R.I.P., Simon Hobart

A lovely man, who brought a lot of fun and happiness to a lot of people, died today.

I don't have any kind of moral authority to write this. I barely knew Hobie personally. He was usually just a familiar figure in the DJ booth at Popstarz or the front desk at Ghetto. We only spoke a handful of times, when he was handing me free tickets, or through my housemates, true friends of his who today are dealing with a tragic loss.

There is a shameful hesitancy to say that he was a great man. After all, a handful of club nights over the years and a couple of gay bars, joints for selling alcohol and venue of countless pointless hookups, is that really so noble?

But to think so is to miss the point. To me, Popstarz is not just a venue, not just another dancefloor. It has been my second home, my sanctuary and my playground, site of countless hours of fun and pure, unadulterated delight at the sheer joy of the music and dance. For me and the dozens of others of regulars, there is nothing shameful or sleazy about those hours spent lost in our own safe, silly other world. And there was even nobility, like the day after the July 7th bombings, when Simon opened the club anyway, knowing enough people would never turn up to make a profit on the night, as a symbolic gesture. See if you do anything so worthwhile before you are forty.

The man who built my playground was a great man, and he is gone. He will be missed.