Changing of the Guard

Eddie Goldsmith

The initial intention of this article was going to be a tribute to the late great Alan Rickman, and by every measure he would absolutely deserve it. He is a pivotal character in one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time. Every year, when I sit down after a delicious lunch and settle in with the family to enjoy yet another heartening and moving session of Die Hard, I’m always more and more impressed with his performance as Canadian/Austrian terrorist Hans Gruber.

Without Rickman’s captivating performance, we may have never had so many years of angry Bruce Willis on our screens.

He plays the Voice of God in my favourite Kevin Smith film Dogma, and is forever ingrained in Harry Potter fans’ minds as their most beloved widow-peaked Edgar Allen Poe impressionist. He also drives the best plot line in this romance movie called Love Actually or something, but that’s neither here nor there. I could easily write for hours on my appreciation and love for the brilliant actor and person that Alan Rickman was, but his passing piqued something else in me.

They say that the Angel of Death comes in threes, and with the recent passing of the influential Lemmy Kilmister, the transcendent David Bowie and now the indelible Alan Rickman, I’m hoping that, for the time being, life decides to take a break from picking off my idols.

But that’s just it: life doesn’t stop for anyone. Not even our heroes. 

I think maybe it’s just a passage. As we get older, the lucky few of us who remain will have the bittersweet opportunity to watch our role models pass us by. If I’m fortunate enough not to die first, I'll watch the people who have had a hand in shaping who I am, and who have exacted a lasting impact on my life, pass away before me. Such is life. Some say you die twice: once when your heart stops beating, and then again when someone utters your name for the last time. Haunting.

Now, if you’ve reached this point and you’re thinking, ‘Gee, this guy really knows how to be a Debbie Downer,’ then I have two things to say to you.

One: I’m sorry if your name is Debbie.

Two: Maybe, but I disagree in this instance.

The people who we look up to, in my opinion, never really fade away. They can’t. They live on by the influence they’ve had on us. Many of the decisions we make and a portion of the ideas we come up with are linked, whether directly or indirectly, to the idols who have helped to shape our personalities. Having said that, I can’t write this article and say that I haven’t been thinking about how totally inadequate I would feel if someone like Alan Rickman read it.

‘Ugh, another suburban white kid trying to give a deep perspective on life. Spare me.’

Well, yeah, there’s no real denying that, but no one hands you a guidebook on how to deal with these obstacles. There will come a time when all my heroes are long gone, whether they’re actors, musicians, family or friends, yet much of what I am will remain a complicated concoction of all of these people. I shouldn’t allow their passing to affect my perspective or mood; instead, I should think of it as an opportunity to reflect on the rich lives they led.

I can’t help but think back to my time in London, which is coincidentally the hometown of both Bowie and Rickman. To me, mortality is like that seemingly-eternal monarch’s daily ceremony outside her lavish Fortress of Solitude, otherwise known as Buckingham Palace. 

It may seem like different faces and fresh legs, but each time it’s just a changing of the guard.

Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.