Category Archives: Personal

Terry Wogan


I am one of the millions brought up with Terry Wogan’s morning programme, Wake Up to Wogan, on BBC Radio 2 while eating breakfast preparing for school. I didn’t particularly enjoy school as it was a place of conforming, which I’ve never done (or wished to do) very well.  Neither did Terry Wogan.  I realise now what I liked about him was that he was his own man – not a rebel – but someone comfortable in his own skin and who valued the company and friendship of others.  I went to school feeling a little stronger in myself after I listened to him.

Thinking of him now and his dearly missed presence, he taught us how to laugh at ourselves – to value what needed valuing – those who love us and whom we love. His taste in music reflects this too.  He introduced me to the likes of Eva Cassidy, Katie Melua, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Bonnie Raitt, as well as appreciating the established greats like Frank Sinatra and Irish band The Fureys.  All of these sing about the important things in life.

In the many tributes following his death he’s been described as everybody’s friend – in a world where warmth and the longevity of friendship and understanding is hard to find, he was a constant, even though he didn’t know you personally. He has also been described as kind to all – another quality which seems in short supply in the world today.

His sense of humour was unbeatable, combined with wisdom. The fact is he was a one-off, from his many conversations on chat-shows on the TV and interaction of pure silliness with the likes of actress Caroline Quentin on his Sunday morning show, Weekend Wogan, on radio 2 (when he stopped doing his daily one in the week). His banter on the Eurovision Song Contest, Proms in the Park, Children in Need and his brilliant narration of the hilarious cartoon Stoppit and Tidyup will all be remembered.  He wasn’t just another presenter – he was able to be and ‘present’ himself and you got the feeling that the charm and care he radiated to viewers and listeners, was the same that he radiated to everyone whoever they were.

He is missed.



Robin Williams R.I.P.


One hopes that the peace he couldn’t find in this world (which let’s face it offers no peace) has now been found following his death.  As President Obama and many others have said – he knew every human emotion and this allowed him to be exposed to his own suffering.  He gave all and was also wholly generous in how he listened to others.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” – John Keating (Robin Williams), Dead Poets Society (1989)

The last line has a haunting resonance with me personally – these deeper emotions that we ‘stay alive’ for are often the ones that, in the end, take us away in searching for them. Losing Robin Williams is like losing someone who understands those on the edge – the person who wears the mask to conceal the truth.  There are very few like him who don’t pass judgement, or who understand.



Tribute to Jenny Davies


It is hard to know how properly to word this tribute – but certainly nothing I say could embrace everything Jenny was.  Jenny, a friend from high school, took her own life this Summer.  She was talented, kind, a deep thinker, artistic and sensitive.  She was known to many in the various circles she mixed in, and most recently resided in Edinburgh.  I don’t know so much about her life up to when she died but know that she was troubled.  The song at her funeral, chosen by her parents, was ‘Vincent’, after the artist, by Don Maclean.  I’ve always been moved by the words, but now they take on a new meaning – it is not for our madness that we are mocked but for our sanity: the world does not appreciate the deep thinkers of this world – it doesn’t have time, or it is too scared about what the thinkers might have to say (the truth?).

What is also sad about Jenny’s death is that she probably felt alone when she died; and yet there are more close to her situation than is realized (I speak very personally here).  The lyrics, which I now associate with Jenny’s life and death, make me think more deeply about my own life.  Some people can live not thinking about what life means or what their place is in it – and some are very happy with their place in it.  One day I hope I will be; thinking deeply and reflecting is at times not rewarding – it brings pain and unkindness from other people.  Jenny had much more to offer than me; I wish she was still here.



Vincent – lyrics:

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of China blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant
For one as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
A silver thorn, a bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will