It’s hard to recall a year like this, where so many stars of a particular generation passed away. Fate and misfortune robbed the world of a battery of celebrities who for many will always and only be associated with growing up. They were ubiquitous faces on the TV and voices on the radio during childhood and all the way through teenagehood. Folk that shaped, overtly and indirectly, your formative years. Bits of your own past, now gone forever.
Over there’s Mike Reid, leaning on shabby punchlines and propping up an equally grotty bar. Next to him is George Melly, his hat at a suitably rakish angle, spouting surrealist nonsense and hollering jazz. Holding forth with similar volume at a nearby table is Nigel Dempster, enthusiastically sharing a bit of gossip with Alan Coren. In an adjacent alcove sits Ned Sherrin, ruefully dispensing anecdotage of five decades’ vintage. Listening in is David Hatch, judiciously nodding in agreement and adding his own one-liners with aplomb. Magnus Magnusson interjects from time to time to correct the speakers’ grammar. Somewhere in the background, Ronnie Hazelhurst coaxes jewel-encrusted tunes from an upright piano.
Through the swing door and in the snug rests Ian Richardson, cooking up conspiracies and bringing down governments between sips of dry sherry. Gareth Hunt eavesdrops with awe. Lois Maxwell hangs on every word. Tony Wilson and Kevin Greening man the jukebox. Verity Lambert settles the bill. And by the window, in the fading light, Ingmar Bergman captures it all through a glass darkly.