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.

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
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
and 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.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Lindsay Kemp - d. August 24th 2018

Beyond dance,
beyond mime
beyond prose
is the essence
of performance;
how you moved, 
how you moved us.

Read about Lindsay Kemp here

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Aretha Franklin - d. August 16th 2018

This is the gospel:
that a choir will gather
to wring the last drops
of song from their souls,
to give you your propers
when you get home.

Read about Aretha Franklin here

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Bernard Hepton - d. July 27th 2018

The secret is out;
The Stalag is deserted,
the cafe is shuttered,
the last act 
has left the Circus.

Read about Bernard Hepton here

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Barry Chuckle - d. August 5th 2018

To you, pratfalls are sense unspooled.
To me, slapstick is the purest art.
To you, fol-de-rol is for child or fool.
To me, I am the idiot at its heart.

Read about Barry Chuckle here

Monday, 9 July 2018

Tab Hunter - d. July 8th 2018

To the girls 
you left behind 
you were everything;
swoon-bait, boy soldier,
young love whose smile
broke hearts
ninety-nine ways.

read about Tab Hunter here

Friday, 29 June 2018

Harlan Ellison - d. June 27th 2018

On the edge of forever
is a city of gold and glass,
though it is founded 
on pulped fictions 
and the girders 
of your imagination.

Read about Harlan Ellison here

Friday, 15 June 2018

Leslie Grantham - d. June 15th 2018

Sometimes the script
leaves the door ajar
for unlikely resurrections.
A weighted soul 
sinks into a canal,
and everything 
is murk and ripples.

Read more about Leslie Grantham