My friend and colleague Alan Bligh passed away on Friday 26th May.
Obviously it is difficult to sit here and write these words, trying to marshal my thoughts as a blank screen stares back at me, willing me to type something, anything. It seems appropriate to begin when I first became acquainted with Alan, which as a lot of my friendships have done, came through my employment at Games Workshop.
In the summer of 2010 I began working as a Graphic Designer in Forge World, where the Dark Lord, as he was affectionately known from time to time, served as the lead writer on the Imperial Armour series of books. Being a tight knit team, I worked closely with him and struck up a rapport with him based on our mutual love of sci-fi/horror/fantasy b-movies, history, politics and general culture, both low, high and pop. In fact there was barely a rare factoid or piece of useless, but always interesting trivia that Alan couldn’t summon up from his vast well of esoteric knowledge.
We discovered that we both shared a great fondness for Nottingham’s Broadway arts cinema, due to its habit of occasionally showing our favourite genre pictures and hosting the annual Mayhem horror film festival, the various offerings of which spurred on several reviews on this very blog.
Alan was a man big in both spirit and generosity as well as intellect. He was always ready to give his time, his talent and his thoughts to anyone who had need of them whether in the office or outside of it. Our many long chats over countless cups of tea (always tea!) about films, literature and toy soldiers provided the major inspiration and impetus for me to start this blog, so in a small way I hope that its existence serves as a tribute to him.
There have already been several heartfelt, and doubtless more eloquent eulogies to Alan’s memory than what I have put down here, written by those who were closer to him than I. In particular those published on the blogs of messrs John French and Aaron Dembski-Bowden, both very close friends to Alan, give a true measure of his character in a way that my humble prose can in no way hope to evoke.
His passing leaves a gaping hole, not only in the lives of his family and friends, but also in the Games Workshop hobby that he loved so much, and the invaluable contribution that he made to its fictional lore through his prose.
For those who knew Alan well, and those who enjoyed only a cursory acquaintance with him, down to those countless individuals across the world who never had to chance to meet Alan, but continue to be immersed and fascinated by the work that he has left behind, the news of his passing has been met with obvious shock, sadness, but also many beautiful words. Which is more than fitting for a man who loved the written word so much.
I miss you already my friend.