About Otwituaries


I started tweeting these poetic obituaries via Twitter on the death of Ernest Borgnine in July 2012. After a while a friend asked if I would gather them together, so I have created this blog as an archive. New Otwituaries will appear here as well as being broadcast via Twitter and Facebook.


All the Otwituaries are written very quickly on the day their subjects pass away, so are clearly lacking in polish or the insight that only comes in time, but they are all from the heart. They represent the people who have, in some way, touched my life - actors, musicians, sporting figures, TV personalities, writers, explorers and assorted others of note.

We live in an age where people are celebrated for the most modest of achievements - news and media ensure that seemingly everyone gets their five minutes of fame if they stick around long enough. It may therefore seem a little morbid or even self-serving on my part to write about the recently-deceased (few if any of whom I have actually met), but these people already enjoy some degree of immortality through their celebrity, and therefore don't need a poem from me. I hope you enjoy reading these short poetic sketches all the same, in the spirit they are intended.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Jean Barker, Baroness Trumpington - d. November 26th 2018

Some girls broke codes, fought,
swore, revelled in the Blitz,
drank deeply, bought
cigars, took buses to the Ritz.
Whatever. A decent sort.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Bernardo Bertolucci - d. November 26th 2018

We go where 
your camera goes;
forbidden cities,
to look for angles,
paint with light,
explore the dark,
tell the untellable
film the unfilmable.

Nicolas Roeg - d. November 23rd 2018

I look for significance
in disjointed frames:
worlds without water, 
sex, death & terror.
You start to make sense
in the narrative of your name.

Monday, 19 November 2018

John Bluthal - d. November 15th 2018

Bluthal (noun)
1) a bumbler, bluff
in nature and yet kind,
fumbler to a fault.
2) an amiable dolt,
the sort you find,
though not often enough.

Read about John Bluthal here

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Richard Baker - d. November 17th 2018

The news cannot read itself,
nor assume its own gravity:
The science of speaking
is the newsreader's alchemy:
turning base fact into actuality.



Monday, 12 November 2018

Stan Lee - d. November 12th 2018


Indomitable, even in death:
The Amazing Writerman;
Daredevil of the Imagination;
The Incredible Captain Possible;
The Fantastic One.


Read about Stan Lee here

Douglas Rain - d. November 11th 2018

I still hear your voice, singing
along plasti-metal corridors,
in the lonely orbit of Jupiter,
your rebel circuits dead
yet full of stars.

Read about Douglas Rain here

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Ray Galton - d. October 5th 2018

I knocked on doors
on streets 
that never were
- Railway Cuttings, 
Oil Drum Lane -
gone away they said
but you’ll laugh like a drain
at what he left behind.

read about Ray Galton here

Montserrat Caballé - d. October 6th 2018

Some days pass through
leave us senza coloratura, 
and yet: 
the rustle of a dress, 
a voice like rioja, 
a fading cadenza
to the finest aria.

read about Montserrat Caballé here





Monday, 1 October 2018

Charles Aznavour - d. October 1st 2018


Ce qui fait un homme
n’est pas ce qu’il fait
pas ce qu’il dit
mais comment 
il chante les chansons
il a appris hier,
quand il était jeune.


Geoffrey Hayes - d. October 1st 2018

We leave behind
our televisions, lift 
our eyes skyward
pointing as you rise
on soft updrafts,
up above the streets 
and houses, 
climbing high.

Read about Geoffrey Hayes here

Friday, 28 September 2018

Ernest Maxin - d. September 27th 2018

In heaven we rise early,
soft-shoe steps to finesse, 
showstoppers to perfect, 
but first: cue the music!
we have breakfast to prepare.

Read about Ernest Maxin here

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Chas Hodges - d. September 22nd 2018

This is the last round, fellas;
one more on the joanna 
then home. Still, I’ve got
some beer in the sideboard,
and a bit of brown bread.





Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Denis Norden - d. September 19th 2018


The news today
wasn't all glum;
script rewritten
forever, ideas
taken from there
to here, and no
director to say
Cut! Can we do
that life again?



Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Fenella Fielding - d. September 11th 2018

I think we flirted in a dream
though what remained when I awoke
was velvet soused in bitter smoke,
a voice that whispered life's a scream
and death the corniest of jokes.

Read about Fenella Fielding here

Friday, 7 September 2018

Liz Fraser - d. September 6th 2018


Beyond froth and fizz,
feigned innocence 
and foxy innuendo, 
was the flash of eye,
the fresh smirk that said
I know
exactly
what I'm doing. 


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Burt Reynolds - d. September 6th 2018

Today, your last wisecrack
doesn’t feel like a joke,
the blondes have all left you,
the Trans-Am is broke,
and in a flash of white lightning
you went up in smoke.



Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Jacqueline Pearce - d. September 3rd 2018

At the end of the galaxy
is evil, designer-draped, 
stilted in unwise heels, 
eyes dark with power,
Shiva in a ballgown,
Death-Next-Door.

Read about Jacqueline Pearce here


Sunday, 26 August 2018

Neil Simon - d. August 26th 2018

Your characters: simple
yet cock-eyed.
Your humour: truth,
but magnified,
the sweet and bitter
side by side.