The Death of Celebrity

On Saturday evening, I found myself catching a glimpse of the television. On one screen in the bar was the football. On the other telly was the news. Sometimes the TV news can still tell us something. On Saturday it told me what I already felt in my bones.

It was 18th December 2000. I was driving back to the hotel from the office in Glasgow, looking forwards to Christmas, trying to get out of a project I had no interest in. The hotel was my kind of place: Rab’s in the Merchant City. They looked after you there, and I hope they still do. The radio was on in the car. It was Christmas, so the Fairytale of New York was not far from my mind. Glasgow itself is a kind of fairytale, especially at Christmas, and especially at Rab’s. But something happened that day, on the other side of the world, that has left a small mark in my mind that will never be erased.

Bank Holiday Sunday, 1994. Imola. The San Marino Grand Prix. 1986. Paul Ricard, France. I do not look these dates up. They are in the memory. Malaysia, Sepang. The year is probably 2011.

I don’t remember when Lennon died, but Susanna Hoffs told me it was 8th December 1980. She captured my mood perfectly for last Saturday night.

Death happens. That’s life.

Just occasionally, and not more than once a year, someone dies and they change the fabric of the universe. Just a little bit. I now know who that person was for 2020. My bones told me last December. The sadness will pass. But the memory will not.

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