Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Late Ian Martin...

Below is the eulogy I gave at Ian's funeral on Tuesday. I was the last to speak after moving tributes from his good friend Jane and.a glowing tribute from his ex-work colleague Edward. I wasn't going to let him get off quite so lightly however...


The Late Ian Martin

Hello everyone

According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means I'd be better off in the coffin there with Ian than doing this eulogy.

I would like to share a few personal recollections I have of Ian. I hope don't offend too many people. But if I do... well, it's what Ian would have wanted. And don't worry Ian. I've edited.down to 5 minutes tops.


Ian always encouraged me to edit. Once when I came back from holiday and had taken over 2,000 photographs Ian paused for a moment and said, "just show me the best one."

Brave, cheerful, generous, a go-getter, a leader, motivated, organised, magnanimous, fresh, fragrant, and optimistic. These are all words I have never heard associated with Ian Martin. Ian was a lovely man but not without his (how can I put it?) idiosyncraticuses.

He was a funny man was Ian. Witty, social, sharp, bright, intellectual, and also friendly, welcoming to strangers in particular other people's new partners.

But he could also be a bit of a bitch. He loved to gossip and I've lost count of the times his face took on a very fixed expression, he'd look off sideways and mutter "You *do* know that 'so and so' is doing 'such and such' to 'you know who'!" It was always a delight talking to Ian. "If you haven't got anything nice to say... come and sit next to me!"

The last time I saw Ian naked he was in 2006. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were both in club for (cough) like-minded gentlemen near Southwark. Ian was stood at the bar with his usual lager-top hovering near one hand and ash-heavy fag in the other. His eyebrows shot up when he noticed me approaching. "Hello" he said through his smile. His eyes only momentarily darted down to check me out. Ever the gentleman. But I knew it would give him ammo for gossip. Ian did like to gossip. We chatted for a while. He made me laugh. Ian always made me laugh. Others glared at us. Standing there as naked as the day he was born he saw the funny side in everything. "Not much cop here today. Thought I might go and look over there" - nodding at a direction into the gloom - "Good bye!" He was like that, Ian. Could disappear very quickly when he wanted. Especially when there was a chance of knee-trembler.

Ian was a heavy smoker. He smoked like a chimney. In fact most chimney's would feel insulted to associated with Ian's nicotine habit. And he did nothing to stop me falling off the non-smoking wagon either. "A perfectly functional arrangement, no? You buy the beer - I give you a fag or two" Very Ian. Practical when it came to pleasures. To the point.

Ian could be a lazy article but one thing he would get out of bed for was being a 'plus one'. "If you ever have any spare tickets or someone's dropped out last minute you know where I am." And so Ian has joined us at numerous plays, musicals, concerts and other events all for free and all very last minute. When I started actually including him in bookings he loved it even more. "Oh! Thank you, I'd love to." The last message I got from him was about one such event - Torch Song Trilogy. He was thrilled to be included - messaging me with "Yes, yes, yes please. Love those intimate theatre soirees! Thank you so much." He was a very well-mannered man. Especially when he wasn't paying.

Ian loved fireworks. Perhaps being born on November 5th this was meant to be. I couple of years ago Ian wrote a short poem on his blog about men and fireworks which I think rather sums up his later dating years.

"Truly it is said: men are like fireworks.

Many of them look impressive in the box, but often prove disappointing, proving difficult to set alight.

Once in a while, you may find one that arcs high above the others, leaving only the warm glow of a dazzling display.

But most just make a lot of noise, fizzing away unpredictably, leaving you uncertain whether they've completely finished.

And a few just lie there, spluttering, on the floor.

But the ones you really need to look out for... are the ones that go off in your hand."

Those of you who were betting that I couldn't get through his without mentioning the word 'acerbic' have just lost their bet. Ian relished in being, and being thought of as, acerbic. Once we all had a perfectly pleasant evening in the Retro Bar in which Ian, David and I took part in a Pop Quiz. We lost. Just. Afterwards I think I told our assembled group what I believed to be a short, punchy and funny anecdote. The next day Ian wrote on his blog, "David wanted to veto two perfectly correct answers and didn't even blush when his errors were revealed. And after Jonce's story the bar resembled nothing so much as Sleeping Beauty's palace ten years after the fairy's curse. Acerbic? Moi?".

There is one last thing I need to say about Ian.

Ian was always late. A late riser. A late attender. We'd be on a street corner waiting for him, or sitting in our theatre seats with a vacant seat next to us just before curtain-up, or our waiter would be hovering at our restaurant table tapping him pencil on his pad impatient to take our order. The mobile phone would buzz, "Sorry, running late. Be there in 5."

Ian stayed up late, Ian worked late, and as I mentioned Ian turned up late. And as many of us had long predicted, and he would no doubt find very funny, he has had the last laugh again. After eight weeks since his passing - he's turned up late for his own funeral.


Just before we bid a final Farewell I'd just like to thank Jane, David, David and Andy for all their help in organising the funeral. Ian would have been touched.


Farewell

Now I'd now like to say a final Farewell to Ian on behalf of all of us here today, and those of us who would have liked to have been here.

Ian Martin was a lovely man. He loved life. He loved people. And he was much loved in return. We loved his good humour, loved his humility, his encyclopaedic knowledge, his talents as an editor, his self-awareness, as a writer, as a god-father, and as a friend. He will be greatly missed. Probably more than we can say here today.

Ian once said to me "When I die I hope I won't be forgotten too quickly." You won't Ian. You won't. Goodbye old friend.

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