Tony Dennis in the Wheatsheaf
LAST week, I was invited by three top boffins to the John Radcliffe hospital to discuss the rather new syndrome, transient epileptic amnesia – TEA for short. I’ve turned into a case study!
Professor Butler couldn’t remember he’d met me before, it’s fair to say, although professor Arjun Sen said: “Oh nice to see you again.”
Professor Sen said: “Are you still drinking?” I said yes. He asked: “About the same amount?” I said yes.
Arjunaji indicated that was OK. And didn’t mention smoking fags this time around.
But Arjun did ask me how much I remembered about 2016. I told him: “About 20 percent.” He looked shocked. Of course I remember the death of Tony Dennis.
Met another top prof at the John Radcliffe, a man who specialises in occupational stuff. Apparently I was writing perfectly cogent IT stories for the whole weird period. He said: “OK, that’s a different part of the brain.”
Professor Butler is a very cool guy. He asked if I dreamed. Well I do, in full colour, panaroma view. He reckons I’ll have to take the anti-convulsant lamotrogine drug for the rest of my life. But, he added, rather wittily: “The condition is so new we haven’t had a patient die us on yet.”
Tony Dennis in the Wheatsheaf
This is the text of a tribute I made to dear Tony Dennis at his funeral on the 7th of March 2016. Later we adjourned to his local, The Wheatsheaf, in Ewell, where we all drank to the health of his family, friends and many colleagues.
“I talked to Tony Dennis just a few days before he died. He was cheerful, optimistic, even enthusiastic about the future and had a writing project lined up that sounded full of promise. We were going to meet up in the near future, a future that he was never to see.
“I couldn’t imagine then that just three weeks later I would be standing here in front of his family, his friends and his colleagues, paying this small tribute to him and his memory.
“I first met Tony in, I think 1989, when I was editing a weekly magazine for IDG. That would be the same year I first met the very lovely Dave Evans who we’ve also lost. The three of us became the best of friends over the years at one period meeting every Monday, for many years, in one or other of our favourite pubs in Soho or Fitzrovia.
“Tony was unfailingly kind and helpful to his colleagues and would go well out of his way to make people feel comfortable and to give them useful guidance if they were new to the world of tech journalism. He was just kind.
“He was tremendously popular with his journalistic colleagues and that’s shown by the outpouring of tributes to him on social media. I know that he had a wide circle of friends outside journalism and no doubt they feel the same grief as we hacks do.
“I will miss Tony Dennis hugely but have nothing but the fondest memories of him. I’m sure that’s the way we all feel. I will never forget him.”
AFTER ATTENDING the lovely Tony Dennis’ birthday activities in Baker Street, we made our way to Isambard Station, to entrain to Oxford. There we did espy a lady – pictured – engaged in many a sketch of the passengers in our compartment. By a strange device, we captured her as she drew first the lady on the right and then the gentleman on the left. She then turned her attention to me and did a fast sketch, but dashed from the train when it arrived at Oxford, no doubt to catch an omnibus to her final destination. ♦
WENT to an Intel gig last night at the Bloomsbury Ballroom – covered it in TechEye yesterday.
The biggest problem any journalist have was not solved by Albert Einstein. If there’s an infinite amount of space to fill, do you have the time? The Tantrarajatantra is quite illuminating about this, if you’ve the time to read it.
After ducking out of the Intel conference because we were feeling a bit peckish, we proceeded in an easterly direction to Lamb’s Conduit Passage, there to the Dolphin to quaff a few ales with our old mate Tony Dennis.
Opposite the Dolphin is The Enterprise, on Red Lion Street. On Red Lion Street is Conway Hall, an emblem of the ethical society, free thinking and humanism. The last time I was in the Dolphin it was with David Tibet and Dadaji. David Hall might have been there too… The former had a skeletal hand on his belt and a Tibetan thighbone trumpet, and many a piercing around his ears. Dadaji was dressed in full ceremonial Nath regalia. Dave Tibet said to me quietly: “It’s a bit embarrassing being in a pub with a man dressed like a sadhu.”
How we laughed. ♥
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BACK FROM the weirdness of Oxford, (see yesterday) I had to go down near the Post Office Tower (POT) to see some people and naturally noticed that Fitzrovia has changed quite a bit.
Fitzrovia doesn’t seem nearly as prosperous as it used to be as it was when the Central Middlesex Hospital – it moved from Cleveland Street quite a few years ago – was still going and catering to doctors, to nurses, to administrators, to patients, to ambulance folk, and to the whole caboodle. Middlesex has moved, and a fine building has been reduced to rubble, bit like Bangalore.
Still, the George and Dragon – see pic below – is sufficently prosperous to have commissioned a new painting of Mr George killing a Dragon. Dennis Publishing is still down there, but the really worrying thing is that the square which used to be cobbled and was the home of Virginia Woolff and George Bernard Shaw seems to have been tarmacaddemed! Pictures below. Also our mate Tony Dennis’ office was in Cleveland Street, and Dennis Publishing moved from Bolsover Street to Cleveland Street quite a few years ago. The big question is: “Are Felix Dennis and Tony Dennis somehow related?” ♦
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Tagged Add new tag, Bangalore, cobbles, Conway Square, Dennis Publishing, Dragon Drop, felix dennis, George and Dragon, George Bernard Shaw, house prices, Microsoft Windiws, Microsoft Windows, tarmacadam, the London Foot Hospital, Tony Dennis, Virginia Woollf
DAVID EVANS has a mobile phone which is so old and knackered that the LCD screen is long gone. To phone his mates – such as Tone “the Phone” Dennis and Mad Mike Mageek, he pulls out a large piece of paper with our numbers written on it.
This phone has long been the subject of baleful comments by Tone and myself, comments that have been consistently ignored.
So we were truly truly shocked yesterday when Dave announced that his faithful old Samsung retainer was going into retirement forever, and that when we returned from Ole Bengaluru we’d find he had a new one.
At the wake for the phone, held at the Shakespeare’s Head hostelry at a crossroads on Carnaby Street, Dave duly proceeded to quaff four pints of Kronenburg in rapid succession, as he wept for what really must be the end of an era. ♥