It was you, Dad, who started all of this off. AFTER you died.
And John Humphrys too speaking on R4 about his death announcement in The Times (listen below):
Yes, I had my cartoon of you printed there, the very newspaper I worked for many years ago :
And here is my original picture of you drawn on Sunday/Monday (you died the day before):
My siblings asked me to do this – it wasn’t easy the day after you died but I’m really happy with my pen, ink and wash drawing. Seems to capture who you were – a newspaper man through and through. You’d been Arts Correspondent for the FT and Assistant City Editor for the (Manchester) Guardian working under the great Richard Fry. Over the years you finished over 20,000 Telegraph and Times cryptic crosswords in record time and I’ve included one of your never-ending supply of orange Bic biros.
Crosswords – a pound a clue you’d offer us – as children this was worth ten times as much and I’d really get those brains cells connecting for the extra pocket money and kudos. Couldn’t quite keep up though with someone who’d been awarded a Scholarship to read History at Trinity College, Cambridge aged 16. Achieving a double first shouldn’t have been in doubt as during your time you accumulated five further scholarships (one shared and none known to us until shortly before your death). Your modesty led you to say that it was only due to their lack of imagination that they kept giving you awards.
You bought Cartoon Originals in the Gloucester Road from Bernard Levin and Robin Ray in 1973, exhibiting some of the great cartoonists there including Marc Boxer, Mel Calman, Michael Heath, Bill Tidy, Giles, Martin Honeysett, Ed McLaughlan and Ffolkes. I must have been inspired – the only time I remember you being really proud of me was when I started my daily topical cartoon strip ‘On the Record’ for The Times.
You also had a career as a City stockbroker launching glamorous clients such as Mary Quant and Yves St Laurent. Private Eye called you ‘colourful’ – as a child I didn’t realise exactly what it meant except our mother would laugh away the collateral damage. Every week it seemed you’d come home from a think tank at No. 11, or a recording of the Money Programme on the Beeb. Along with a love of good wine and Fine Art, you helped our mother set up and run a modern art gallery in central London, Montpelier Studio – many well known and new artists were given a serious shot in arm with the many exhibitions you curated, including some by Patrick Heron, Bridget Riley and Terry Frost. Private Views were always awash with brilliant and other ‘colourfuls’ from the world of media, politics and the arts. The hangovers were legendary.
My drawing of you apparently impressed The Times so much, I was asked to do some more cartoons for famous birthdays in the same Hatch, Match and Dispatch column.
So this is how you introduced me from the great beyond to Michael Caine:
And the original:
A few days later it was Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday:
With the original:
We’re taking a newspaper break while I focus on my new online shop, the politicians and all the mummies.
(Not alot of people knew that)
So I’ll be raising a few glasses to you, Daddy. Haven’t you done well for an old hack. I wish so much you could have heard this on the radio.
Lastly a big sorry from the four of us for getting your birthday wrong. Unbelievable copy editing. There’ll be words about this, but not …
Until we meet again …
goodbye and goodluck Xx