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.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Ennio Morricone - d. July 6th 2020

Listen! Those soaring buttes
of string, mariachi trumpet, 
the sound of a desert on fire,
of gunshot, gulch and canyon, 
the kind of music that people
make movies to accompany.

Earl Cameron - d. July 3rd 2020

Many read for your part,
a realist plot simmering
with a deeper history,
but someone had to be
the first to be cast,
the first in the credits.


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Carl Reiner - d. June 29th 2020

They called you
about a new show of shows,
that you would enter, laughing. 
They asked you 
when will the scripts be ready?
I heard you say
In about two thousand years.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Margarita Pracatan - d. June 23rd 2020

No sombre ceremony
could fete you: that would be wrong,
wrong as the memory
of melody you learned for too long,
rendered unsingable. We
mourn your approximation of song.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Ian Holm - d. June 19th 2020

I admired your purity,  
from outside the stadium,
to the middle of another Earth, 
to the coldness of space
- a survivor, always believable
in your unbelievable art.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Vera Lynn - d. June 18th 2020

A table is reserved
at the Ritz of any age.
A menu of optimism
falls open at a page
adorned with bluebirds.
Angels sit expectantly
as you rise to the stage.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Keith Tippett - d. June 14th 2020

There are no blueprints
for spontaneity: breathe
in a note, chord, cadence,
breathe out brilliance
through fingertips that,
even now, don't know
what's coming next.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Ricky Valance - d. June 12th 2020

Tell Ricky, who loved him,
that in the chapel steeped in song,
we are singing his hymn
to doomed adolescence, the wrong
words but the right tune, grim
as the fate we expected all along.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Rupert Hine - d. June 4th 2020



Read about Rupert Hine here

Friday, 5 June 2020

Steve Priest - d. June 4th 2020

Are you ready, Steve,
to raise some hell, push 
the button marked blitz,
square off with the bass, 
find the action, grab a piece?
All right, fella, let’s go...

Monday, 1 June 2020

Michael Angelis - d. May 30th 2020

There's a promised land,
thick with accents, jokes,
where there are jobs 
for all the boys, signals 
are all set at clear
and there are rabbits, 
rabbits, everywhere.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Larry Kramer - d. May 27th 2020

Amid those years of chaos,
waist-deep in prejudice,
you cut through the BS,
wrote uncomfortable justice,
of the first lesions, the KS,
the plague before the abyss, 
scripted a warning, a witness.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Fred Willard - d. May 15th 2020

Eh, wha’appen? 
I blinked and missed you,
then rewatched,
as all of us must surely do,
and you snuck in,
smiling, not knowing a damn
thing. I went for you
like you were made outta ham.

Read about Fred Willard Here

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Astrid Kirchherr - d. May 12th 2020

Your wraith, in half-shadow,
is the spectre in the cellar
or the dark boutiques of 
Mathew Street, St Pauli.
A stylish ghost, friend to
genius, tutor in the art
of the unschoolable cool.

Read about Astrid Kirchherr Here

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Little Richard - d. May 9th 2020

Hail! Hail! We genuflect
before the king who wrote the book.
Originator. Architect.
You sang a prayer, then ripped it up.

read about Little Richard here

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Florian Schneider - d. May 6th 2020

Sounds. Rhythms. Frontiers. Legend.
Sounds. Rhythms. Frontiers. Legend.
Sounds. Rhythms. Frontiers. Legend.
Sounds. Rhythms. Frontiers. Legend.

Read about Florian Schneider here

Millie Small - d. May 5th 2020

My, girl, 
how you lit the fuse 
to that cane-sweet beat, 
blue as Kingston sky, 
mashing up systems 
from here to Brixton,
making the world 
go giddy-up.

Read about Millie Small here

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Dave Greenfield - d. May 3rd 2020

No more your riffsinblack,
textures like suninblack.
Play then the dirgeinblack:
Long gone is youthinblack.

Read about Dave Greenfield here

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Jill Gascoine - d. April 29th 2020

We need someone to be
the first to the old scene,
cast an eye on a dark place,
witness and be witnessed,
gather fresh new evidence,
present a gentler case.

Read about Jill Gascoine here

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Gabi Delgado - d. March 22nd 2020

All is not good today.
Sweat drips as you channel 
Ramone and Moroder, 
sex and steroids, leather
and propaganda, body
and rhetoric colliding forever.

Heute ist nicht alles gut.
Schweiß tropft, während Sie kanalisieren
Ramone und Moroder,
Sex und Steroide, Leder
und Propaganda, Körper
und Rhetorik kollidiert für immer.

read about Gabi Delgado here