Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Neil Innes - d. December 29th 2019

It’s a dog day down
on Doubleback Alley.
Death cab draws up
to take the sweetest idiot
to a place where it is
forever Rutland.

read about Neil Innes here

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Kenny Lynch - d. December 18th 2019

Tell us your story again:
how it was harder back then
to work your act with truth,
fight to be up there on the roof,
win hearts with just that smile,
some jokes, some songs, all style.

read about Kenny Lynch here

Nicky Henson - d. December 15th 2019

I like your charms.
What do they signify?
The left one’s a camera,
the right one’s a script.
And the one in the middle?
A dog turd. Don’t ask.

read about Nicky Henson here

Peter Snell - d. December 12th 2019

From the bottom of the world,
a colossus of breath, the cold 
wind of your name, your heels
distant as you storm the miles.

read about Peter Snell here

Thursday, 12 December 2019

David Bellamy - d. December 11th 2019

You'll recognise
this species
by its foliage, 
hanging off trees,
jostling with plants,
shifting the soil:
a rare variety, found
in few locations.

Read about David Bellamy here

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Bob Willis - d. December 4th 2019

When looking back
they will not tell
of futile spells
on lifeless tracks
but eyes like steel,
the arm a blur,
the win secured,
the miracle, real.

Read about Bob Willis here

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Jonathan Miller - d. November 27th 2019

In opera, a man sings
when he dies, songs
of the lonely body, long 
Godless nights, songs sung
for those that do not flinch
at complicated things, songs
that live beyond the fringe. 

read about Jonathan Miller here

Clive James - d. November 24th 2019

I learned the value of everything
from you, most human of beings,
how to observe the crystal bucket,
not just watching, but seeing.

read about Clive James here

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Andrea Newman - d. November 9th 2019

Oh, the lessons I learned:
from you: the joy of lust,
the tragedy of guilt, the 
rightness in the wrong.
625 lines, all dripping
with forbidden fruit.

Read about Andrea Newman here

Raymond Poulidor - d. November 13th 2019

The air is thinning, crowds
parting. At last, your wheel
leads all, a breakaway none 
could ever catch, in a jersey
only you could ever wear.

read about Raymond Poulidor here

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Alison Prince - d. 12th October 2019

Fragments of light
Ring those
Town Hall

Stories that spell
How we're 
Changed by

Read about Alison Prince here

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Alexei Leonov - d. October 11th 2019

Step again
from the tin can
into the stillness
of low earth orbit.
This time, though,
the hatch clangs
behind you, and
even these words
are weightless.

Read about Alexei Leonov here

Monday, 14 October 2019

Stephen Moore - d. October 4th 2019

I think you ought to know
I’m very depressed. I mean,
the dullness of stars is all so
predictable, each death scene
a tedious inevitability. Life?
Don’t talk to me about life.

Read about Stephen Moore here

Monday, 7 October 2019

Ginger Baker - d. October 6th 2019

They set fire to your kit today,
skins peeling, burning birch.
You confronted the ashes, 
flailing, primal, murder 
in your eyes. Condition: blue, 
waiting for the bringdown.

Read about Ginger Baker here

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Peter Sissons - d. October 1st 2019

The air vibrates
in sympathy to the day,
to the receding storm of news.
The viewer waits
for you to pause, and say
Newsnight is starting on BBC2

Read about Peter Sissons here

Jessye Norman - d. September 30th 2019

Now we shall sing
your four last songs:
The Grand Mansion;
Ariadne Released;
The Untamed Falcon;
Faster. Higher. Stronger. 

Read about Jessye Norman here

Monday, 16 September 2019

Ric Ocasek - d. September 15th 2019

Oh, rock'n'roll,
you never paid attention
to my dreams,
but sometimes 
you broke down
and a voice
jumped out of the mix
to say Let's Go.

Read more about Ric Ocasek here

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Terrance Dicks - d. August 29th 2019

Into the box, you wrote -
not pine and brass
but blue and windowed,
wheezing, groaning,
forever materialising 
in the eyes of children
grown, if not grown up.

Read about Terrance Dicks here

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Peter Fonda - d. August 16th 2019

Come, angels, shine 
down the chrome forks
of your wingéd chariots.
Today we take the baddest 
trip, ride the two-lane 
blacktop side-by-side
with Captain America.

Sheila Steafel - d. August 23rd 2019

From the age of gold
comes a crowd of one,
each a study in scatty, 
nimble as a gang of fleas, 
stealing the scenes
before you even knew
they were gone.

Read about Sheila Steafel here

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Toni Morrison - d. August 5th 2019

Your beloved stories,
the known and unknown,
must be written again.
Rest in power, glory
in what you made your own:
the humanity of the pen.

Read about Toni Morrison here

Sunday, 4 August 2019

D. A. Pennebaker - d. August 1st 2019

Legends demand posterity,
a living camera to frame
genius beyond celebrity.
Broadway, Monterey, Eternity, 
finally, a direction home.

Read about D. A. Pennebaker here

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Barrington Pheloung - d. August 1st 2019

-- ..- ... .. -.-. 
.. ...  
- .... .  
..- -. -... .-. . .- -.- .- -... .-.. .  
-.-. --- -.. .  
--- ..-.  
- .... .  
--. --- -.. ...

Read about Barrington Pheloung here

...and if your Morse is rusty try here

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Rutger Hauer - d. July 19th 2019

It’s not an easy thing,
to meet your maker, 
but tell them this:
it is not the memories
of rain that remain. 
It is the tears.

Read about Rutger Hauer here

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Chris Kraft - d. July 22nd 2019

Your life was mission: 
moonrise to moonfall, 
a minute hand ticking
from shift to shift, 
the engineer's pulse,
the moments to orbit.
Now the capsule passes
far downrange, beyond 
the business of the skies.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Johnny Clegg - d. July 16th 2019

Between the township
and the veldt, at the foot
of the rainbow, they keep 
a place for you, among 
the scatterlings, the 
universal men, back
with the umdeni again.

Read about Johnny Clegg here

Monday, 15 July 2019

Rip Torn - d. July 19th 2019

From Gethsemane 
to Cincinnati,
you lurked at 
high-stakes tables,
catching the fallen,
playing your part 
from A to Zed.

Read about Rip Torn here

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Freddie Jones - d. July 9th 2019

You wore 
so many clothes
- freakshow-ragged,
desert mentat, 
northern barfly - 
one scene ahead
in every drama
there ever was.

Read about Freddie Jones here

Friday, 5 July 2019

John McCririck - d. July 5th 2019

Today's Field:
Deerstalker - Levels you devils
Throwback - Bottle
Mutton Chops - Ear'Ole
The Eccentric - Burlington Bertie
Mister Misogyny - Double Carpet
worth a punt
but no more than a pony

Read about John McCririck here

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Daniel Lynch (‘The Great Stromboli’) - d. April 9th 2019

You perfected the peculiar,
worked with fire and steel
to earn your license to thrill.
The Strangest Show On Earth
plays to dazzled houses, still.

read about The Great Stromboli here

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Dr John - d. June 6th 2019

There’s something bitter
in the gumbo tonight:
splinters of ivory,
herbs and bad voodoo.
Mac is gone, trippin’ 
beyond the reach 
of any medicine.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Paul Darrow - d. June 3rd 2019

Out beyond Star One
there is a planet, haven
for hackers and swindlers,
the serially betrayed,
the terminally cynical.
I hope you finally made
it there, down and safe.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Jake Black - d. May 21st 2019

Heard you at the tollbooths,
an accent I couldn’t explain,
part Bakersfield, part Nashville,
part Coldharbour Lane.
Fell asleep this morning,
never woke up again.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Nan Winton - d. May 11th 2019

I could tell you how, 
no matter the voice
or the cut of dress, 
the news is still the news,
but under time's baleful glare,
such a story would be 
too frivolous to bear.

Read about Nan Winton here

Niki Lauda - d. May 20th 2019

From the heat-haze 
of the grid, through 
treacherous chicanes,
straights in flame,
you shelter in 
the eternal slipstream,
plan the next overtake,
drive through fire
to take the flag.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Doris Day - d. May 13th 2019

I found some things
under your pillow:
a smile (one careful owner),
a song of secret love,
and age without decay.

Read about Doris Day here

Freddie Starr - d. May 9th 2019

I see a goose-stepping Faust
exchanging his soul for laughs
in a bleak decade,
drunk on the power of anarchy,
grinning as he pulls the pin
on another grenade.

Read more about Freddie Starr here

Friday, 3 May 2019

Peter Mayhew - d. April 30th 2019

In less cosmic places
the man that you were
went unrecognised.
Despite our disguise,
under the fur
we all have real faces

Read about Peter Mayhew here

Monday, 1 April 2019

Tania Mallet - d. March 30th 2019

The mountains ring
with a single gunshot,
a sniper's requiem,
for a girl who could, 
with one feline look,
kill little boys
like me.

An Otwituary for Tania Mallet

Friday, 29 March 2019

Shane Rimmer - d. March 29th 2019

Up, into the capsule,
up, blasting through 
the swimming pool,
wings opening out.
Here it comes: death, 
the ultimate rescue.

Read about Shane Rimmer here

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

'Ranking' Roger Charlery - d. March 26th 2019

I heard your song, 
Rude Boy.
You moved my little feet,
and I had to come around.
Top ranking indeed,
full stop.

Read about Ranking Roger here

Monday, 25 March 2019

Scott Walker - d. March 25th 2019

The orchestra plays
a symphony of pain.
Then, your voice,
rich with regret, 
deep as a cello,
the sound
of an empty ship,
a setting sun.

Read about Scott Walker here

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