The most precious things in the world are those things that are irreplaceable in our lives. We are gathered here today to say farewell to one. Irreplaceable in his talent. Irreplaceable in our hearts. Irreplaceable in his truth. There’s a lyric in a Jackson Browne song that says, “Does it take a death to learn what a life is worth?” No. Not in this case. I think we were all aware at every stage just what Alex Scott was worth in our lives. I will miss that golden voice that could even make the reading of the telephone book sound profound. I will miss his shining talent that I was honoured to have witnessed in full flight. But most of all I’ll miss his friendship. His smile. His wicked sense of humour. The twinkle in his eye.

His thoughts. His priceless stories. The look on his face when he listened to Beethoven. And that laugh that I was fortunate enough to capture on film. I will also miss his honesty. In this business of show where people tell you what they think you want to hear, and then distort the facts behind your back, Alex was a beacon of truth. If you received a compliment from him, you knew he meant it. I was fortunate to have received a very big compliment from him about a film I’d done. I still bask in that glow. But, perhaps to balance me, at the screening of my next project he told me, in his most measured tones, that he felt it was “a piece of shit”.

To paraphrase that lyric again, “There’s no way I could tell you what he meant to me.”

Perhaps his most fitting epitaph is written in the words of Antony lamenting the death of Marcus Brutus… ”This was the noblest Roman of them all. His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: “This was a man!”…
Recently, there was a funeral for the preacher who, along with the members of his Bible reading class, was the victim of another senseless gunspree in the U.S. and President Obama attended to eulogise him. To papaphrase – he said – “I could spend a lot of time listing this man’s triumphs, noting his awards, his acts of kindness, naming the many whose lives were changed due to his compassion. But – perhaps there is no greater accolade than the following – This was a good man. And he lived a good life. And we are better for having known him”. Rest in peace, dear Alex.

Good night, sweet prince. I’m going to miss you every day.

(c) Frank Howson July 2015


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