A Letter To Gregg Jevin – One Year On

24 Feb

On 24th of February 2012 we were notified on twitter  by @Michaellegge of the sad passing of Gregg Jevin, somebody he’d just made up and who had “sat on his keys to death”. Quite literally the world  mourned, and I was honoured to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the great man at a memorial concert in his honour a couple of weeks later. This is more or less what I spoke…

Dear Gregg Jevin

Now that the dust has had time to settle since the sad news of your death, I thought that I would write you a letter. And this is because not only is it a useful framing device, but also because it means I don’t have to memorise my lines.

I’ll always remember where I was when I learnt of your passing. I was on twitter, where I always am and always will be when I hear any news now.

I was taking a rare mini-break from my busy work schedule to have just a little look at twitter when I saw Michael Legge’s tweet telling us that you had died. Of course at first, being Michael Legge, a comedian, I thought it was a joke, but it soon became apparent it wasn’t a joke. This was real.

I burst immediately into all sorts of tears. How could you be taken from us so soon? I raised my fist and cried out Why, Lord? For some reason I felt liking blaming Lord Alan Sugar.

And then the memories came… not exactly flooding back, but enough to make the room feel unpleasantly clammy.

Now I find I can’t get you out of my mind, just like Kylie Minogue’s famous smash-hit bottom.

I remember how we first met, inside a pantomime horse. After a week or two of awkward silence you finally plucked up the courage to introduce yourself.

I remember your first – albeit muffled – words to me:  “We’re going to make love in the moon next year”. Or maybe it was “I’ll fucking destroy you”.

After that I saw you at regular intervals, mainly because we were walking along a colonnade. Ah, there you are! Oh, he’s gone. Ah, there you are! Oh, he’s gone.

Whenever you visited you would bring us a bottle of lucozade and a bunch of grapes, just in case we were ill. To be fair to you, it was invariably a very good lucozade.

I remember how much you loved to start the day with a traditional Full English breakfast: a cup of tea, a fag and a moan.

I remember how you would make paper aeroplanes for the children, each with a black box recorder. You should have had more faith in your skills.

I remember you putting all your eggs in one basket. I scoffed, but you pointed out that half a dozen individual egg baskets was just health & safety gone mad.

I remember how you’d wander into the kitchen and stare into the fridge, and I’d say “Are you hungry, Gregg?” And you’d say “No, just a bit hot”. And then you’d go and stare into the oven, and I’d say “Are you sure you’re not hungry?” and you’d say “No, I’m just a bit cold now”. And then you’d go and stare into the pantry, and I’d say “Are  you really sure you’re not hungry Gregg?” and you’d say “No, I’m just the right temperature now”. Like some sort of heat-seeking fucking Goldilocks. In fact you were hungry, so I gave you some porridge.

I remember how we would steal into your room at night to watch you doing your brilliant impersonations of sleeping celebrities – Bruce Forsyth, Bruce Parry, Bruce Chatwin, Bruce Grobelar, Bruce Kent – the Bruces, mainly.

I remember how the dogs would follow you through town. At first we thought it was the sausages in your pocket, or just the promises you’d made. But it wasn’t. Tests finally proved it was your whistley nose, that only the dogs could hear. We think you broke their hearts.

I remember the beautiful songs you would sing in your fruity baritone, each one ruined by your insistence on doing a rap, themed around the title, during the middle eight.

I remember your sea-food allergy and the way it would make your face swell up, and how you would guzzle a pint of prawns and then dash down to the park to entertain the children with your big bulbous head.

I remember how you said you didn’t need a driving licence and that if you were ever stopped you would point to a sticker on your lapel that said “Good Driving – Well Done!” Which you would claim was given to you by your driving instructor.

I remember you standing by a flower with your clipboard, trying to count the pollen. You never trusted the official figures.

I remember how I once found you hiding in my wardrobe with the milkman.

I remember how you organised your underwear drawer according to emotional resonance. And everything else in your house according to its gender in French.

I remember how some evenings we’d just stay in and drink cider and watch one of your video compilations of old test cards, close downs, or some of your favourite weather forecasts.

I remember how you smoked those Adobe cigarettes, and you’d frequently quit unexpectedly.

I remember finding you going through my bins one night. You said you were just trying to get to know me better.

Well, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, and I will always remember you, Gregg.

I know you’ll make a good ghost because you’re already haunting us. Although I doubt very much you’ll ever wash your sheets.

Goodbye, sweet Gregg Jevin.

Yours faithfully or yours sincerely, I can never remember which, must ask on twitter.



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