The Measure of a Man.
There are many deffinitions of that telling phrase, mine is both objective and subjective. The outpouring of sadness on news of Graham’s passing from, not just the magic community but all who knew him in life is a clear objective measure of appreciation. Subjectively, my personal appreciation is even more elevated, I knew him so well for so long, in all his enthusiastic and varied incarnations, Graham the top ideas man, Graham the public speaker, Graham the artist, Graham the professional sales trainer, Graham the activist, especially in regard his umbrage relative to the pettifoggery of local Council offcialdom and select Traffic Wardens, letters would be sent, newspapers contacted, cages rattled, all to good effect, I once dubbed him, in jest, the Victor Meldrew of St.Albans, which he liked enormously. But there was always a valid and moral viewpoint underpinning his stance. Simply put, he was the best of men, a friend to so many, and that by my reckoning is immeasurable.
It was with a very heavy heart that I listened to a message from Tim Reed to tell me his father and our wonderful friend, Graham, had passed away in hospital in his sleep last night. Graham had been ill for a long while but we spoke only two or three weeks ago when he was finally home from a rehab centre and hoping to invite us over once he’d settled….
Graham was the most generous, kind-hearted man anyone could ever meet – even spending time on Saturdays on busy streets in London offering help to tourists who were looking lost and confused. His knowledge was outstanding and he’d not only ensure they had the correct directions but he’d recommend other places of interest, too.
Graham was one of Paul Daniels’s closest friends, they were both members of the Middlesbrough Magic Society, Graham later becoming one of Paul’s magic advisors on his tv series. This led to a great friendship between Graham and Ali Bongo; my first visit to Las Vegas was enhanced by their company, both at a convention and away from it. We had a wonderful meal at the Venetian Hotel on the strip and I enjoyed enviously watching Graham buying a handbag for his wife in a designer store there – lucky Barbara!
Graham was never backwards in speaking his mind, either publicly or in private. His AOB questions at The Magic Circle’s AGMs were legendary – he never missed an opportunity. Graham had been a marketing man way back when marketing was a new ‘science’ and his successes were many. He would impart that knowledge to magicians constantly – and gift books on the subject to those who needed them.
For many years a monthly lunch with him would be a must on our calendars, usually at his local pub restaurant until it lost its reputation for quality – at which point we became nomads until a change of management brought it back to glory once more. Of more recent times the lunch moved to a hotel in Hitchin – but we never missed a month no matter where the location. I can still hear Graham’s distinctive voice urging me to have a dessert so he would feel less guilty when ordering one for himself!
My most personal memory was the speech he made, the only speech at our wedding – it was uproariously funny and still a perfect moment of the day.
Graham, I’ll miss those phone calls, the lunches and hearing your voice. I’ll miss the generosity, the gifts of books of all kinds that you bestowed so often and on so many of us. I’ll miss your wisdom and your laughter – but you need to rest peacefully after your recent battles.
Rest well, my dear friend.
with thanks to Paul Stone and Bob Hamilton for the video.
Photo credit: Gordon Drayson
With thanks to Paul Stone and Bob Hamilton for the video.
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