Thursday, May 10, 2012



Nidge was a fool who talked nonsense nearly all the time
He was maddening, infuriating, sometimes boring but never dull
He was kind, he was generous, he was warm, he was genuine
He was hilariously funny
He was an enthusiast
He was a dreamer and a fantasiser – spinning lines no one could believe but himself
He was a self-deprecating egotist, he laughed at himself and encouraged others to do likewise
He was religious, he was a blasphemer, he was a Christian and a Pagan – a superstitious man who habitually took absurd needless risks
He was an idealist and a sinner who respected purity and who sought it in his own fashion
He was a drunkard, a drug addict and an abstainer
He was a bad poet who read and loved good poetry
He was a bad singer who listened well, an abominable musician who loved music with all his heart
He was a fine solo dancer, ostentatious and un-self-conscious, with graceful arms and hands – even when completely plastered
He was swayed by flattery and longed for praise and was deeply embarrassed by both
He wrote stories for children
He was imaginative
He loved animals and refused to eat them
He was an innocent
He was a natural leader who never sought to lead, whose friends included many followers
He was an instigator and a rebel, an anarchist with no interest in politics, an historian with a selective memory
He was a fighter and a pacifist on the front line, a rioter and a magnet for police and thieves
He was always scrupulously honest in criminal matters
He was supremely gregarious, an excellent host and a fine cook
He was spontaneous and impulsive
He was always broke and always lending money
He was a lover and a husband and a father
He was a carpenter and a provider, a scholar and a bum
He was completely unreliable and utterly dependable and trustworthy
He was tall and thin, ungainly, with a huge shock of flaming red hair
He was completely English and he considered himself a Celt
He was ashamed of his real name – Nigel – and forgave his friends for mocking it
He was ashamed of his respectable background and forgave his friends for mocking it
He was perfectly and absurdly dressed and sometimes he wore women’s makeup and forgot to shave
He used to wear a decrepit top hat with a flower in the band
He wore jewellery and many rings and bangles of primitive or Pagan design
He was always ‘hip’ but never ‘cool’
He had style
He greeted friends with a warm salutation and an embrace and he smelled of leather and tobacco
He ‘bounced’ – like Tigger from Winnie The Pooh
He laughed loud and often, not at but with others
He was educated and cultured and more often than not he spent his time with philistines
He was well spoken and only rarely tried to disguise his accent
He would sign himself as ‘he of the lean and hungry look’ and describe himself as the ‘cream faced loon’ or the ‘shag haired villain’
He would quote endlessly from Shakespeare and Vivian Stanshall – whom he worshipped, along with Iggy Pop
He was an artist with no palette, an orator with no soapbox who invited scorn and derision
He was wise and reckless
He inspired love and friendship and laughter
He was loyal and true and he betrayed no one more completely than himself
He was real and human and enormously alive
He was my friend, he was my brother and my comrade and I loved him
He is dead.

(September 1992)

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