A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about suicide in the dental profession and at lunchtime today, I heard that Keith Flint of The Prodigy had taken his own life.
I think it's safe to say that I wasn't a fan of The Prodigy, but I'd seen them live 3 times and it was the last show, about 6 months ago, that their magic finally clicked with me. Keith Flint was a true star. I know that no one is likely to be comparing him to Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney, but for his generation, the Jilted Generation, he was the icon of his genre.
Anytime I think of The Prodigy, it reminds me of 1996 and going over to the UK for my first orthodontics job when Firestarter was in the charts and the following year when I started my specialist training programme and went to see The Prodigy at Newcastle Arena with a couple of guys from the orthodontic laboratory in Sunderland Hospital. On that occasion, the plan was that we'd try and blag our way into the standing area as the other guys were intent on a mad mosh at the front. I wasn't feeling the best and was in no mood to be on the wrong side of security, or be crushed to a pulp, so I just took my seat. The night was full of intense music, delivered in a way completely new to me, and when I met up with the other two I found them breathless and soaking in sweat. Much of it not of their own making.
He was 49.
Which is about twice the age I was when I first heard the Prodigy, but younger than I am now. Today is my birthday, and people give you jibes and smiles and jokes about getting older, but really, that is a great thing when compared to the alternative. Maybe it was because of the day that was in it for me, I was shocked to hear the news about him, and that surprised me. During the great celebrity cull of 2016, there were many deaths in the music world, quite often of people I had spent many hours listening to, but few upset me as much as hearing the news today about Keith Flint.
I think it might be that I have always associated him with so much energy to unleash that this was such a surprise.
I have no idea what went on in his life - though apparently it was a full one, as today I heard about his park-running, boxing, ju-jitsu, parachuting, house restoration and motorcycle team. By all accounts he was a lovely person that had been nothing but nice and supportive to the various people that texted into the radio show I was listening to - and you should definitely read what James Blunt had to say about him, that was a very touching and honest tribute. For that moment in James Blunt's career, Flint was the man I think we all should want to be.
I hope he knew that he was loved by many millions that he would never meet and he was aware of the joy that he had brought them.
He was clearly a man with much to give to the world and the fact that he denied himself all his future made this tragically sad.
A wizard, a true star.