In our stultifyingly low orbit as the deskbound dispossessed of the City we rarely come across kindred spirits, those who will happily chat about family, indie music and rubbish football (in this case, St. Albans City, of "tree on the pitch" fame) instead of buying into braying, yawnsome stuff about banking or apres-ski. But while in a previous job, I was introduced to a new colleague, Bill, whose wondrously eclectic taste, as well as utter personability, intrigued me enormously. Like me he was a child of Peel, metaphorically of course... our main shared joy was everything and anything to do with the fantastic Ron Johnson label, but Bill was also kind enough to donate writings on the likes of the Fall, Baby Dee and Nurse With Wound for the previous incarnation of this fanzine, back in the days when we had a proper website and everything. And recently I've been going through some old e-mails, where we bantered about Bogshed, bIG*fLAME and A Witness, in the excitable, almost flirtatious way you do when you've stumbled across someone whose idiosyncrasies frame your own. What's more, Bill never wallowed in self-pity about the office life he described as "working in the shadow of St Paul's Cathedral": he seized on our enforced commuterdom as an opportunity, his daily journeys from Purley to London Bridge and back never a drudge but instead the chance to catch up on and expand his listening still further. He was the first person I ever heard pick up on Antony and the Johnsons, in the same wide-eyed way that he raved about... well... Sun City Girls, Black Heart Procession, Hafler Trio, Les Rallizes Denudes, Wire, the Pop Group, Radar Brothers, Sonics, the odd hip-hop mash up, Brainticket, Wevie Stonder, Baby Dee, Amon Duul, Thomas Brinkmann, Electric Eels, others upon others who reminded me how pedestrian much of my own palate was. And I'm ashamed to say that even now I haven't investigated most of them.
Anyway, I can scarcely express the way I felt when I heard this morning that Bill had died, suddenly, from a heart attack, aged 34. He leaves a wife and two children. There is a particular, and uncharacteristically moving, Fall song that comes unstoppably to mind but I don't think I could bear to play it right now.
I know that he will be missed terribly.