The passing of John Hurt on 25 January, made me wonder if 2017 would be as awful to our favourite celebrities as 2016 was. I found out about his death by accident.
I’m currently re-watching Merlin on Netflix in which Hurt voices the dragon. I’m watching the Season 4, episode Aithusa with James Callis and thought I’d do a quick Google search to see what James is up to these days. His Twitter revealed the sad news.
Very sad to learn of the death of John Hurt. Our condolences to his family and friends at this horrible time. But also celebrating his life! pic.twitter.com/a3USHWW8oV
— TeamEddie (@TeamEdwardJO) January 28, 2017
John Hurt first came to my attention when I was still just malleable cookie dough, my young brain waiting to be filled with all the knowledge of the world. I watched the film The Naked Civil Servant and discovered a few things.
I like interesting voices
From the first-time John Hurt opened his mouth on screen, I realised that interesting voices were going to be a thing for me. Be they deep and booming, or soothingly husky and laced with sarcasm, I would fall in love with a voice long before I saw the face that went with it.
Up until this point in my young life, I was pondering whether being a tomboy might mean I was homosexual because playground talk was that ridiculous that nobody knew exactly what the word meant but it could still be used as a slur on any fragile young character. After watching The Naked Civil Servant, I became aware of a section of society that was persecuted for being different. I was already going through a David Bowie phase so different was my middle name. I believe this is when the ‘little activist that could’ started growing inside me.
Cleaning my room
As I mentioned above, I was still cookie dough so the biggest takeaway from this film was what Quintin had to say about dust: “There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years, the dirt doesn’t get any worse.” I often wondered if this were true and remember trying this new found ‘fact’ out on my mum when she was nagging me one late Saturday afternoon about why I still hadn’t tidied my room.
It’s safe to say she was unimpressed. The conversation went along the lines of “stop talking rubbish and get up tidy your room.”
I remember visiting a friend whose parents had been away. She was frenziedly cleaning the house before they returned and had roped me in to help. I remember telling her not to worry because “after five inches the dust doesn’t get any higher”. I always wondered where I got that gem from and now I remember, I had bastardised a quote from Quintin Crisp.
Quinten Crips may have been my first John Hurt memory but it wasn’t the last. From Harry Potter to Doctor Who, he was a great actor with a beautiful voice who will be sorely missed.