Yesterday I heard that Country & Western legend Glen Campbell has announced he’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and that he’s embarking on a farewell tour. Now, I can’t say I’m all that familiar with his work (although I have loudly sung Rhinestone Cowboy in the past), but the news still hit me somehow. Maybe it’s because the situation is similar to Terry Pratchett’s, an exceptionally talented man facing an incredibly cruel and monstrous disease.
Meanwhile, Doctor Who Magazine has published its tribute to Nicholas Courtney, and is preparing a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen. They were two giants in the DW community and their passing has hit hard, a mixture of sadness and shock and regrets at what could have been.
So it was nice to see Twitter celebrating Ray Harryhausen’s 91st birthday yesterday, acknowledging his contribution to filmmaking and our childhoods while he’s around to know how much he’s appreciated. I vividly remember the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts, and the steampunk owl from Clash of the Titans, and so it’s nice to acknowledge Harryhausen, especially when modern CGI can sometimes be so lifeless.
It’s part of a wider issue, I think: you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, as Joni Mitchell sang. I guess it’s an impetus to never leave anything unsaid, to keep in touch with the friends you’ve been seeing less and less, to ask and give forgiveness before the chance is gone forever. I’ve been in that situation and it’s still a lingering regret, even if deep down I know the unspoken thoughts would have remained that way. Sometimes you don’t get to say goodbye; best to say and do all the other things instead.
Just in case.