Obituary: Bob Beckett
We’re sorry to say that long-time Lancaster Branch treasurer Bob Beckett died in October of lung cancer, aged 68. Bob joined the Party around the time of the Miner’s Strike in the early 1980s and was locally famed for his encyclopaedic knowledge of indie music, once beating a gang of five of us hands down at Music Triv. He did his own indie Festive Fifty every year since secondary school, and had the same birthday as his hero John Peel. Many of us were also impressed by his uncanny ability, like the Good Soldier Schweik, to play dumb with state authorities and thereby foil every threat and inducement by benefits staff to find him gainful employment, so that he managed never to have a paid job in 40 years, instead spending his time at home playing records. Bob was a visceral rebel against capitalism, which he saw as pointlessly idiotic, and he was well on the way to becoming that classic socialist archetype, the adorably grumpy old sod, until the big C got him first, but he coped with characteristic philosophy and good humour right up to the end. We’re going to miss him a lot, but we like to think he went on his way with a wheezy chuckle and two fingers still stuck firmly up at the system.