Filed: Brief Lives

Sad Passing

I’ve had the BBC Newsticker installed on my laptop for a few weeks now and for the first time I was shocked by the news — John Peel is dead, collapsed with a heart attack while on holiday in Peru.

I suppose it’s because you start to question your own mortality when icons from your younger days start shuffle off, particularly when it’s from natural causes. Read more ›››

Bedtime for Bonzo

Much as I disliked his politics, you had to admire Ronald Reagan for his sincerity and pity him for spending the last ten years of his life coping with Alzheimer’s disease — in some ways his death will have come as a relief and a release.

He will be remembered for many things, but perhaps most of all for the impression that here was a simple man with simple beliefs that he followed with great conviction. Read more ›››

Era Ends

It’s called the passage of time. Missing things not because you value them, but because they have always been there. Friday saw the very last of Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America.

Which leads me to another of my occasional Greater Mancunian series. Cooke was born in Salford, the son of an iron-fitter Methodist lay preacher, although he grew up in Blackpool. He tossed aside his humble beginnings after winning a scholarship to Cambridge, kicking over the traces of his given name Alfred, Alistair being more in keeping with the aesthete image he aspired to. Read more ›››