Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hello, Goodbye ...

In the early 90's, back in the UK, I was working as a tape editor at one of Murdoch's news organisations. All the edit suites were situated along a corridor adjoining the newsroom and, as is the case with 12-hour shift patterns, once you were there you generally stayed within the confines of the suite - a head would pop out at times and take a look up and down the corridor, either looking for the next job or trying to avoid it. With a regular and steady flow, journalists and producers would drop in to get one of the 6 lab rats on duty to cut, re-jig or craft a new piece out of freshly shot or library news footage. It was the fastest I have ever edited - it simply didn't get any faster on tape. In all, it was a fun place to work. Except, that is, for nightshift - 6pm until 6am.

Before Christmas came around, we would have a small wager as to which celebrity or world leader would take his or her leave and pass away. The list was, predictably, made up of some old favourites; The Queen Mother and The Pope. As it happens, Her Maj hung on until March 2002 and Karol Wojtjla (the man in the hat) until April 2005. The two favourites stumped the lot of us and, individually, could have made a bit of cash had they been in on the sweep.

As the last days of 2006 countdown their own demise and we prepare for a fresh crop of 365 on 'planet unpredictable', a number of people have bid their final farewells to terra-firma - and in a way that could have earned someone more money than God, had there been a bookmaker around to take the bet.

On Christmas Eve, English comic Charlie Drake decided that enough was enough at the age of 81 and slipped away. The poor old chap had been ill for some time and the stroke he suffered in 1995 forced him into retirement. On Christmas Day, James Brown wound up his sex machine, put it in Papa's brand new bag and checked out once and for all. The 73-yr old's heart just couldn't take it any more. Then, on Boxing Day, former US President Gerald Ford took his final salute at the grand old age of 93. Ford was the only man to serve as both Vice President and President without being elected to office. Trivia buffs might also like to know that Ford died on the 34th anniversary of the death of another US President, Harry S Truman.

As I look back at 2006, what can I say about it?

Well, in no particular order; I had a blast on the French Helicopter Championships, turned 45 years old, forged new working relationships, was locked up by the cops for 24hrs, photographed 2 fantastic weddings, got into panoramic photography, bought an Apple Mac (superb machine) and (most importantly) am still with my beloved, her daughter and I are getting along much better and the 3 of us have started negotiations along the lines of "living together".

If I start thinking positive about the New Year then all should be well ...

Stu

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