Posts Tagged ‘Peter Cowan’

Gaunt, emaciated

Can’t hear, can’t see.

But skin soft, silky as ever

Imagination & drama alive, well.

From his Hospice cot, in his delerium

He abuses a taxi driver.

For weeks his hand gently held, caringly stroked.

As he  talks, yells, laughs,imagines.

He breathes

Then, 21 years ago today …

He stops.


This memory is from 1991 and is outside the period it is meant to cover (up to my final year at school) but  …

I was last to arrive at St Vincent’s Hospice on this day. Roger, Mum, Stephen & Phil were outside, on a balcony a little way from Peter’s room. I joined them. As we consoled each other someone announcement:

Max, we had a family meeting and decided the last to arrive today has to do a eulogy at the funeral.

We laughed. I did it … you can find it here.

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Peter Cowan

His strength is often hidden

Under the veil of his

Love for drama and dress-ups.

On stage or off

The dramatic is central to Pete.

But below the guise

A growing sense of self

And understanding that

Being open and forthright

Will mean

Discrimination & derision.

But his strength permits integrity.

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Peter the Provocateur

Is also Peter the Performer.

On stage,

As Mr Bumble

Commanding. threatening presence.

Oliver: Please sir, I want some more.
Peter (Mr Bumble): WHAT?  MORE?

Tone escalates – deep rumble to screech

Transforms into song

While cruelly twisting the ear of young Oliver.

Relishing song & ear-twist.



This performance was a couple of years after the 1968 film of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! but Peter was great in the role that Harry Secombe played in the film. And this opening sequence is one where Pete performance really shone.

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All’s peaceful, calm

3 brothers watching TV, doing homework

Or playing a game.

Add to the mix.

There’s an uproar, chaos, fights & cries.

The ingredient …


Just for fun,

He kicks the book you’re reading,

Turns off the TV, or the light.

Then hollers screeches “Murder!” at any riposte.

Pete the Provocateur!


* Peter – the 2nd youngest.

Speaking of “ingredients” this could be his recipe:

6 drops of essence of terror, 5 drops of sinister sauce, a tincture of tenderness (oops too much).

Milton the Monster was shown on TV up until about 1967. It wasn’t a favourite.

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