What a bastard 2016 was huh?!

So many of our favourite celebrities left us. I’ve noticed friends of mine on facebook ranting that people are dying all over the world yet we don’t hear about them. The sheer fact that these people are tired of hearing about the loss of celebrities is testament to the fact that we’ve lost so many.

For me the ones that pulled at my heartstrings the most were Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman and Prince, simply because these were the ones I grew up admiring so much.

But then there came Carrie Fisher, that one was a real kick in the nuts.

I’ve always loved Carrie Fisher, as most men of my generation do. Of course as a child it was the princess in the gold bikini but in my early twenties I discovered the truly amazing side of Carrie. While watching So Graham Norton, a show where the jolly Irish comedian would bring on celebrities of the past for an interview with a difference. Invariably he would browse the internet with these stars finding the sorts of websites we all like to find when we’re bored. The ones full of crazy and embarrassing people doing odd things, often naked while holding a fish or some other disturbing item.

Carrie came on and it was lovely to see the lady I’d always seen in fairly dignified roles had a great sense of humour too. She started laughing away with Graham and all of a sudden she did something that really impressed me.. she actually suggested websites.. and not only that, they were better than the ones he’d been looking at.

That’s a real star right there. Great sense of humour and no nonsense.

I was delighted last year when she reprised her role as Princess Leia. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and to see her and Harrison Ford perform together was pure gold. When they mentioned the good times I thought I would cry, the only thing stopping me was the fact I was with my friends, no doubt thinking the same thing. They’ll deny that.

Back in January, still buzzing from the wonder that was The Force Awakens, I doodled a little cartoon of Carrie’s dog Gary, the little fella she took everywhere as a therapy dog and tweeted it across to her. I’ve gotta say the Jedi look suited him. She retweeted, and amazingly it proved to be one of my most popular caricatures to date.

So the year went by, celebrities were dropping like flies and even sanity seemed to die in the US.. but that’s a whole other blog post.

Just when you think 2016 hadn’t been enough of a rectal exam there came that horrible news just before Christmas that Carrie Fisher had a heart attack flying back from London. Once I heard she was stable in hospital I thought they way we all do with celebrities, “She’ll come round” no problem. Sadly not.

Sitting with friends having a post Christmas drink one of them said she’d died and immediately my phone buzzed.. and then again.. and again. Likes and retweets for that silly little doggie doodle I’d drawn in January began once more.

gary

It’s never the way an artist wants to see their work spread around the world but I got a touching and constant feed to my phone for the love of Carrie Fisher.

So many comments came through from people saying the picture had made them cry.. don’t think that’s something one of my caricatures has ever done before! One of my favourite comments was,

“Gary makes an excellent Jedi! I’m sure Carrie is in heaven smiling now and thanking you!”

Since then, Carrie’s mother Debbie Reynolds has died too.. so awfully tragic, that poor family.

2016, get lost and don’t come back.

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