It was a shock to learn of the sudden death last Friday of the journalist and broadcaster Ian Hill.
It’s often said when a hack (as he would often wryly refer to himself as) passes on, that he or she had made an important contribution to their particular field, or would be missed among a wider circle than one would expect.
All of that may be true in all cases — it’s possible — but it is absolutely true of Ian Hill. The missing has started already — his distinctive accounts of the City of Culture success due in 2013 will sadly remain unwritten and there will be many launches, opening nights and small dos the length and breadth of Ulster that will register his absence in the coming weeks and months. In music, architecture, heritage, visual arts, literature, drama and opera, Ian has left his mark as critic and as an enabler, on the boards and in the stalls.
A prolific travel writer and celebrant of his native places, be it Fermanagh or Lecale, an adventurer among the off-beat as well as the refined, he was a genuine ‘man about town’, a role he carried out for the Belfast Telegraph, in the best sense of the term.
The finer things in life have lost one of their most diligent advocates.