By Rob Allanson

Fond Memories

Rob reflects on the events of the last couple of months
Well I had so much to share in this column this time round. The time between my ramblings has been pretty packed.The summer has been peppered with firsts, not just me but for my daughter as well – her first long haul flight and dip in the pacific.My string of firsts started with a tasting of the new liquid soon to be released by Highland Park which is pretty stunning; enjoying a cracking new Japanese blended malt, being involved in choosing Ian Macleod’s next cigar malt and visiting the Victoria Single Malt club in British Columbia, Canada.But all this became a distant fond memory in the instant that I walked into Damian’s office, realised something dreadful had happened and the news about Michael Jackson broke.Although Michael had been ill for some time, his passing was still a shock for all those who knew him. I don’t think that however ill someone is that you can prepare for the moment they are gone.I knew Michael for just a short three years. While we often differed on what the term deadline meant I knew I could rely on that phrase uttered in his dulcet Yorkshire tones: “When have I let you down?” Never is the answer. His final column was submitted well before the deadline.For me he was a great source of knowledge and never tired of my questions about the industry, and was always quick to offer a night out in London – curry, beer and a dram – something I deeply regret not managing to take up.I am no stranger to grief. Believe me this is not a boast and something that I wish I could change, but only being human I cannot, and we all have to deal with the hand that life deals us.My heart goes out to Michael’s close friends and family who now have to try and get on with life without such a stalwart figure beside them.I don’t have any advice, it would be crass of me to offer it, because I think everyone has to deal with loss in his or her own way – and there is no right or wrong.Avery close friend of mine handed me a CD of songs last year at Whisky Live Glasgow. We shared the same loss and his thoughts had surfaced in a tune. It features the beautiful and stunning line ‘Haunt me again so you never go.’ It captures what I am trying to say.You miss someone so much you wish with every fibre that they would still be there to help you. If you take some quiet time you can hear their voice and touch, and you know that no matter how long it’s been those loved ones are never far away.I would like to hope that Michael would appreciate this ramble, seeing eye to eye as we did on matters of journalism and writing from the left field. I shall miss him.