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FEATURE:

March 17, 2014

PAUL CLEGG: JUST MY OPINION…

The death of a Smiler legend

posted by John Gray



I can't remember when I first met Paul Clegg who passed away at the weekend aged 59. But I know I will never forget his smiling face, his casual manner and his tartan pride.

"Don't you think you should buy me a drink John?” were his first words every time we bumped into each other. And those times were many… at the Theydon Oak pub during the eighties and nineties, at numerous Smiler parties and, of course, at the concerts.

Paul was a Smiler reader from the start and a solid supporter of Rod. I don't think he approved of my writing style, but clearly he saw through the pretentiousness of my snipes at RS and concluded that our views about the great man were not really that far apart. Paul would never utter a negative word about Rod. Whilst I was the Victor Meldrew of the fanzine world. We had many entertaining exchanges on the Smiler message board often greatly disagreeing and completely missing each others points in the process! But we always remained on good terms and Paul always took everything in the light hearted way it was intended.

When news of his death came through late on Sunday afternoon I was just about to go for a twilight walk in the Surrey Hills with my dogs. Rolling countryside, a blood red sky, evening bird-song and a warmth rare for this time of year reminded me what a beautiful world we live in. On that walk my only thoughts were of Paul and I somehow hoped he was watching down on us all. I felt tearful as I realised he is no longer here to share the joys of being alive. So incredibly sad - so incredibly wrong.

Paul's premature death has been a genuine shock. Many of us are of a similar age to Paul and probably expect another 25-30 years. We're all looking forward to more Rod Stewart music in the years to come. I'm so sad that Paul won't be around to hear it. He was passionate. He was gentle. He was sensitive. He was funny. But above all, he was a friend and I will miss him.

Be lucky Paul. Maybe I'll buy you that drink in heaven!

JG


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