I am actually still struggling to believe he’s gone. He was such a big character that I just felt like he'd go on forever. I was going to pop round this week for our usual cup of tea and a natter (and a big slice of cake or a Belgian bun, he always treated me!) - something I’ve done dozens of times in the last couple of years. Through the deep sadness following the illness and death of my good friend, his eldest son Andrew, it was something so positive; we had formed a lovely, easy connection of our own. At first it was really that we had Andy in common and took comfort from that, but it soon became a unique friendship in its own right. It was perhaps an unlikely bond given our age difference, but Eddie had a presence and timelessness about him which meant you could relate on so many levels and age was no barrier at all. As I said to a friend the other day, how many octogenarians are likely to talk to you about anything and everything from jellied eels to Johnny Marr?! I remember coming home from seeing him one day, smiling to myself about the fact that our two hour conversation had just ranged through so many subjects, from Brexit to Auf Wiedersehen Pet to pease pudding to J G Thirlwell!
Just like Andy, he was a fantastic conversationalist with a cheeky sense of humour and I never tired of the tales of the extraordinary life he had led in his eighty-plus years. This was a man who had mingled with some of the East End’s most notorious characters in his days as landlord of a popular pub, a venue where he’d also had the Small Faces rehearse in an upstairs room. He had also coped with more than his fair share of tragedy. And he could tell you fascinating stories about the past, but was not stuck in it. We frequently talked about politics and current affairs, and he taught me a lot; in return he seemed to enjoy it when I shared some of my knowledge on subjects close to my heart such as birds and nature.
But even more than all the things we enjoyed in conversation, he was caring, warm and generous, a great father to his immensely talented sons, and he allowed me to feel so included, being supportive and interested in what I was doing too, and I valued that. I just wish I could pop round for a cup of tea with him now and tell him - but I think, and hope, he knew.
I shall miss him greatly.