Tag Archive for "dead"

The celebrated Brighton artist and musician Dan Woods died peacefully in the early hours of the morning on 7th January 2019 after a couple of bad years with terminal cancer. He was stoic, cheerful and positive even during our last conversation not long before he died.  His bravery in the face of this horrific terminal illness and the hellish pain and disability he suffered was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

He is sorely missed by family, friends and fans of his art and music over the many years he has been creating artwork and music. As the Fish Brothers guitarist for many years (often under the name of Chesty Charnsworth) he is especially missed by fans who remember his blazing technical solos worthy of Ollie Halsall or Allan Holdsworth while at the same time the band, who were all very competent musicians as well, proclaimed themselves to be “totally crap”.

I met Dan at school when we were eleven years old and only one person outside his family has known him longer than that. Howard has known him since they were eight years old at junior school where Howard claims he regularly beat him up … in the face of overwhelming evidence that this never even happened once.

What is known by very few people is that Artists UK would not have existed if it had not been for Dan. An odd coincidence had me out of work in 1994 just when Dan had published some prints that he was having some trouble marketing and selling. He was an artist through and through and selling himself or his work was, as it is to many creative people, a rather distasteful and almost dirty occupation, far away from the sublime inspiration of art and music. Being at the time plunged in that dirt and mire and unable to find a convenient spitirtual shower I said I’d have a go at selling them. This I did and then branched out adding in other artists and merchandise to end up with the massive portfolio of over 2,000 products today. But Dan’s section has been there all the time during these 25 years for fans of his art to collect his great art prints and we will continue to keep his section live as long as we still have stocks of his prints.

Personally, I owe more to Dan than just Artist UK though.  For my 13th birthday he gave me a book that changed my life.  It was ‘Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham and that really kick-started my love-affair with science fiction that arose naturally after buying the comic FANTASTIC! around the time we met.  That comic contained reprints of American Marvel comics although we didn’t know that at the time.  Dan and I both developed a fascination for fantasy and science-fiction as well as for all sorts of music and spiritual practices like meditation and yoga.  We took different directions in life but in many ways it was the same inspiration that he expressed to me in our teens that saw him through one of the worst kinds of illness that anyone could suffer with such positivity, dignity and maturity.

The first band (Dan on left)

Goodbye Stan

Sadly, at the age of 95, we say goodbye to Stan Lee the founder of Marvel comics as he sails off to join artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko in the unknown realms beyond.

I first encountered Stan Lee in the pages of FANTASTIC (UK b&w reprints of Marvel comics) when I was ten years old and he has been involved in my life in some way or another through comics and films ever since. That’s not all though. Like many millions the world over I was strongly influenced by Stan Lee’s humanistic life philosophy and that’s what I think we should recognise most. Stan Lee’s legacy of morality, accountability and good-naturedness that are needed in this modern world of terrorism and cybercrime more than ever before.  Stan Lee also realised that no matter how young someone is they have something to offer and that we shouldn’t treat anyo9ne differently because of their age, gender or anything else.  You can see this aspect of Stan Lee as early as the first X-Men comic way back in the 1960s where Bobby Drake complains of being treated like a kid compared to the others.  Later on the intelligence and skill of a young girl was well-demonstrated by Kitty Pride as she polished off a malevolent alien single-handedly.

We need Stan Lee to help us show the villains in the world that they should wake up and realise that knowledge and power do entail responsibility, that compassion is a great strength, that humanity thrives on differences and that external appearances don’t tell us what is inside. We need to see like Stan Lee did that many different skillsets are required for us to meet the challenges of our ridiculously fast-growing world population (for every 151,000 who die each day a staggering 352,000 are being born!), the pressures invoked by using up limited natural resources and the dangers of an indefinable but clearly possible threat of global human extermination as a result of our abuse of the planet.

If humanity survives the challenges ahead of us well then I think that it will be to some degree or other due to the messages that Stan Lee proclaimed all his life and we should thank him for that. I know I do.