On Sunday 4th February at 7:00 pm Paul Burwell died in Hull Royal Infirmary.
At his bedside were Ashleigh Marsh, Anne Bean and his two sons, Piers and Titus.
I was there an hour before he passed. Paul died clutching a drum in one hand and a butterfly knife in the other, as I left the hospital John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boogie Chillum’ filled the room, from a small hospital cd player.
It was a beautiful evening and the setting sun streamed through the window of his 3rd floor room in the hospital.
Paul was a great influence for me, and we performed together many times in recent years. My heart felt condolences go out to his nearest and dearest.
I will not attempt to encapsulate his life here in words, as his life was full and multi-faceted. He was always most encouraging about my work, and that meant a great deal to me, from someone who stayed true to his avante garde roots up until the end. Those interested can do a search on the web where you will find many references to Paul’s work and collaborations with a multitude of Artists and musicians, not least of which was the Bow Gamelan Ensemble.
Paul had been unconscious since being found collapsed in Beresford park near the Kingston Rowing Club (his home) a few days earlier. Unpredictable to the end, it is somewhat of a mystery at this point what exactly occurred, Paul confounded the Doctors by living several days longer than they expected.
We will miss you Paul.
Paul was one of the Zoo & Logical Times most enthusiastic supporters and he contributed to the publication in many ways.
He was responsible for giving me my first ever commission for a project as part of his Hull Rivers Corridor project in 1999. For this I made a film called ‘Births and Deaths’, which was shown in an event at Sculcoates cemetary and also as part of that years Hull Film Festival. I will try and have this film uploaded to youtube in the coming weeks. The opening shot was of Paul disappearing into the mist of a cemetary during the golden hour of dawn. I will always remember the clacking of the Japanese knotweed as Paul hacked his way through it like a Samurai possessed.
Since then we collaborated on many events at the rowing club. The last time I spent with him, we strolled through the park to feed the swans, this was a regular routine of Paul’s and he saw himself as their guardian and protector.
As well as a fine artist and musician, Paul was a consummate showman who always stole the show, even if he were merely an audience member (to the consternation of some).
‘Once met, never forgotten’, is probably an overused phrase to describe people, not in Paul’s case.
At this time there are no funeral arrangements, I will post them here as soon as I find out what they are. In the meantime let off some fireworks and if you like a tipple drink a whiskey to a life lived to the full.
If you have a story about Paul you would like to share, please post it here in the comments or alternatively email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org