Tag Archives | obituary

Jimmy Ellis RIP

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  Is  it nearly a year  since I joined  James Ellis and a bunch of oldies for a London revival of Sam Thompson’s seminal Belfast play Over the Bridge? That night he was in fine form as he congratulated the cast for their performance and reminisced about his own experience as director  in resisting  attempts more…

John Cole, a personal view

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I was in Tesco this morning when I saw my friend the Guardian veteran Mike White talking on a  Sky screen with the sound turned down low. I read the captions. John Cole had died. I’d heard John was failing. I’d last met him a couple of years ago at a Lords reception for John Laird’s extraordinary more…

The dogmatically honest Northern Irish journalist John Cole dies

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Sad news that the BBC’s former chief reporter John Cole has died after a long illness. A fine decent and fiercely honest man, he once issued an internal paper as a counterblast to his pugnacious editor in chief at the Observer Conor Cruise O’Brien called ‘In praise of honest dealing’. Not long after he had more…

Malcolm Brodie the magnificent

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To a younger generation the spate of tributes to Malcolm Brodie, for a lifetime the sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, may be a bit of a  puzzle. “One of the greats,”  a legend “ and so on may not be descriptions that you would easily associate with someone who gloried in the minutiae of  Irish more…

Did Christopher Hitchens have a Big Idea?

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Lunching with an agreeable friend last Friday -and what better way to mark Hitchens’ death? – I was momentarily stumped by my companion’s confession. He didn’t believe Hitchens had left any particular idea that helped illuminate the world in a clearer way and he challenged me to prove otherwise. David Frum’s summary of Hitchens indirectly more…

Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011

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Writer Christopher Hitchens has died aged 62. He was as contrary as he was brilliant. Here is a brief In Memoriam from Vanity Fair (his outlet of choice since 1992) and, here, a longer tribute from his friend Christopher Buckley Stanley in The New Yorker. Better, perhaps, though to post one of Hitchens’ own writings in more…

So long Garret: A bloggish round up…

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Kicking off with Bock, who rarely has a kind word for any politician… He was naive, he was fussy.  He was occasionally pedantic to the point of idiocy.  He wasn’t always right, but he was sincere and his principles derived from careful thought, not from slogans.  In the 1980s, he articulated the almost unthinkable notion more…

“If Herivel had not been recruited in January 1940, who would have thought of the Herivel tip?”

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There’s a lovely piece of biographical detail in The Guardian‘s obituary of Belfast-born science historian, and former World War II codebreaker at Bletchley Park, John W. Herivel who died on 18 January 2011, aged 92.  From The Guardian obituary Born in Belfast, Herivel had a civil servant father and was educated at Methodist College, from where, in more…

Obituary: Professor Kevin Boyle

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Many in Northern Ireland and much further afield will be deeply saddened to hear news of the the death of Professor Kevin Boyle, who passed away yesterday. Prof. Boyle was one of the UK and Ireland’s leading human rights academics, as founding director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and later more…

Obituary for Willie Thompson

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William Thompson former MP for West Tyrone died on Sunday. Most of the great and the good of unionism turned out for his funeral. There are tributes to him here and here in the Newsletter. He was a man of firm unionist principles but more than that an utterly decent individual who also had an more…

More Alex Higgins

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Further to Eamonn’s tribute to Alex Higgins, David Gordon has posted this video on Facebook and I thought it deserved a wider airing here. On a weekend when so many people – bafflingly – are glued to the awful pointlessness of Formula One, this is a reminder of what a decent spectator sport looks like, more…

The other side of Alex Higgins.

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I am not claiming to have known Alex Higgins in any meaningful way. That said I had three or four conversations with him in the past decade born out of pure accident. He had returned to Belfast and lived in an apartment in Osborne Park at the back of Arizona cafe. He was a regular presence in more…

Horseman RIP…

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I was very sad to learn yesterday of the death last Monday of Horseman, the blogger behind the brilliantly named Ulster’s Doomed blog… He was tenacious, intelligent, probing and utterly committed to bringing about the end of Northern Ireland by peaceful and largely intellectual means. I never knew him personally, even though he was a very more…

A young protestant genius with no talent for guff

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Great piece on George Best by Eammon McCann in today’s Irish Times. He mentions two of his cohorts, Alec Higgins and Van Morrison who have also famously wore their celebrity uncomfortably. By Eammon McCann It was Van Morrison who put George Best into proper context, which was apt. “Too long in exile,” sang the Man more…