Friday, 14 March 2014

Tony Benn 1925 - 2014

Well today is a sad but inevitable day, the great and memorable Tony Benn has passed away. And as with every 'celebrity' passing these days his name is being posted all over the internet on its many social media platforms with people writing their messages of farewell and sadness.
I know this get's some peoples backs up and starts the whole "people are dying all over the world every day, women and children, but no one cares about them!" etc etc. Well yes sadly that is true, people die every day and no one bats an eye lid. But that does not mean they were not important or anything like that, they just haven't been there and visible for you to be able to recognise their death. If they were, I suspect you would morn them too. But if you refuse to acknowledge the importance of one persons life because of that then you are no better.

My grandparents recently passed away. They were amazing people and did so much for others through out their life. They did their part in fighting the Nazi's during World War II, my grandmother worked with the fire brigade and my grandfather survived a POW camp in Poland.
They were great.
The internet did not morn their passing.
I didn't expect it to.

Well Tony Benn was a man that everyone knew or at least had heard of, a man of the people, a fighter for rights and someone who drew attention to conflicts and problems around the globe, many of which were being fuelled by our own government. The people who you say are dying every day with out being mentioned or noticed are the people Tony Benn would often mention and morn. Just one example is his hijacking of his own BBC interview to publicise the Gaza appeal and accuse the BBC of supporting the Israeli oppression of those people. Tony was truly a man of the people, loved and vilified across the country and the world. A strong supporter of workers rights and workers unions, he fought against the privatisation of the country and the sacrificing of the working men and women who keep the wheels turning.
If there was ever a politician you could like it would have been Tony, far from a saint I'm sure but we all have that side to us.
To not acknowledge his passing is as much a crime as it is to not acknowledge the people you say are forgotten.

As the first world wept at the passing of Steve Jobs, creator of their beloved Apple devices I had to cringe a little and question humanity. But if every single person on my timeline today, including the people who never post anything meaningful, post a tribute to Tony Benn I will question NOTHING!

A few years back I had the pleasure of meeting Tony on the world's oldest continuously operating sound stage at Ealing Studios in London. I was shooting unit stills on the film/documentary being made about his life and I got to sit there during the long takes and listen to Tony just talking about his life, his journey and adventures, all the things he had seen and the things he had fought for and against. It was a truly amazing 3 days.

I met him again very recently at Abbey Road as the score was being recorded for the film. It must have been a very surreal experience to be so close to the end of your life, sitting in Abbey Road studios watching old footage from your life with your own personal orchestra playing a soundtrack to it. I can only begin to imagine what was going on inside his head that day. But still, he was so very kind as to sign two of his portraits that we had shot back at Ealing. They shall live on my wall from today.

Tony Benn 
1925 - 2014

Rebell in peace


You can find out more about the film over at