The Null Device
Keith Girdler, frontman of Sarah Records band Blueboy and subsequent bands Lovejoy and Beaumont, has apparently passed away recently. From an email circulating:
It is with immense sadness that I have to inform you that my dearest friend Keith Girdler died on May 15th 2007. Keith passed away peacefully after a recent deterioration in his condition - he was diagnosed with cancer in July 2004. Keith was a truly special person and I know that many people will hold very fond memories of their time spent in his company. Keith is survived by his partner, his siblings and their families. We are all devastated at the tragic loss of Keith and we will miss him enormously.
Keith was known to many as the singer in Blueboy - a brilliant band who are still seen as influential many years since they last released a record. He was a gifted songwriter and he had a beautiful voice. I considered Keith to be not only my best friend but an amazingly talented person. It was a huge privilege to know him. Despite continuing to release records with his other groups Arabesque, Beaumont, Lovejoy and The Snowdrops, Keith's focus shifted away from music in recent years. He enjoyed a successful career, first by training as a qualified social worker and then developing a skilled role as Volunteer Services Manager for Age Concern Eastbourne. He was passionate about his work and the need to stand up for some of the most vulnerable elderly people in our society. Keith was exteremly brave and he continued in his work for as long as possible during his illness. I know that Keith was very highly regarded by his colleagues and the people for whom he provided care and support in his work. He was a selfless and gentle person who genuinely affected everyone he knew with his warmth, kindness, humility and humour.
Keith wanted to be remembered, to use his own words, with 'happiness and smiles' - which for those of us fortunate enough to have known him, will come all too easily despite our grief.
Words cannot really come close to describing the feelings we have about Keith. However, I know that many people will want to express their sorrow at this news and their sympathy to his family and friends. If you would like to send a message of condolence, or share your memories of Keith, please send an email to snowboundipc (at) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk.
Messages and tributes to Keith will be published online in the near future, when a suitable web location has been established.
Richard Preece May 22 2007
The most recent Lonely Planet travel guide to Britain has a rather scathing assessment of British culture today:
The Lonely Planet guide noted that more people vote in television talent shows than in elections, saying this was "a symptom of Britain's ever-growing obsession with fame and celebrity".
Britons are fascinated with famous people "even though their 'celebrity' status is based on little more than the ability to sing a jolly tune, look good in tight trousers or kick a ball in the right direction," it noted.
On the food front, the guide asserted that Britons eat more junk food and ready meals than all other European countries put togetherAlso singled out were alcohol and antisocial behaviour.
Of course, a lot of Brits would agree wholeheartedly; they've been going on about how rubbish things are in Britain (or at least England) for hundreds of years now, and turned it into a national pastime; the horribleness of life in Britain and of its inhabitants (the viewers and their friends excluded, of course) has become a staple of TV shows from Little Britain to Monkey Dust, not to mention the subject of numerous songs. Still, it's one thing to knowingly say "yes, our country's a bit rubbish" and another to see a bunch of foreigners slagging it off in a travel guide.
On the upside, the Lonely Planet praised Britain's multicultural society, with particular reference to curries. Being Australian, of course, they couldn't be expected to praise their warm, foamy beer.
Somebody has been going around the London Underground with specially printed transparency stickers, adding a station named "Brown Punk" to the Hammersmith & City line:
And then there's the graffiti all over town, reading "Alphabet of Brooke Shields" or its variations.