I've often thought we needed a word to describe someone (usually famous) dying whom, until you heard the sad news, you wrongly believed died years ago. From now on, I'm going to call it ‘bilking’ (as in ‘Acker has bilked’).

Acker Bilk

Acker Bilk (1929–2014)

Postscript (04-Nov-2014): Damn! I just told Jen my cool new word, and she immediately pointed out that to bilk is already a verb, meaning to defraud or evade (as in ‘to bilk paying one's bill at a restaurant’). But I reckon carrying on living for years when other people think you're dead is a form of evasion, so I'm sticking with my neologism.



Fitz (30 November 1954–5 June 2014)

My old mate Fitz died on Thursday.

We hadn't seen each other for a few years, but we kept in touch with random, usually hyphenated, insults via email and text message. His final text message to me, sent a couple of weeks ago, read:


At times like these, it's conventional to say nice words about the departed. But, in Fitz's case, this would feel like a betrayal of a long and treasured tradition. So I'll just say:

What an utter tosser!