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.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Debbie Reynolds - d. December 28th 2016

Perhaps old Hollywood died 
with you; once unthinkable.
The movies that set you afloat
handbuilt a legend, unsinkable.





Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Vera Rubin - d. December 25th 2016


The universe has no walls‬
‪to break down, only lightless‬
‪corners to chart.‬ Yes,
‪death is a dark matter,‬
‪but science is all brightness.‬

read about Vera Rubin here

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Carrie Fisher - d. December 27th 2016

Today I got a postcard 
from the edge of the universe;
Drowning in moonlight,
in need of rescue,
fresh white robes,
a kiss from a scoundrel.




Monday, 26 December 2016

Liz Smith - d. December 26th 2016

D'you know 
who's dead?‬
‪Her from No.27.
‪I'm not surprised...‬
‪she liked her stout. ‬
‪They say‬
‪it was a jar 
of piccalilli‬
‪that had gone off.‬


Sunday, 25 December 2016

George Michael - d. December 25th 2016

Once, it was all 
bad boys, 
making rules
for fools. You got wise,
got the moves, 
but now
it's time to go-go, 
and it's us
who have to wake up.

Read about George Michael here

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Rick Parfitt - d. December 24th 2016

The spectres interrupt
the final soundcheck
with some sorry news
and everyone stops
to watch you connect
those twelve bars of blues.

read about Rick Parfitt here


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor - d. December 18th 2016

Relax, dahlink,
you were somehow more 
than what you left behind;
all those rich lawyers,  
relieved wives,
the deposit box
brimming with diamonds.

read about Zsa Zsa Gabor here

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ian McCaskill - d. December 10th 2016

Some are gifted power
not to forecast weather
but to change it
with a voice
like scattered showers
or a smile
ushering in
an unexpected warm front

Read about Ian McCaskill here



Thursday, 8 December 2016

John Glenn - d. December 8th 2016

Where are the heroes?
Nearly all gone.
The countdown has run
from seven to zero. 

Read about John Glenn here


Greg Lake - d. December 7th 2016

The curtain of style:
how quickly it descends,
only rising once in a while.
Get out while you can, my friend,
to the show that never ends.




Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Peter Vaughan - d. December 6th 2016

There's a shadow
over the land:
you, in the clouds,
armchair, fat cigar,
shark-eyed, unsmiling 
Come in Gabriel,
got a little favour to ask.

Read about Peter Vaughan here



Friday, 2 December 2016

Andrew Sachs - d. November 23rd 2016

Your gift to us; foresight 
of a kind of heaven - 
room upon room
of disgruntled diners,
eating from a table d'hôte
with laughter for every course.



Monday, 21 November 2016

Mose Allison - d. November 15th 2016

Ever since you stole the blues
we been looking for ‘em.
-  You seen this guy?
Yeah, year or two back,
spent some time,
wrote some songs,
moved on.





Monday, 14 November 2016

Leon Russell - d. November 13th 2016

Was that you jamming
with the asylum choir
down at the barrelhouse,
warming the piano stool
all night, voice like a match 
that wouldn't strike?





Friday, 11 November 2016

Robert Vaughn - d. November 11th 2016

Mark this the dark day
when the rule was broken,
the hired gun misfired
and Napoleon 
met his Waterloo.

Read about Robert Vaughn here

Leonard Cohen - d. November 7th 2016

In a million bedsits, 
crumpled hearts,
friable souls
will forever call
to the bard of the bruised
to touch 
their imperfect bodies 
with his mind 

Read about Leonard Cohen here

Monday, 7 November 2016

Jimmy Young - d. November 7th 2016

At the top of the hour
comes the handover,
JY saying BFN,
the dimming 
of the On Air light,
and orft you jolly well go.

Read about Jimmy Young here



Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Carlos Alberto - d. October 25th 2016

I see you, O Capitão,
bombing through
on the overlap,
on legs that never tire,
in a team that never loses,
under a sun that never dims.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Pete Burns - d. October 23rd 2016

All I know is that, to me, 
you looked like a decade
spun round, spun out,
alive, alive, alive, dead.

Read about Pete Burns here



Bobby Vee - d. October 24th 2016

I saw you 
with my thousand eyes
across the Clear Lake, crawling
from another man's wreckage.
Today you bounced 
one last time,
never came down.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Jimmy Perry - d. October 23rd 2016

We trust history 
to script itself,
but to capture
its platoons of tigers
its malarial troupers,
its faded entertainers,
we volunteered you.




Saturday, 15 October 2016

Jean Alexander - d. October 14th 2016

The look
Rosa Klebb in a turban
The stance
Boadicea on a diet of nettles
The sound
A pack of feral Scouse cats
The taste
Woman, Stanley, woman

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Rod Temperton - d. October 5th 2016

In the suburbs of sound
your endless groove
was always the best in town,
and if we needed to get up
you helped us get down.

Read about Rod Temperton here


Monday, 26 September 2016

Arnold Palmer - d. September 25th 2016

This poem is 
the flight of a good drive, 
the joy of a good lie,
the match dormie,
the silent gallery 
as the last putt 
drops into the cup.

Read about Arnold Palmer here


Friday, 9 September 2016

Prince Buster - d. September 8th 2016

The rudest of boys
is now ghost dancing
issuing his own
Ten Commandments, showing
the company of the skies
how to whine an' grine.

Read about Prince Buster here

Monday, 29 August 2016

Gene Wilder - d. August 29th 2016

You return to a place
in an imagined world
where no-one can shoot straight,
every night is opening night
and every chocolate bar
hides a golden ticket.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Brian Rix - d. August 20th 2016

A door closes
behind a departing seraph.
You burst in
through a different door,
bent halo, wings askew,
raiment round your ankles.




Saturday, 13 August 2016

Kenny Baker - d. August 13th 2016

In the cosmic hereafter
the voice, the face
will be your own.
Metal will become flesh,
the machine, a man.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Chiyonofuji - d. 31st July 2016

In the sumo ranks 
of the imagination
some rikishi stand 
even above yokozuna.
See, beyond 
the horizontal rope:
The Wolf in wolf's clothing.

Read about Chiyonofuji here


Monday, 25 July 2016

Marni Nixon - d. July 24th 2016

Others were feathered
by Costume
gilded by Makeup
fixed in time by the lens
but when they opened 
their mouths
it was you, it was you.

Read about Marni Nixon here


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Alan Vega - d. July 16th 2016


They say
prophets go unrecognised,
particularly in New York. 
The truth?
Frankie Teardrop died
and America is still
killing its youth.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Robin Hardy - d. July 2nd 2016

Where you are going
the crops do not fail,
the sun does not set.
We kept our appointment;
it is time to keep yours.

Read about Robin Hardy here


Caroline Aherne - d. July 2nd 2016

Dead my arse!
She looked alright to me
down the Feathers last week
Who's that ringing so late?
Someone at the gate
Get that will you, our Gabriel

Read about Caroline Aherne here




Thursday, 30 June 2016

Gordon Murray - d. June 30th 2016

Here is the man
the Trumpton man
now lost in time
hopelessly
regrettably
fading too quickly
moving too slowly
now lost in time in Trumpton

Read about Gordon Murray here

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Scotty Moore - d. June 28th 2016

Nothing was all right
without you;
shoes were not blue,
the jailhouse was cold,
we played no Creole.
There was rock, 
but no roll.

Read about Scotty Moore here

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Wayne Jackson - d. June 21st 2016

You blew in, blew, blew out,
swallowed a soulfull of air,
breathed it out as funk
and stacks of unlickable licks.

Read about Wayne Jackson here

Monday, 13 June 2016

Janet Waldo - d. June 12th 2016

Hailp! Hailp!
Looks like it's too late
this time for lil ol' me.
Come now, fiendish death;
reveal your hooded claw.

Read about Janet Waldo here



Saturday, 4 June 2016

Muhammad Ali - d. June 4th 2016



Oh, you pretty thing!
Show us one more time
the thunder in your hands,
the lightning in your feet,
the defiance on your lips,
the poetry of victory.

read about Muhammad Ali here







Friday, 3 June 2016

Dave Swarbrick - d. June 3rd 2016

Who knows 
where the time went?
No-one here can tell.
The fiddle goes back 
into its case;
farewell, farewell.

Read about Dave Swarbrick here

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Carla Lane - d. May 31st 2016

From Scouse house
to middle class misfires, 
your tools of liberation
were nervous laughs,
weak men, soft jokes 
like the beating of tiny wings.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Burt Kwouk - d. May 24th 2016

Old Chinese proverb say
(though it could be Japanese)
No man can wear 
a million faces
but a million faces
can sometimes wear one

Read about Burt Kwouk here


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Prince - d. April 21st 2016

Tonight all the skies
are purple, peach and black.
You were not so much taken
as taken back.





Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Victoria Wood - d. April 20th 2016

Those angels. Just look;
lacy shifts and feathers.
At their age they should 
know better. Theda Bara
meets Violet Carson.
Black? Very slimming.

Read about Victoria Wood here

Friday, 15 April 2016

Phil Sayer - d. April 14th 2016

Platform 1 
for the 
[delayed]
20.16 
Arcadia Rail 
service to 
Petersgate

Please 
mind the gap 
between this life
and any
which might follow.



Thursday, 14 April 2016

Gareth Thomas - d. April 13th 2016

I heard rumours of death,
turned my ship 
to your last
confirmed sighting
standard by 12!
It's been 30 years
but stars don’t forget
men like you.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Arnold Wesker - April 12th 2016

We're done with dumb,
accepting defeat,
with walking down
a no-way street, 
chips with every damn 
thing. We will come
out of the kitchen and eat.



Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Merle Haggard - d. April 6th 2016

Your train is coming,
every boxcar stuffed
with lonesome fugitives
copying your style.
It slows, stops. 
One car is empty,
just for you. Climb on.

Read about Merle Haggard here

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Erik Bauersfeld - d. April 4th 2016

All that may persist
of some of us
will be a single line,
incidental to the plot
yet destined
to hang in the silence
of the emptying theatre.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Zaha Hadid - d. 31st March 2016

Plans for Heaven's redesign
are in; 
interplay of glass and void,
curving at the command of steel,
remaking a skyline
in a place without sky.