i Editor's Letter: Heroes and obscure artists

  • @stefanohat


The weekend chez Hatfield, there was a melange of teens and 20-somethings.

I tried the “what a shame, old Jimmy Savile’s dead” line, only to be met with the type of blank looks teens use that leave adults doubting their own sanity.

It’s happened to me before in a previous gig. There, the staffers were younger than ours at i, but I was still a tad surprised that none of the young ones had even heard of the John Inman. When I wafted around the office, shrieking “I’m free, Captain Peacock” several of them were one off-key joke away from that speed dial to HR.

Admittedly, even in its heyday, some of us knew Are You Being Served? was so naff as to be not watchable, but I was brought up short by the next celebrity death: Alan Ball. Normally, (and this isn’t sexism, just life) the lamentations over the death of old footballers leave the female half of the office mystified, but Ball’s case is surely different? He was a member of Sir Alf’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, and the paper’s office was in London, not Edinburgh or Cardiff. Alan Ball? You know, squeaky voice? This time many of the puzzled culprits were male too.

One person’s hero is another’s obscure artist. Joy lies in relishing a diversity of interests. That’s one reason we introduced i’s “Life in Brief” column that many of you at the Birmingham party told us is a favourite i feature.

All you really need to know about Sir Jimmy Savile is that for the best part of five decades — or more — as a DJ, presenter of Jim’ll Fix It and a marathon-running charity worker he brought an enormous amount of pleasure to millions of people. He really did make a difference. Would that we could all have that as our epitaph.