Skip to main content

William (Bill) Lloyd Has Died

Sad news.  William (Bill) Lloyd has died.  Bill was the Porter, for the past 18 years, of the Leith Mansion Blocks in Maida Vale - a job he took on in retirement.  He was in his 80s, but hard-working and fit.  As a younger man he'd been a gymnast and fitness trainer with the British Army (SAS), then a professional footballer with Luton, so he retained that sense of physical confidence.  Bill was friendly and liked a drink in his beloved sports club down the road.  He had met his partner (20 years his junior) in his late 50s, at a pub, and they instantly connected, as both loved sports.  He enjoyed spending time in Greece, when not on the job.

Bill was an exceptionally dedicated and professional porter, from the old school where politeness and excellence mattered.  He was known to everyone on the street, and in the many flats he looked over.  He made sure that everything was ship-shape, and he didn't tolerate mess, clutter, or too much noise.  He was fiercely proud of Mansions, and their quality and traditions.  He liked to say there had only been two break ins in his whole time on his watch.  Bill and I spoke most days.  He'd stand out on the street, outside his office, greeting deliverymen, post persons, and residents.  He liked to keep an eye on the neighbourhood.  He was serious, but with a wry streak.

He was concerned about people, about the future, and has recently expressed concern about the way the weather was getting bad, in Australia, and elsewhere.  I feel bad now, but I said to him "neither of us will be around to see the worst of it".  I didn't mean to mention mortality, because I thought of him as strong, and immortal.  Bill means a lot to me mainly for one reason - when my wife and I first came to look at our flat, four years or so ago, almost five now, he came out to greet us, and welcome us to the street.  He said we'd love it here - which we do.  His welcome made our decision to move in more secure.  Over these years he was always there, helpful, diligent, and solid as hell.  I'll miss him a great deal.  I am so sorry he has died.  A part of what is best about Wales (where he was born) has died with him.


Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

Sorry to hear about Bill. May he rest in peace! Are you going to the funeral?

Best wishes from Simon & Rusty
Anonymous said…
Beautiful eulogy, Todd.

Nancy x

Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.