have to thank the BBC2 for the evening of programmes last night celebrating the life and work of Eric Sykes who died earlier this year.

Sykes was one of my early comedy heroes for all sorts of reasons, but mostly for his mixture of silliness, surrealism and slapstick. Read more ›››

Monkeeing Around

Davy Jones as Colin Lomax

I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of media coverage of the death of Davy Jones. Obviously I expected the sad news to be reported, but there has been wall-to-wall coverage, news programmes playing the many Monkees hits and even an hour long phone-in on Radio Five this morning.

Losing someone who brings back childhood memories always leaves you bereft (I still haven’t got over the death of Mr Pastry) but it is somehow more acute in Davy’s case because he was a contemporary, or pretty close to it. Read more ›››

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