Three deaths over the weekend:
- Seamus Heaney, a poet who came to my attention with his translation of Beowulf, a work that's gotten less play in his obituaries than I'd have expected.
- David Frost, who ought to be honored not so much for his interviews with Nixon, which were actually a step on the crook's rehabilitation, than for the fact that, in the 1960s, he produced and hosted a tv show whose writing staff first brought together 5 of the 6 members of what would become Monty Python.
- James Wallace, not a celebrity but an old friend of mine from early Mythopoeic Society days, for many years now a resident of the Seattle area, with his wife Ginger; he worked as a college librarian in Everett. He'd stoutly survived a major cancer operation some years ago, but eventually it turned redux on him. I see that he was only 59, which means he must have been 20 or 21 when I met him, which surprises me as I always thought him several years older, though he was a student at UC Santa Cruz at the time. His knowledge and mature bearing gave him that effect. I was but a sheltered suburban high-school student who wasn't used to people who smoked hand-rolled cigarette stubs and said things like "Hot shit!" when excited or impressed. Still, we became friends. James, Jim, or Jamie, as he was variously known, was a loremaster of the fantasy tradition, a guide to my own understanding of Tolkien's theory, a font of raunchy song squibs, and the first of a number of Westerners I've known to take up the serious study of Japanese. Years ago I posted on LJ a list of my favorite non-classical songs, and naming "King Henry" by Steeleye Span among them, I told of "the charming memory of standing with my friends Jamie and Ginger waiting for the Mythcon cafeteria to open for lunch. It was running late, and we were hungry, so we spontaneously started singing, 'Some meat! Some meat! ya King Henry, some meat you give to me ...' and continued right on through to the end of the song. The rest of the people in line looked at us oddly." I last saw him a year-plus ago on my visit to Seattle for the most recent Potlatch; he and Ginger drove down and picked me up for one of our favorite group activities, exploring unusual dishes from a Chinese restaurant menu. He seemed still to be doing OK ...