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.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Dick Dale - d. March 16th 2019

like a corkscrew of surf,
like a crossfire of drums,
like a cracking of bones,
then reverb, reverb, reverb.

read about Dick Dale here

Friday, 8 March 2019

Jan-Michael Vincent - d. March 8th 2019

Where did you go?
The daydream of youth,
salt-caked, sun-bleached
lost in some Great Swell,
cut to tatters in the chop
of distant rotor blades.

read about Jan-Michael Vincent here

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Magenta Devine - d. March 6th 2019

Saints and martyrs
are leafing through features
in old issues of The Face:

  • How are youth wearing celestial raiment this season? 
  • Death: this year's must-have accessory

In the byline, a picture of you: 
edgy, resolutely on-trend.

Read about Magenta Devine here

Monday, 4 March 2019

Keith Flint - d. March 4th 2019

You were the trouble starter, 
snarling intimidator,
the beat addicted, 
punk blowback liquidator,
fire-eating terminator.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

André Previn - d. February 28th 2019

St Cecilia will be there,
Toscanini at her shoulder.
Grieg is waiting too, to 
grab you by the lapels,
slap your cheeks, saying
What kept you, sunshine?

read about André Previn here

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Mark Hollis - d. February 2019

In a future Eden,
lit by a music
made of space,
I will find you,
garland you with
grass, tell how
I’ve seen genius
for myself.

Read about Mark Hollis here

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Peter Tork - d. February 21st 2019

I write the bass line
to your bubblegum meditation.
It tells, for Pete’s sake,
how, in that generation,
you made the world shine.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Gordon Banks - d. February 12th 2019

The sun's a ball,
the pitch a universe.
Posts, left and right,
distant galaxies.
You dive, full stretch, 
over and over. Saved!
And even angels, weary 
of miracles, cannot believe
the action replay.

Read about Gordon Banks here

Friday, 8 February 2019

Albert Finney - d. February 8th 2019

It's unhappy hour
in our Salford boozer:
sit down, angry man,
detective, gangster, 
ghillie. We'll have one for 
the road. Make that two.

Read about Albert Finney here

Monday, 4 February 2019

Julie Adams - d. February 3rd 2019

No creature could lay
a claw upon you: instead,
it is time's lagoon
that claims you,
drags you to the place
from which none return.

Read about Julie Adams here

Friday, 1 February 2019

Jeremy Hardy - d. February 1st 2019

I am tuned to stations
of you: the droll motions
you set before the nation,
regardless of fad or fashion,
red in tooth, and emotion,
way off-key, but with a passion.

Read about Jeremy Hardy here

Friday, 25 January 2019

Hugh McIlvanney - d . January 24th 2019

Some write only
of the goal,
the punch,
the victory.
the soul of the crowd,
the spirit in the knockdown,
the unfolding universe
in the eternal game.

Read about Hugh McIlvanney here

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Windsor Davies - d. January 17th 2019

Jungle steams as gunners toil
at hollowing a grave. Left behind,
the corpse of empire, boiled
down to a Battery Sergeant Major’s bark.
Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

read about Windsor Davies here

Monday, 31 December 2018

Ray Sawyer - d. December 31st 2018

Johnny Depp rang
to compare patches.
Bez called up
to talk maracas,
but the operator said
40 cents more
for the next

Read more about Ray Sawyer here

Saturday, 29 December 2018

June Whitfield - d. December 28th 2018

I know a comic heaven,
set in the broad suburbs,
part fabulous, part glum,
your name always
somewhere near the top
of the celestial credits.

read about June Whitfield here

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Sister Wendy Beckett - d. December 26th 2018

On the silent canvas,
the indelible strokes
of a life painted
as a perfect tryptich:
Art. Love. Faith.

read about Sister Wendy here

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.