Monday, 18 February 2008

Andy Lippincott 1945-1990

Andy Lippincott 1945 –1990

Eighteen years ago your death filled me full of sadness and on the morning I opened the Guardian and read about the last moments of your life, I cried. I had followed the last tragic weeks of your life as AIDS overwhelmed your ability to resist the inevitable. Every time you fought back it just got stronger and still you faced it all with a stoicism I couldn’t understand. If I had been you I would have been so angry. I would have spat out my frustration and railed against the world. Instead you checked out listening to the Beach Boys playing “Wouldn’t it be Nice”.

A lot of people, real people that I actually knew have died since that day in 1990, some I expected to lose like my Mum and Dad and others got ill and died. One got a lift from a guy, travelled a few hundred yards and hit a tree. Death is like that, it comes to all of us but when it does we seem surprised. We know when we drink too much we will get drunk or if we eat too much we will get fat but we never seem to come to terms with the fact that if we live too much then we die. I remember your death because it was the first that actually meant something to me and although you were a character in a cartoon strip that didn’t seem to make much difference. Today AIDs is still a killer and science is no nearer finding a cure. If you live in the developed world, drugs will keep you alive for a lot longer than in your day but for the rest of humanity it still rampages mercilessly onwards devouring the poor, uneducated and the unfortunate.

You also might like to know you are the only fictional character with a panel on the AIDS quilt. Your citation reads "In Loving Memory: Andy Lippincott 1945-1990. Community leader, conservationist, author, olympic medalist, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize!"

1 comment:

Ross Sutherland said...

I really like this Jeff- its a very tender, thoughtful piece of writing. I only ever occasionally read Doonsbury, and missed Andy completely. Would you be prepared to read this at the event? It feels to me like a testimonial, rather than a poem, which makes it all the more striking.

It would be nice to get a few more testimonials in a similar style to this. Any takers?