Monday, 5 September 2011

Tom Hibbert

Just wanted to say how saddened I was to hear of the passing of Tom Hibbert. To anyone who came through Emap Metro in the 1980/90s, he was THE man, an absolute genius of a writer, whom we all wanted to emulate and unashamedly 'attempted' to plagiarise. Hibbert-isms are everywhere still. His "Who The Hell...?" pieces for Q are legend. I was reading one online a minute ago, Roger Waters from 1992. Priceless.

As features editor of Empire in the early 90s I had a few dealings with Tom. As the new-found "Q of film", it was natural that Empire should seek his services as a writer. He was dispatched to interrogate the great and good (Meryl Streep amongst others, if I remember) and always delivered... though never, ever on bloody time. It was a given that, come deadline day, and with the magazine due for printing, there would be a gaping hole where Tom's copy should be. And where on earth was he? Nobody had heard from him?

I recall trying to track him down once after he'd gone typically AWOL with a piece looming and even his wife didn't know where he was. He'd simply driven off, under pressure, only to call in from a roadside phone box up north, some days later, faint and pained, but just in the nick of time. I think you can say he suffered for his art. But he was always brilliant. And FUNNY. I'd often wondered what had happened to him. It's a great loss.

Apt that the Roger Waters piece should crop up. In a way, Tom Hibbert was journalism's Syd Barrett. Shine on.

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