Jams O’Donnell has left the building

Bloggers are a peculiar bunch. A popular image is of recluses tapping away in poorly-lit rooms, speaking their brains on life, the universe and stuff. The political ones tend to be more focused, with a few of them leading lives of blameless bourgeois professionalism and domesticity. But by and large bloggers communicate with each other online rather than in real spacetime.

I have in recent years developed proper eye contact relationships with a number of bloggers from various walks of life: academics, fellow journalists, bus drivers, handypersons, bureaucrats, the retired, unemployed and more. It takes all sorts to make a world, and some of them can write.

In London some of us get together occasionally for a drink or three. Annually at least, with the next “droggy blink” of left-libertarians and other political misfits tentatively scheduled for next month at some or other hostelry in the heart of the Great Wen.

Shaun P Downey

Among the band of bloggers of varying degrees of grumpiness who have taken part in these Londonish get-togethers is my friend Shaun Downey, a retired civil servant of off-message sensibility and some seniority who later took seriously to photography and writing.

The subjects of Shaun’s creative expression have been many and various. Cats, for example. Not silly snaps of kittens falling off sofas and the like, but proper portraiture, with wide open eyes and apertures, souls laid bare and immortalised.

Shaun and his not-wife Shirley have over the years been cared for by a number of furry beasts, and I suspect that each and every one of them has in their relatively short lives been photographed more than me in my half century of existence.

I regret to say that Shaun will not make it to the London pissup, for he died suddenly on Friday, aged 50 and a bit. I knew Shaun from our blogger summits, and had a lot of time for him. So too did many others. We shall miss Shaun, and the first toast in April will be to an absent friend.

Condolences to Shirley and the family, both human and feline.

RIP Shaun P Downey, Esq., Gentleman and Blogger of the Parish of Romford.