- 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...!