R.I.P Terry Wogan.
As anyone who has read my book Gatecrashing Europe will already know, Terry Wogan was the man who inspired everything for me, just by presenting the Eurovision Song Contest on the BBC. In a world without Terry Wogan and his Eurovision, Gatecrashing Europe would never have been written. Without Terry, I doubt that I would have lived in Italy, Slovenia, Spain and wouldn’t currently be in France. Without him, I wouldn’t be an English teacher. And without him, I wouldn’t speak the languages that I now do. He was genuinely a hero of mine as a kid, and remains so up to this day. So much so that the first two words in my book are ‘Terry Wogan’, in the title of the first chapter, no less. Because as I said, he was the inspiration behind it all, instilling in me at a very young age a love and fascination for all things across the water. I went out there to find it all, all because of that man and his personality, wit and charm.
So I am genuinely sad today to wake up to the news that he has died. I know we all have to go at some point, but I thought Terry was different. I thought he was immortal. Like Highlander, only Irish.
Over the past month or so my publisher Valley Press had been trying to get a copy of Gatecrashing Europe into Terry’s hands, for no other reason than I thought it would make him smile to read about the influence he had. They let me know that they were finding it difficult. I wish that we had managed to get one to him before he became ill.
For those of you that haven’t read Gatecrashing Europe and don’t know the influence that I am talking about, these are the opening words of the book:
And a bit later in the chapter I write: “It took just a couple of months working a night shift in a Marks and Spencer’s to save enough money to make my next move and in February 2004, armed with a teaching certificate and £1000 in cash, I flew one-way to Ljubljana where I rented a cheap studio flat, found myself playing football for a team in the national league and got myself a job at the country’s best known language. And all because Terry Wogan had planted that seed in my young, impressionable mind.”
All because of Terry.
I’ve just been reading some of Terry’s best quotes, and I’ll finish this little tribute with my three favourites:
“I don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a major musical event. I love the Eurovision Song Contest and it will continue long after I’m gone. Just please don’t ask me to take it seriously.”
“Go out and face the world secure in the knowledge that everybody else thinks they are better looking than they are as well.”
“If the present Mrs Wogan has a fault – and I must tread carefully here – this gem in the diadem of womanhood is a hoarder. She never throws anything out. Which may explain the longevity of our marriage.” – I live with a great woman who also happens to be a hoarder, so this one I can relate to more than any other.
Terry, you will be missed.
To read the whole of that chapter Terry Wogan Plants A Seed, click here
And click here
to find out more about the book or to order one. 10 per cent of all royalties go to Cancer Research UK, which, considering the sad way in which Terry has been taken from us, is pretty apt.