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 maybe a little lacking in polish, but they are all from the heart. They represent the people who have, in some way, touched my life - actors, sportsmen and women, TV personalities, writers, musicians and explorers. These people are already immortal, and therefore don't need my help, but I hope you enjoy reading these short poetic sketches all the same.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Lemmy - d. December 28th 2015

Some dance with the devil;
you preferred to drink him 
under the table, scuffle,
screw his handmaidens,
cheat him then beat him 
with your dead man's hand.



Saturday, 19 December 2015

Jimmy Hill - d. December 19th 2015

See the game
the uncommon vision.
Read the game;
the indirect route 
to the unlikely goal.
Play the game,
and then rewrite it.


Monday, 7 December 2015

Robert Loggia - d. December 4th 2015

In the celestial firm
I see you standing behind
the Archangel, alert, one hand 
on the inevitable gun, concealed
in the folds of your raiment.

Read about Robert Loggia here


Saturday, 5 December 2015

William McIlvanney - d. December 5th 2015

Respect the word; it is just
as potent in the dark mouths 
of miners, barmaids, labourers
as those who ghost the plots of the future.





Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Anthony Valentine - d. December 2nd 2015

Do you see him?
Watchful in the shadows,
below the searchlight,
uniformed and ghostly white,
or picking heaven's lock
then melting into the dark.

Read about Anthony Valentine here

Monday, 16 November 2015

Saeed Jaffrey - d. November 15th 2015


You dignified a continent
we only knew through archetypes
lit your scenes a different way, 
spoke in your own accent,
found a better passage.



Read about Saeed Jaffrey here

Cynthia Payne - d. November 15th 2015

In my Father's disorderly house
are many rooms; behind each door 
I hear the rustle of satin, the swish
of the crop, the cork leaving the bottle.

Read about Cynthia Payne here

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Warren Mitchell - d. November 14th 2015

See, the trouble wiv actors
is they ain't real people.
They're all Jews or queers,
never done a day's work,
never changed nuffin'.

read about Warren Mitchell here


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor - d. November 11th 2015

Ahead of the beat,
behind the beat,
missing the beat,
subbed, overdubbed,
drunk, sunk, out of time.


Andy White - d. November 9th 2015

Forget what madness followed;
when it really, really mattered,
you played to tempo, kept it tight,
packed the sticks, took the bus home.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Allen Toussaint - d. November 10th 2015

The fortune teller said
a man will come,
a hurricane of song.
He'll take a melody, 
sweat out a rhythm,
make the levees sing.

Read about Allen Toussaint here








Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Colin Welland - d. November 2nd 2015

I remember those blue hills,
the emptying playing fields,
the hum of a squad car
in a new town.
I hear a voice on the wind;

the actor is coming.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Philip French - d. October 27th 2015

Such acuteness of vision
- you saw more
in the dappled dark
of a private screening
than I could ever see
in daylight’s
broad cinemascope.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Maureen O'Hara - d. October 25th 2015

So many perfect frames
- your skyblown veil,
you in that field, eyes 
brimful of the Duke. 
You were always 
the greater part of a miracle

Read about Maureen O'Hara here

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Peter Baldwin - d. October 23rd 2015

Whether we play ourselves
or against type, some of us 
must take your role; little 
Englander, little islander, little 
beyond a diverting shadow.

Read about Peter Baldwin

Friday, 9 October 2015

Gordon Honeycombe - d. October 9th 2015

...the picture shifts
from 405 lines
to 625; from black 
and white to black,
the newscaster

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Denis Healey - d. October 3rd 2015


You were Labour
as in 'workers',
Socialist
as in 'principled',
old school
with no need of a tie.

Read about Denis Healey here




Sunday, 20 September 2015

Jackie Collins - d. September 19th 2015

Bring me shoes, a Benz,
a boob job. Dial me 
a mogul, a bastard, 
a stud. I'll write you
a bitch, shallow/deep as
a Bel Air swimming pool.





Saturday, 19 September 2015

Brian Sewell - d. September 19th 2015

Death, unutterably...vulgar,
was just the prolegomenon
to an ethereal afterlife, 
exquisite,  
ineffably...recherché.

Read about Brian Sewell here

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Judy Carne - d. September 3rd 2015

I saw a girl.
Where did you see the girl?
In beautiful downtown Burbank.
What kind of girl?
An It Girl,
a sock-it-to-me girl. 
Which girl? 
That girl.

Read about Judy Carne here


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Joy Beverley - d. August 31st 2015

O glamorous sister,
your post-war lustre,
from cat's whisker
to humming transistor,
now fades to a whisper.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Wes Craven - d. August 30th 2015

It was hard to tell 
where your movie ended
and deadly reality began,
but an invitation to Hell
has surely been extended
by your biggest fan.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Stephen Lewis - d. August 12th 2015

In the decade
of our unmanning,
that difficult age,
the role you essayed
was a study in hamming
and impotent rage.





Sunday, 9 August 2015

Thursday, 6 August 2015

George Cole - d. August 6th 2015

Tell you what,
I'll give you six to one

on people forgetting
who I was. 
Immortality?
Even money. 
It's the best I can do.

Read about George Cole here

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Cilla Black - d. August 2nd 2015

In a city of voices,
you found yours
in the pocket 
of a fancy coat,
in the songs
others lent you
which none now
would dare to pretend 
were theirs.

Read about Cilla Black here



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Peter O'Sullevan - d. July 29th 2015

Even in the largest field
we always knew your colours;
the little man in glasses and trilby,
a stayer when all others faltered.

Read about Peter O'Sullevan here 

Jon the Postman - d. July 27th 2015

You were beyond all notions
of scene, philosophy or style.
You just took to an empty stage,
grabbed the vacant mic, 
did what came unnaturally.

Read about Jon the Postman here

Friday, 10 July 2015

Omar Sharif - d. July 10th 2015

The deal,
the playing of your hand;
eternally finessed.
Your scenes

were golden as the sands;
now, time to rest.

Read about Omar Sharif here

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Val Doonican - d. July 2nd 2015

What is that noise?
It is the creak
of an old chair,
rocking easy
since I was about knee-high,
now forty shades of empty.

Read about Val Doonican here

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Sir Nicholas Winton - d. July 1st 2015

A departure is announced;
of all passengers,
your journey
to that final station
is a guaranteed connection

Read about Nicholas Winton

Monday, 29 June 2015

Chris Squire - d. June 27th 2015

Yes, you were a visionary;
those fervent souls who listen
through every album,
every track, every solo,
already know
the meaning of eternity.

Read about Chris Squire here