Many years ago, in the1970s, I bought an album by Pete Atkin. I think I'd heard it on John Peel's BBC radio show, a programme which, since the 1960s, had regularly introduced me to lots of interesting and obscure music.
The album was titled, (if I remember correctly,) 'A King At Nightfall,' and what struck me the most about it was the lyrics, which were witty, wise and poetic.
At first I didn't realise that the lyrics were not written by singer/guitarist Pete Atkin, whose name was emblazoned on the album's cover. But I soon discovered that these wonderful lyrics were written by a man called Clive James.
Clive went on to become a celebrity in his own right...a poet, television broadcaster and critic whose wit and wisdom illuminated many a tv show. Clive seemed like one of the good guys, a really good guy who appeared honest, stoic and compassionate about events unfolding around him.
Clive James's way with words encompassed both humour and profoundity, a man who clearly felt deeply about the human condition, its contradictions, pathos, absurdity, comedy, joy and sadness. This was particularly in evidence in his latter poems, written when he was diagnosed as terminally ill.
Today, his death was officially announced.
I feel very sad about his passing. This troubled, divided country needs more of his kind to pour a healing salve on our increasingly bitter divisions, but I fear there is no one to replace him or those like him. Rest in Peace Clive...