46 Comments

Goodbye Paul Brickhill

So that’s it, we’ve lost him. The best of the best, ZimPaul has passed, aged just 56.

I honestly don’t know what to say or how to say it. Paul was so great with words it seems to me that the least he deserve is someone better than me to pay tribute to him. He was among other things a supreme wordsmith. He was eloquent, funny, respectful, knowledgeable, in short he was everything that all of us should strive to be.

Paul lived a life so full that most of us could barely imagine it. Including being a spy. Yes a real spy.

I first came across Paul when we were resident on A Cultured Left Foot. I agreed with everything he said and he with me. The difference though was Paul never got personal, he spoke his mind and it was based on his love for the club and his understanding of football. He was civil to everyone, no matter what their opinions. Of course he didn’t have to be rude, he was smarter than all of us, he had an unfair advantage.

When we set up camp at Positively Arsenal he came with us. Supported us, helped me and advised me. His comments were so good that each one could have been a blog post in itself. In fact quite often I would delete a post of his only to publish it the next day as an article.

Here again is the last post he made

ZimPaulSeptember 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm Edit

Hi folks. I’m just writing to say hello. It is not clear whether or when I could post again. Long story, medical-related. I’ve been in intensive care unit for some weeks, now home.

I just wanted to say what a lovely experience it has always been, on PA and the earlier vintage, meeting you, chatting and engaging. I consider a number of people here my very good friends, over many years.

Wellbeck was always going to be controversial, AW and Co settled on 16m, a tidy amount so rest assured AW rates him extremely highly already. I doubt, like a few deals it was any kind of a short term damage control idea, but an idea AW has been mooting for a while, fast-forwarded by the injury. As usual, shrewd.

We haven’t played to potential, and yet, with a tricky start, we have not lost. Now a testing run to come! We look good. Theo to come, a few fitness issues here and there.

Otherwise, a team to truly admire; balanced, fast, exciting, bold. I have to say I have been impressed with Jack too, even though he has been criticized. His work rate is good, his passing and movement is better then one thinks (he makes it look easy). He is a star, and he will get better as he gets playing time.

Chambers is probably the best buy and most important decision we have made, all things considered, exceptional, immaculate, controlled (player) and clever (the manager). I tip my old hat to AW! I never heard of him. I am so impressed at his game.

Bye Arsenal friends!
Love you lots!
ZimPaul “

Its actually is typical of the man and shows what a class act he was. I will miss him and we must never forget him.

Love you Paul.

Now, I’ll tell you what the great man would want, he would want us to chat about the Chelsea game and carry on supporting the club, the manager, and the team he loved.

46 comments on “Goodbye Paul Brickhill

  1. like all great men Paul left his mark on those he left behind. From your words George and those of others on PA I can see he was a special person who has acheived much in his life. A life that can be celebrated rather than the mundane drift most of us seem to muster. RIP Paul

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very well said George, Paul was one of the best, without a doubt.

    Paul was one of the first ever overseas fans I conversed with via Yogi’s pages on ACLF and as George alludes to, as ZimPaul, he was capable of setting an example to us all with his calm, measured but uncondescending comments.

    When the heat was turned up in debates, his own contribution stood out a mile thanks to his non-personalisation of the issue(s) of the day, his ability to debate without appearing to argue and the absence of the need to score points over others. As such the dignity of the man will only ever dignify our memories.

    I don’t think it’s too contentious to suggest we can probably all learn something from the great man.

    Thanks, Paul, it was always a pleasure learning from you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. ZimPaul’s own words describing Chambers and Wenger in his last post fit him better than any I can come up with: exceptional, immaculate, controlled and clever.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. thanks george for a great post in honour of even a greater person. paul was a consummate writer. an erudite scholar, a real arsenal man of the best breed. he was a star on PA as he was on aclf. it was always hard or even foolish to disagree with paul. he was always in control of his emotion and handled defeat better than anyone i ever know. if we feel his demise this much on PA how much more his family members?
    if by chance anyone of his family do visit this place, i condole withthem at this difficult time. may the Lord give them the fortitude to bear his loss.
    adieu paul! we love you even in death.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nice post in honour of a great man! R.I.P Paul!
    Wrt the game, I’m quite optimistic about it but I can understand why there is so much apprehension from most gooners (doomers mostly). Yes, we did get stuffed last season and they’ve had a good start to their season but, as Arsene observed, football matches is not based on history but on the performance of the day! We have a few players of our our own to keep Chelsea honest and I expect moureen to revert to his standard “small team” mentality when he faces a decent side. I predict 2-1 in favour of Arsenal!

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  6. Better words than I could ever type, George. thank you.

    This is devastating news for us, his on-line community of friends.
    His family and close friends have lost a truly remarkable man. We have all been privileged to have known him.

    I am really happy that Paul saw Arsene Wenger and this new young Arsenal team finally lift that FA cup in May, Paul knew.

    ZimPaul is one of the very few people whom I could imagine Arsene listening to intently about football, and any other subject from Paul.

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  7. Well done George: you got that just right. We will keep the torch ZimPaul handed to us burning brightly.

    And as he would wish, on to the Bridge tomorrow afternoon, and with a significantly different team to the one that we took there last March. Lets hope that Alexis, Welbeck, Ozil and Wilshere can all add grit and mobility to the mix.

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  8. So sad,Paul was always that touch of class above the rest of us,I’ll miss him,a true gentleman,I think George has said what we all feel.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Not only have you got all the right words George, you have them in the right order.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. George, this has got to be your best work yet. It was the perfect post to celebrate a great man and someone we would do well to emulate in regards to his respectful approach to everyone and especially the club. A true supporter.

    Come on Arsenal, give Paul the perfect send off tomorrow with a victory over the blue menace.

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  11. Well said George and Mel you have echoed my thoughts. The awful news provoked these thoughts from me http://wp.me/p2wifr-mp

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  12. Thank you for this post George.
    My thoughts are with Paul’s family and loved ones.

    We were lucky and I am grateful that this medium gave us a brief opportunity to know Paul through our shared love of the Arsenal. Yogi could probably write a book composed from Paul and Frank’s comments describing their love affairs with the Arsenal and London. A very good book. It’s what internet football forums were invented for: proper footy “banter”. Stories about spy’s like us and their love affair that began with the Arsenal during the glory days of the early eighties and seventies (or earlier…). Not for mob fed witch hunts conducted or organised against Football People by people who don’t have the footballs to call out the owners that they don’t like/agree with/work for.

    Paul said that the role of the artist is to expose the hypocrisies that exist in society. It is therefore no wonder that he understood so well, better then most, the man who more then any other in modernity has exposed and continues to expose the hypocrites in Football.

    “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.” A Wenger

    RIP Paul

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Thank you George, from the bottom of my heart, for this outstanding tribute to Paul on behalf of PA and all of us who knew him here and earlier at ACLF. I am especially touched by Steww’s blog which he linked us to. Being an artist Paul would have been proud that you both took the time to write such outstanding literary tributes. The truth is nothing written is false, phony and overstated as often is the case when we are obligated to find something good to say about the dead. To the contrary Paul was an outstanding human being with formidable achievements as a political activist and promoter of popular culture in Zimbabwe. We had the privilege of sharing with him our mutual passion for Arsenal Football Club. At least he had the opportunity to tell us goodbye and to affirm his confidence in the future of the club. Hopefully we at PA maintain that positive spirit he brought to this forum. A luta continua!

    Liked by 6 people

  14. The loss I feel at Paul’s passing is exactly the same as I fell for “real life” people.
    I feel as close to on-line friends as I do to people I have friendships with and have known for years. Indeed I interact with people on line sometimes several times per day. Some “real life” friends I don’t hear from or contact for years on end.
    This could be a mistake, as without seeing expressions or body language there is no way of knowing if your feelings are reciprocated. You can be left high and dry or betrayed at any moment. But that’s true of any friendship.
    I like that I feel my life is enriched by on-line friendships and I value then greatly.Friendship is the most valuable thing in life to me. Why not enjoy it?

    Liked by 3 people

  15. really well said…. so so sad…. cant really type much… R.I.P. ZimPaul… Really feel for his family when we that were more afar off feel his loss so keenly!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. To borrow from Paul’s words above, a man – and a tribute – to truly admire.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I did not know ZimPaul in the way so many of you did, here on PA, but if a man is known by the eulogies of his friends then in life, as online, he was a very special human being indeed, and in death his memory has set an example that all would do well to attempt to emulate.

    Condolences to his family and friends.

    RIP

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I can add nothing more to the wonderful words already written about Paul. I can however agree that PG wrote an outstanding eulogy to the man. Thanks PG.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Its odd that Paul is still teaching us things even now.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Anyone want to write tomorrows preview?

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  21. George @ 3:41pm: Learning to write eulogies (banned smiley thingy)?

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  22. I could write tomorrow preview BG ?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. No Shotta, learning that the way we conduct ourselves leaves a lasting legacy, and we are touched by greatness only truly appreciating it once its gone.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I just read the news on our own blog and immediately rushed over here the home of our spiritual brothers when it comes to positive thinking and Arsenal.
    A touching article. I am a silent reader and hardly ever comment. But this time I want to express my gratitude towards Paul and this blog for being a bright light in a sometimes dark Arsenal world.
    I hope that he will rest in peace. And I hope that his family, relatives and friends will come over this loss.
    On Untold Arsenal we also lost one of our regular writers last year and I know what a shock this must be for you.

    Our thoughts are with you and all who loved Paul.

    Liked by 6 people

  25. George @ 4:00pm – Just my poor attempt at being funny. A little levity is required.

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  26. He was just out of intensive care and he nailed it on Chambers and Welbeck. RIP Zimpaul. You’ll be missed.

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  27. Gains, I know!
    I was a little lost after Paul’s goodbye. I was so grateful he took the time for is when he must have been in great difficulty. If I manage to live with half as much dignity and grace in this world I’ll be happy with myself.

    A builder, a poet, a father, a lover, a freedom fighter, a teacher, an artist, a curator…a hero and an inspiration.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-18210-War+vet,+Book+Café+owner+Brickhill+dies/news.aspx

    Here’s a nice article on our Zimpaul. What an honor to have exchanged words with such a man. Talk about extraordinary.

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  29. Nathan Baker is pretty damn good. Him, Chambers and Tomkins are the future of England at CB. Blackett is still a few years off, but he’s one I like too.

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  30. This is the music Paul’s Book Cafe used to promote.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. In an email letter sent to friends and colleagues on August 18, Paul reflected this peace of mind. He wrote:

    “A 33-year era has – for me – ended, abruptly and dramatically, the next journey of my life already begun. It all started as an outcome of the liberation struggle on our return home in 1980, I was 22 years, heady early days of independence, and promise of our future. Grassroots Books (est. 1981), transformed into the Book Café culture centre (1997) that paved the way for Pamberi Trust (2002), and in turn helped set up African Synergy in 2005. Related and memorable arts included Solidarity Band (a forerunner of the Bhundu Boys) and Luck Street Blues in music, and African Publishers Network APNET and ZIBF, and Anvil Press in books.

    “Virtually my entire close and extended family was either with me or flew to Harare and mounted a 24 vigil at my bedside. Overwhelming really! I find it a little strange to be saying this, but it is true, I feel myself utterly blessed, and in many ways too; this extraordinary, rich life, an African life, so many wonderful, loved people and happenings, my life brim-full with goodness, love, beauty, music, books – and laughter!!! – a new sunset every night, and the majesty and enormity of Africa, the place, peoples, and the “idea”; the strong, vital and decent people whom I have known, who bear life with grace, time longer than rope.

    “Now each day for me is lived simply as it should be, alive and happy to see what the day will bring, the miracle of life, it is not over!

    “I find myself so fortunate to have been in situations where I could do something. I fight on. Aluta continua! African struggles, emancipation and life itself!”

    Courtesy of http://www.zimbojam.com/articles/art-craft/arts-issues/item/1926-paul-brickhill-dies-in-sa-hospital

    Liked by 4 people

  32. What a nice, good man. I am so sad.

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  33. This is a very sad day for the Goonersphere. One of its most articulate, erudite and capacious writers will be missed. My favorite conversation with him was about medieval Spain and its multiethnic and religious character–though I was always interested in his Arsenal comments too. A remarkable person–it’s a real tragedy. All these testimonials have been really moving, both sad and comforting. He’ll be remembered. RIP ZimPaul

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Thank you George for this post and also for your remarks about online friendships in the comments. I concur.

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  35. A great man indeed. Well said George. And that last post by Paul was particularly poignant. He really did have a way with words.

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  36. RIP Paul.

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  37. Just want to say I’ve been here only a couple of times but saw the link to the news on Untold and came over to pay my respects. I never met Paul but what he did for my country shows what a selfless person he was. It was rare, and probably the only cases with his brother, to hear of whites who fought against Rhodesian government in the war of liberation. I visited the Book Café a few times when I still lived in Zimbabwe in the 90s, and what a classy place it was. I had no idea who owned it, but going by the eulogies I’ve read here, easy to see why it was like that. RIP Paul.

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  38. As several here have pointed out, it was a privilege. Paradoxically, when good people die, there’s reason for feeling thankful for what we got as well. And as Pedantic George pointed out, we can continue to learn from them and, in doing so, keep their influence alive. Here on PA, we can ask ourselves, what would ZimPaul do?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. I wasn’t going around the blogs yesterday so came late to the sad news about ZimPaul. I knew him more a few years back on ACLF and always respected his views and comments.

    A tragic loss of a well respected Gooner and all round good guy. A very thoughtful piece George, it must have been difficult to write. RIP Paul Brickhill.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. For anyone wondering the (short) preview is with my publisher

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Goodbye Zimpaul.
    It was so great knowing you and I am going to so miss you.
    The perfect gentleman.
    May your soul rest peacefully.
    GOD bless.

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  42. Oh no. What a loss. A true gent. Knowledgeable and eloquent to the end.
    You will be sorely missed.
    Gooners FOREVER.. RIP. GOOD MATE. ZIMPAUL

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