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Hey Colin!

Hope things are going well, up there in the celestial bar where the beer is always flowing and the biro never runs dry.  It’s been a whole year.  We all miss you down here.  Sometimes we forget to miss you, and then we turn to tell you something funny we heard and it’s like a suckerpunch to the gut that you’re not there.  You are the empty seat at our panel table, the quiet Facebook page, the Twitter stream fallen silent.  I miss all that.

I miss you, and I’m annoyed with you for not sticking around and writing more stories.  That last tweet, the one where you were staring at it trying to make the story pull together? It still hangs there, a moment’s thought frozen in time, as if at any moment you could come back from the kitchen with your cup of tea and pick up where you left off.  I want to know how it ended, dammit!

And this is the point where you elbow me in the ribs and tell me not to get maudlin, to grab you another beer, one with a silly name.  You take the piss out of Nick a bit, ask me how the writing’s going, suggest we should do a THING.  You were always suggesting Things We Should Do, and I, like an amiable twit, was always agreeing to them.  Gareth does his best to get me into trouble, but he doesn’t have the talent for it that you did.  Few people do.  I think my last words to you, pretty much, were “I hope you appreciate that this is all your fault!”

Harry Harrison died yesterday.  He’s probably on his way up there now, expecting the beers to be on you.  I know you were a fan, I read your dedication.  He said to you, “Why don’t you just do it?”  And you did.  And you said the same, or similar words of encouragement, to everyone who crossed your path, with a smile and a wink and a mischievous nudge.  We’re all still doing it.  But it was good to have you around delivering us all a swift and cheerful kick up the backside.

We’re putting together a book for you.  Short stories, funny stories, stories about beer, and pubs, and space ships.  You’d enjoy it.  And BristolCon is expanding exponentially, like The Blob.  That’s your fault too! You’re Ghost of Honour this year, which doesn’t mean running around with a white sheet of your head over your head acting all Scooby-Doo, but it probably means we need to drink a pint in your honour.  Another one.

So things are going well, but they’d be better if you were here enjoying them with us.  Like I said, there’s a Colin-shaped gap that can’t be filled.  We still miss you a whole lot.

Crack open a couple of beers with Harry, and enjoy.

Loads of love,