It occurred to me this evening to call Paul Carrington, a friend, to see how he’s coping with the current Covid-19 situation. Paul has for many years suffered from emphysema, a progressive lung disease, brought on by an enzyme deficiency for which there is no cure. To my surprise, a woman answered his phone. It was his daughter, who informed me that Paul died this morning, following a lung infection.
Paul was a very well-known character in my home town of Bedford. He was a “larger than life” popular entertainer in the local pubs. He always reminded me of Al Murray’s comic creation, “The Pub Landlord”. I interviewed him, along with seven other Bedford-based guitarists, for Guitar Gods in Beds (Bedfordshire: A Heavenly County) (2014). The men related their life stories, Paul’s chapter is here.
When I had money – until 10 years ago – Paul was my chauffeur and companion during two month-long holidays in France, which I related in Two Men in a Car (A Businessman, a Chauffeur, and Their Holidays in France) (2008). Both books are out of print, but used copies are occasionally available to buy on Amazon and elsewhere, and they’re available as e-books.
A solidly and proudly working-class man, a socialist who never shared my concerns for men and boys as a class, he was very frustrating to debate with. Yet I’ve rarely admired anyone more. I’ll be among many who will miss this remarkable man.
I am deriving some solace from two things. Paul won’t have to endure what he most feared, an old age dominated by physical incapacitation. He was a very fit man in his younger days, a martial arts expert, details in his chapter. And he was a passionate advocate for Brexit. When I last met him, for lunch three months ago, he was bubbling over with delight that the UK was finally going to exit the EU.
Our last general election manifesto is here.
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