He used to be on here quite a long time ago. Some of you might have known him. I'm sad to say he was found dead on new year's eve. Woke up dead would be more accurate.
I knew him at first primarily through writing and poetry. But he had his more than fair share of climbing stories of the near death variety.
He was one of those generous people who would reach out in the small hours if he thought you were struggling. Just like Sutty and Andy Pollitt. All gone now.
All my respects to him, and my condolences to his family. I'll miss him.
Very sad - I remember his posts very well, one of the many different voices that were such a feature a few years ago. Always hoped to get a days cragging, it never happened of course.
I loved Steve's contributions to the poetry threads in particular. He had an approach to writing and creativity which challenged many of my preconceptions, plus a great sense of humour. The off-the-cuff poems he could come up with within minutes of being given a theme were extraordinary.
Like many others I miss his presence here. Rest in peace Steve.
Thanks for posting this, David. I became friends with Steve having 'met' him here and we became Admins of a poetry forum (along with weaver who used to post on the poetry threads). He was a phenomenal poet and had an incredible mind. I remember him trying to protect Norrie Muir from reacting to trolls so he wouldn't get banned. In recent years he put his writing skills to use, gaining a first class degree followed by a distinction at MA in creative writing. I will miss his writing but will miss his humour and kind heart more.
Very sad news and condolences for family and friends, but thanks for the heads up. People who do quiet good work are the real heros of humanity.
For those unaware of the poetry threads this was the last long one...
Oh hell, that's sad news.
We got on well in the poetry threads and I occasionally thought about getting back in touch. Was sorry I never met him as he didn't make it to the "poets climbing meets" I went to. He seemed to go through a rough patch about then, so I'm glad to hear he was doing so well recently, but terribly sad that I'm only hearing about it now in light of this news.
Have missed his voice in the poetry threads and will miss seeing his writing.
He kept a blog with some of his writing-
Last post was on Boxing Day. Such a damn shame he’s gone.
Thanks for that, Bob. Will go and have a look.
Was also going to ask upordown about a link to the poetry forum - I used to belong to it but lost touch long ago, I seem to remember he had some good work on there too.
As you say, such a shame and a loss.
I'm afraid the poetry forum stopped some time ago. The owner of the site went off travelling and left us in charge but didn't transfer ownership so we eventually ran into problems with not being able to update the software. He was one of the seven poets who contributed to this book. I don't know if you can still get hold of it. He hated the title! https://books.google.com.ag/books?id=UtoLSgAACAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s
so sad. i don't have much interest in poetry but his humanity shone through his prolific postings when i first joined the forum. a memorable thread was : https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/where_does_the_name_'britain'_come_from-153599
don't know why he disappeared from UKC or what woke up dead means or why he died on new years eve but i know he loved this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9WOJIi0spo&
I'm saddened to hear that. He was respected and valued here.
Edit: I hope someone will write a proper valediction. He always reached out to troubled people, despite having demons of his own both past and present. I hope he had shaken free and found the happiness he deserved.
> so sad. i don't have much interest in poetry but his humanity shone through his prolific postings when i first joined the forum. a memorable thread was : https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/where_does_the_name_'britain'_come_from-153599
Very very sad, and poignant that Kieth W was the first reply on this thread.
There's a fb group - search for Steve Parker Memorial Group. Much loved guy. Some lovely tributes on there.
> Woke up dead - died in his sleep. He'd have preferred the more spiky version.
Yes, David, he definitely would have!
Am stunned to hear of Steve's death. Sadly, I'm getting more and more used to my elders and contemporaries leaving us but when it's someone substantially younger...
To state the appallingly obvious: Steve had an amazing mind. I used to read some of his stuff and think, 'Where on earth do these thoughts come from?' It was like going from black and white to a myriad of colours. I can't begin to imagine being able to think like that.
The first post of his on here that I can remember was a speculation about grit history. I - perhaps excessively - took him to task about it in no uncertain terms. He - to his vast credit - took it in good spirit. I was impressed. About six months later, there was an incident where some characters (geology teachers/students?) had chipped in Shipley Glen and it somehow made the national news. Steve turned up, did a little interview with the television crew, put it all in perspective, explained why it mattered to us climbers. (Sure, there are a ton of chipped holds from previous generations but that's not the point...) He did it really well, didn't demonise, dealt with things in ever such a mature manner.
A while later, he enquired about some OK E5s in Yorkshire. All I could say was, "Oxymoron alert! Get down to Derbyshire and get a load of wires in above your head." Shortly afterwards he took a bad fall and was obviously in considerable pain. Sutty, bless him, said, "Stop fecking around with painkillers and get yourself down to A & E." Thankfully Steve did and thankfully he recovered.
Living a couple of miles up the road from where I'd once lived, inevitably we knew people in common. When I mentioned an old climbing partner getting the high-altitude shagging record on Annapurna, Steve could correct me and point out that it was Annapurna IV. He didn't mention that the naughty boy lived next door to him!
Marc Twight, Dr Death himself, once wrote about all the people he knew who'd gone. He said, "Don't leave it. Pick up the phone. Go see them." Words of cosmic wisdom.
I always meant to meet Steve, have a coffee or a beer, maybe even go climbing with him. (That would have been great.) But I didn't. Complacency is the enemy. You fondly imagine that people will be around forever. Even when there's a tsunami of evidence that this isn't the case, you still persist with the ridiculous illusion. But people won't be around forever. Sadly, I'll never meet Steve now.
What remains - far more important than that amazing intellect - was Steve's humanity. Sure, he hid behind a mask of wryness but, my God, he cared. He never stopped caring. And, in our crazy, ever so f*cked up world, the more you care, the more likely it is that you'll pay a price. My guess is that Steve paid a high price but that he also paid it knowingly and willingly.
This place. Plato's cave, innit? Shadows on the wall... ("It's life, Jim - but not as we know it.") You make connections with people you've never met. And something of them remains in you.
I can't take any of Steve's intellect with me; just don't have the capacity. But his humanity - yes. And, right now, humanity is probably the most valuable currency around.
So thank you, Steve. Maybe we'll meet on the other side. Who knows? If so, it can't be any stranger than Yorkshire.
Cosmic hugs, mate.
And much love,
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