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24 February 2008 @ 09:25 am

- what's your favourite number...?

my friend steve whitaker aka stickismyfriend died shockingly, suddenly, unexpectedly on friday - & scrolling thru his wonderful drawings, paintings & pictures on LJ, this is the one that made me smile most: & tho undeniably "crude", it's deceptively skillful, the gontrast of the thick & thin lines & the muted colouring on his jumper - & it also shows his self depreciating sense of humour

i keep thinking of the magus by john fowles - when peter sellers was asked on his deathbed if he had any regrets, sellers allegedly replied: "i'd do it all over again exactly the same way - except i wouldn't read the magus!" - steve told me that 'un many yrs ago ( - the magus was one of his favourite books at the time )

i must admit i'm finding quite a bit of a comfort in all the wonderful tributes to steve that are popping up online - some real affection is being shown - quite rightly, matt brooker's blog seems to have become the central point for gomments abt steve - but i have to highlight two other very special bits of writing i think steve would've been especially touched by: one from andrew littlefield on LJ & the other by nick abadzis on his blog

i first met steve on an xmen fan club outing in 1981, i think - tho i didn't really get to know him until i started going to crackers ( the monthly london gomics fans pub meets ) & then to the comic showcase pals weekly outings to wendys in the strand on saturday evenings - steve was always the life & soul of these gatherings - but i really got to know him on long walks home over westminster or waterloo bridge afterwards - he'd effectively "walk me home" ( there was no funny business, i hasten to add ), sometimes popping in to my mum & dad's in lambeth walk for a coffee - & he'd respond to the mad inquisitions from my parents ( me being 17 or 18, & him being 26 or 27 ) with his usual good humour

steve was the star artist of the xmen fan club ( not that there was a tremendous amount of gometition for the title ) - & soon became a "mento" to me ( as he was throughout his life to a lot of people ) - i had his version of the cover of xmen no.50 ( he'd substituted dark phoenix for polaris in steranko's original ) that he'd hand coloured, on my bedroom wall for years ( - he did several of these to give to people with typical generosity )

i remember visiting him in his flat in tooting for the first time - & being astonished ( first at the mess - & then later ) when he gave me a stack of spare gomics ( including a copy of the rare swamp thing no.7 ) which he'd liberated from dark they were & golden eyed before it'd closed down - mostly i remember him being very generous with his time ( - something i didn't always reciprocate back to him in later years, much to my shame ) - teaching me ( & virtually everyone he met ) loads about comics, music, drawing & many other things i was & still am woefully ignorant abt - he was also a brilliant raconteur & teller of shaggy dog storys - & one of his favourite things was sitting up late with pals, drinking whiskey & chatting into the small hours, sharing his enthusiasms - tho he often didn't have much ready cash, he was always very generous when he did have it - & always happy to lend out his possessions: he even lent me his flat in twickenham once, for my 26th birthday party

the strangest thing is, i haven't had a drink since i heard the news of steve's death ( - this'll be amazing to those who know me primarily as a pisshead ) - it's almost as tho i don't want to "lose control" - but all the ringing round & gontacting ppl & sending emails is pretty much done now - so i can in all goob gonscience rectify the situation with a few drinks to steve this afternoon

sorry if this is just a load of long winded incoherent waffle - i've yet to regain my usual equilibrium ( - & to be honest, i don't expect to get it back for a while yet ) - but...

steve: now what am i supposed to do with the copies of roy thomas's adaptation of the iliad i was saving for you? ( - partly cos i thought it'd wind you up, i must admit ) - also i was flicking through "fantastic four - the lost adventure" ( a slightly dodgy remastering of an old "lost" stan lee & jack kirby story ) & i was wondering if you'd seen it yet & what you thought - even switching on my beloved telly, i can't get away from you: last night's bbc news was read by jane hill, your favourite newsreader - & earlier this morning on bbc news 24 they were interviewing somebody called martha winegums ( - i just know this would've made you laugh ) - & on the radio the other afternoon, i heard this french girl singer i thought you might like - she's called emily loizeau ( - perhaps you already know her...? ) - what i really want to say is: THANK YOU for all the times you were there for me ( - & i'm really sorry for all the times i wasn't there for you )

just one more thing, steve: how bluddy inconsiderate of you to die on bruce forsyth's 80th birthday...!

Current Music: je ne sais pas choisir by emily loizeau
Martin Bizarrototnesmartin on February 24th, 2008 09:56 am (UTC)
My sympathies mate. And raise a glass for your friend.
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
- ta - i had a v.sore head this morning so mission accomplished, i guess...!
(Deleted comment)
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Your twenty-sixth birthday Pt 1
- thanks very much for posting these pics, ross - v.happy memories ( - you did give me gopies years ago - w/yr distinctive gommentary on the back of each pic - they remain prized, if battered, possessions to this day ) - i was gonna say the focus/subject matter of most of the pics reveals yr eye for the ladies but i guess frank's arse mitigates this - i wish we could zoom in on the pictures on the walls

- i can't believe i was ever so thin ( - & what big glasses...! )
The Unusual Suspectross on February 25th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Your twenty-sixth birthday Pt 1
Yes, I wish I'd paid more attention to the walls, too.

I remembered that Steve was off the Jameson's and Guinness under docs orders and was sticking to clear spirits. He spent the party drinking vodka and lime, something I'd never encountered in my sheltered existence. It's now one of my favourite drinks and I've introduced it to many grateful souls since. Something else I owe Steve.
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Your twenty-sixth birthday Pt 1
- guess what i was drinking yesterday...
The Unusual Suspect: The Unusual Suspectross on February 24th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Pt. 2
Pippa Bateman, Irina Metzler, Tim Bateman
Pippa Bateman, Irina Metzler and t_guy dancing languorously. You know, it's odd, but every time I take a photo with Irina in it, I get a shot of her arse in those leather jeans.. Can't imagine why...

Tony Lee, Joseph Melchior, Tim Pilcher, Yasmin, Nigel Fletcher
Kitchen funnies: Tony Lee, Joseph Melchior, the hero-of-the-beach smile of Tim Pilcher and behind him Yasmin and then Nigel Fletcher.

Tony 'Stand By For Action!'
STAND BY FOR ACTION! Tony Lee adorned by Steve's World Videophone (from Stingray) from a far distant show he was once part of. Imagine Steve's head popping through a paper center in the middle of the artefact and yelling the line at the start.

Tony Lee, Irina Metzler
Tony and Irina

Martin Hand, Jenni Cole, Irina Metzler
worldofagwu's charming smile, Jenni's serious tongue action and Irina glittering marvellously in sparkly purple and shiny leather.

Edited at 2008-02-24 12:30 pm (UTC)
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Pt. 2
- frustratingly, in both sets of pics people keep standing in front of steve's painting ( - the red one: i always liked it ) ( - it's not their fault, obv - how were they supposed to know that we'd be examining the wallspace 17 years later...? )

( - also i didn't realise that nigel had ever looked... SO YOUNG! )
Dr Moonray: Steemolswisstone on February 24th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Memorial B-APA for Steve Whitaker
Apologies for spamming, but I'm trying to ensure this gets seen by anyone who might be interested.

Steve Whitaker was one of the stalwarts of the comics British Amateur Press Association. I'm pretty sure that he was always in the apa whenever I was, from about 1990 onwards.

B-APA was wound up in 2004. However, there was a special in 2005, a commemoration issue when Andy Roberts died, to which Steve enthusiastically contributed. We can hardly do less for Steve. So I will be editing a commemorative special of B-APA, to be available at CAPTION, a convention Steve always supported. Obviously, I'd like as many ex-B-APAns as possible to contribute. But I don't want to restrict contributions to ex-B-APAns; I'd like anyone of Steve's friends who wants to be part of this to feel welcome.

If you want to contribute, please contact me at keentony at hotmail dot com. I'm looking for contributions of 1-2 pages, by mid-July, preferably as camera-ready copy. Thanks to those who have already agreed to be involved.

Apologies if you end up seeing this in several places.
(Deleted comment)
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
- ta - there have been wonderful tributes to steve from all sorts of unexpected people ( - as well as warren ellis, neil gaiman posted something on his blog - until that moment, i'd gompletely forgotten looking at steve's colouring for sandman no.1 at his flat in twickenham )
(Anonymous) on February 25th, 2008 07:51 am (UTC)
Steve Whitaker
Hi Martin. Peter Duncan ex of B-APA here. Really sorry to hear about Steve. Only met him twice I think, the Northern Ireland contingent didn't get to visit London much.

I remember a long chat with him about Eisner at a London B-APA party, he seemed to know everything about the man. Sad times

worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Steve Whitaker
hello peter - thanks very much for posting - for a long time i had steve's annotated copy of eisner's the dreamer - loads of footnotes explaining who was who in the early history of gomics ( - i eventually relented & gave it back to steve ) - some of these got printed in roy thomas' alter ego mag years later

- have you heard abt tony keen's bapa tribute to steve...? ( - see tony's gomment above for details )
(Anonymous) on February 25th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
Thoughts with you, Martin, and all who knew Steve so much better than I. Reading so many comments from people remarking on how they hadn't seen Steve for years but clearly never forgot him. Take care - John Freeman
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Steve
- thanks john ( - i should really call you "freebo" in honour of steve ) - yr gomment abt frank's arse on wof did make me laugh, so thank you for that as well
lairdofdarknesslairdofdarkness on February 25th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
That was a beautiful post sir. You can tell the affection you had for Steve.
My thoughts are with you
worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 25th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
- thanks very much, buddy...!

( i'm sorry i missed the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday - hope you had a great day )

(Anonymous) on February 26th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Christ, didn't we all look young?! Happy days and happy memories (apart from Dave Howarth mysteriously tearing my shirt off for some reason).

So pole-axed by Steve's untimely departure... He better turn-up in a ghostly fashion at the funeral for a proper "cheery-bye" is all I can say.

Please keep me posted on the funeral/memorial for Steve. He was a mentor to us all (teaching me colouring at LCC) and a great, dear bumbling friend whose true genius will only now be sadly recognised by a wider public after his death. I will miss more than I can write.

Big love to everyone who knew Steve.



worldofagwuworldofagwu on February 27th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Memories
hi tim - ta for posting - it's all right for some - you still look exactly the same!!! - it's the rest of us i feel sorry for...

email address & mobly noted - of course you ( & cheeky joe ) are on my list for details of the funeral, any memorials/celebrations, boozeups etc
(Anonymous) on April 20th, 2008 09:24 am (UTC)
Sad to find Steve is dead
Andrew Moreton here, from BAPA days. Really sorry to hear Steve is dead. I have very fond memories of staying in his flat in Twickenham and going, pissed, round the National Gallery with him - "Do you like it? Yes! I hope so. It's your gallery." and Derek and Clive impersonations in front of the Michelangelo cartoon....

I saw the Nick Abazdis comic in the Guardian today - it said 'for Steve Whitaker' and I thought the worst. sad it was true.

I hope all you BAPA people are fine also...


worldofagwuworldofagwu on April 20th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
Re: Sad to find Steve is dead
hallo andrew - goob to hear from you ( even in such sad circumstances ) - hope you're doin' ok

in case you're interested in taking part, tony keen's organising a bapa tribute to steve ( see his gomment above for details )

we've also got a goupla online groups devoted to happy memories of dear ole steve:
(Anonymous) on May 9th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
Nice quote

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold.
-- D.W. Robertson.

(Anonymous) on January 17th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
provides access
I just cant stop reading this. Its so cool, so full of information that I just didnt know. Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it. Youre a great blogger. Please keep it up. I cant wait to read whats next.
(Anonymous) on January 22nd, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Thanks you for your work.
I love worldofagwu.livejournal.com! Here I always find a lot of helpful information for myself. Thanks you for your work.
Webmaster of http://loveepicentre.com and http://movieszone.eu
Best regards