Bragging where bragging is due.

Yes, I knew Jeremy Hardy, as a fellow performer and a fellow activist.

I had the privilege of first getting to know him through listening to BBC Radio 4 in the 1990s. His off-key voice singing the wrong lyrics to the right tune, or the right lyrics to the wrong tune, will ring in my ears for a long time. For details of his many accomplishments, go to: BBC News

I also knew Jeremy as a campaigner. As opposed to the many dogmatic left-wingers today, his socialism was not selective, nor was it Palestine-centric.

He was always loving and supportive, lending his wide open ears to my complaints about BBC bias and the stifling of the Palestinian narrative, from which many artists and campaigners have suffered.

The last time I saw Jeremy, much to my shame, was in 2014. We were both taking part in the closing ceremony of the BBC Arabic Film Festival. Jeremy was the presenter, and I, the closing musical act. My lasting memory of that day was twofold:

  1. Our backstage banter. Jeremys humour and innocent smile made the naughtiest gossip feel sweet and kosher;
  2. Jeremys onstage introduction for the awards ceremony. When Fergal Keene subsequently came on the stage to present the awards, he thanked Jeremy and mischievously suggested that most of the speech would end up on the edit suite floor (which of course it did).

Yes, many of Jeremys comments, especially about Palestine were probably often edited out. But his comic genius, undisputed talent, dry wit and musical gift of the gab will remain with us, with a pinch of sweet salt.

Rest in peace, dear comrade!

Reem Kelani

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