so. farewell, then, Hurricane.
over the next few days, weeks and months there will no doubt be many who will pick away at the memory of Alex Higgins, doing "tell all" stories and piling as much dirt on for personal profit as they can. some will be valid, genuine stories of the damage he did, for he was no angel, but many shall be inflated, not entirely accurate ones to cash in.
i'm not going to be an apologist for his bad ways, but i am instead going to celebrate the wonderful character he was. he, more than anyone else, elevated a distinctly minority and somewhat shady sport to national and international attention. Higgins was a wildman, one of those "once in a lifetime" characters who was blessed with a dazzling skill match by an outlandish and outrageous way of living.
yeah, sure, the drinking, smoking and random acts of violence tarnish him for many and, probably, helped bring about his demise. i'd like to think, though, that some of us still live in a world where we can celebrate what he did, not harp on about where it "went wrong".
as for iconic images, well, few can match the emotion of this one from the early 80s.
one of my fondest Alex related memories shall forever be the afternoon me and Richard watched a video biography of him. there was an absolutely ace section which went into detail about a time in the 80s where he decided to "clean up" for a bit. no bad thing, but if you wanted to keep a low profile and try and stay off the sauce for a while, should you really have considered going to stay with Oliver "Ollie" Reed, no matter how good a mate he was?
the story of drinking pints of aftershave to prove that they were not "chicken" was particularly striking!
well, in a day and age where all in his field and beyond are expected to be clean, sober role models, i dare say that we shall really not see the likes of Hurricane again.
rest in peace, fiery Irishman, the world is a duller place without you.