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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
(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...