Features

Justin Simpson’s ‘Letter from Australia’

All Things Must Pass

I went to an old friend’s place on the northern beaches last weekend; the weather was beautiful and the numbers of fellow attendees huge – because this was Paddy’s wake and despite him not being Irish, it was the best way to send him off – to be sure.

Under blue skies with ample food n drink and a few well-chosen words from family n friends, many old acquaintances were indeed remembered since auld lang syne.

Even after forty years syne!

Paddy de Klerk

Paddy was a man of many catholic tastes, including wood-turning, star-gazing n ornithology, but I remember him for his exploits on the green baize of the snooker table, playing in a Cliff Thorburn-style of undemonstrative determination – occasionally irresistible and usually far better than me.

He with the constant failure of his beloved Springboks to ever win anything in the last few decades, so I would always temper my passion for the mighty Blues with this understanding.

Paddy treated triumph n disaster as two impostors, just the same: he was unflappable and I never heard him angry – a true icon of communication, although his long-suffering wife may have had a different view!

He read widely (too many classics to mention); listened extensively (Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder and Frank Zappa – he was even older than me!) and made huge numbers of friends from all generations. He was a renaissance man in the extent of his interests, but I suspect that so many came to regard Paddy as a friend because there was an ease to his demeanour that was evident to everyone.

Paddy would reminisce about his time living and working in London because he knew my origins and he would discuss no doubt similarly relevant topics with whichever friend he happened to be in company.

Two ears; one mouth – a very relevant consideration when communicating . . .

. . . and a lovely conviviality too.

RIP

Justin Simpson

Categories: Features

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