This is not the post I thought I’d be writing today. I had intended to review a face cream, to wax lyrical about the difference it has made to my skin and to post a picture of its shiny pot. At about midday, however, face cream became an irrelevance and the furthest thing from my mind. The world changed, and was made poorer for the news that was brought.
One of the nicest men I’ve ever had the honour to know died yesterday, at the tragically early age of 34. At times like these, platitudes are often rolled out, such as “only the good die young”, and “it’s always the nice ones”. In this case it really was true. I don’t think I ever heard Leon say a bad word against anybody and certainly never heard one said against him – he was one of those people whose gift it is to be liked by everybody. He was gentle and patient and kind; in our shared hobby he often made time for those newer to it than himself, to make sure that they were at ease and knew what was going on. He was funny; I’ve laughed with him many times and, even if people were laughing at him rather than with him, he’d join in and not be cross or defensive. He was an excellent roleplayer and fantastic schemer – being on the same side as him was a pleasure, but being his enemy was a lot of fun as well, especially when you knew that as soon as you were out of character, you’d be back to being friends who could share a drink and a cigarette. He was fun to go clubbing with, and stay up late talking utter rubbish to. He had lovely hair, and impressively, deceptively broad shoulders – the physical elements of a person should be remembered too. I remember dressing the boys to go clubbing and having to let him wear what he’d turned up in, because nothing we tried to put him in would fit.
He will be very much missed by so very many people whose lives he touched and will live on in their hearts and memories; he was a remarkable man. Leon, I’m raising a glass to you tonight. Sleep well, my friend.