I mentioned in the last piece I posted up here that music is one of my obsessions.
Thinking about this then, in a way I would have expected myself to have written a post upon hearing the news that Mitch Mitchell, drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, had died. Now I don't actually own any Jimi Hendrix albums, but I'm more than familiar with them - and one of the main things I like about them is Mitchell's drumming.
I'm not sure whether what follows is in accord with received opinion about him, but to me he's a fine example of the early rock drummers in the sense that while he could play the drums hard, fast and heavy, his style and technique also owed much to some of the great jazz players in terms of inventiveness, subtlety and being able to really swing. I love that kind of drumming, there's something that delights and fascinates me about it.
So it feels odd that my reaction to his death, sad and premature as it was, was really nothing more than muted. I'm not sure why that is, really, since I do hold him in high esteem as a musician.
Same goes for the far more recent, equally sad news that Ron Asheton, guitarist with The Stooges, has also died. Again, I don't actually own any Stooges albums, but I know them well and their influence is stamped firmly over many parts of my record/cd collection. There's a direct lineage from the Stooges, and Asheton's guitar playing particularly, to many of my favourite bands, albums and pieces of music.
But again, for reasons unknown to me, this news didn't affect me like I might have expected it to. As above, it's not for want of respect for him and his work. I'm not saying I would exactly be weeping and wailing and gnashing my teeth, but certainly that it would have registered far more with me than it has done.
Today, however, I read the news online and saw that Patrick McGoohan has died aged 80, and that really did instil in me the kind of reaction oddly lacking with the previous two examples: a deep sigh, pause for a few minutes' reflection and the need to talk about it with the people around me.
I remember my mum mentioning The Prisoner as being "quite weird," before I'd ever seen or heard of it, but "quite weird" was bound to attract my interest. So when it was aired on Channel 4 - latish on Thursday nights around 1983 or 84, if memory serves - I can remember there being something hugely exciting and esoteric about it. It was baflling, intriguing, and thoroughly engrossing and thought-provoking.
It was one of those things that seemed a real highlight of the week: far beyond the mundanity of sitting watching television, it seemed so much more than that. Plus the fact that it was on a Thursday night - it was one of those things which served as a signifier that the weekend was imminent, and so it carried that kind of resonance that everything was just as it should be (of course if I've remembered this wrong then I'm talking rubbish, but we'll gloss over that).
Perhaps in a small way it represented a kind of marker for me: that I'd reached an age where there was no problem in me being able to stay up late to watch it; but, more significantly, that I was at an age where I could engage at some level with many of the concepts it presented and explored.
I haven't seen it since that rerun, some 25 years ago. Predictable though this may be, I won't be surprised if that changes in the not-too-distant future.
Anyway, with his death, it feels like we've lost another one of the good guys. Regardless of my described response about the passing of Mitch Mitchell and Ron Asheton, the same goes for them too.