Thursday, January 25, 2007

Vale James Edwards Jnr

I generally avoid personal posts on this blog but I'm going to make an exception to mark the death of James Edwards Jnr.

Jim died earlier this week after a brief illness, he was 89 and, according to family back in NZ, he accepted that his time was up. Jim was an accomplished poet and playwrite. His book, Absent without Leave, was made into a movie in 1992 (starring Craig McLaughlin) and told the story of Jim's brief departure from duty to look after his pregnant wife, Daisy. I suspect he did not see this as the high point in his career (he also read his own story on RNZ's Nine to Noon show).

Jim was the son of James Edwards Snr. He was also the older brother of my grandfather, Brian (himself a former deputy mayor of Manukau and Labour Party stalwart). James Edwards Snr. was an infamous womaniser, larrikin and Communist. He was convicted for his part in the 1932 Queen St. riots. His part, incidentally, was to be clubbed over the head and fall to the floor bleeding profusely. I suspect had he not be bashed, he'd have said something certain to result in his conviction but the enthusisam of the local Constabulary denied him this opportunity.

Jim and Brian did not know luxury - I recall stories of them selling cleaning products door-to-door - neither ever forgot what it was like to be poor and Brian remained a salesman until his death in '99 (I'll never forget the weight of his coffin).

Vale Jim. I remember many afternoons entirely confused by your crib board, entranced by your banter, choked by the smoke, greedy for the dregs of your beer (anyone's would've done). I also remember wandering door-to-door selling you books...


Lux Lisbon said...

Godspeed Jim.

Ellen said...

Keep up the good work.