Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

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Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

Post by jazz4111 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:55 pm

Our old friend, Bill Cunliffe, who made his last annual visit to Hydra in August, passed away on Sunday, in London with his two daughters at his side. I'll "go down to Bill's Bar" no more ... but I will remember him always. RIP dear friend.
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Re: Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

Post by hydriot » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:38 am

The end of an era. I first met him about forty years ago, when, as a drunken teenager, I crashed-out in the house he was renting on the far side of the stadium ... much to his irritation.

What always amazed me about Bill was the huge number of successful people he knew from seemingly every walk of life. I remember once being introduced by him to a famous conductor ... and wondering how on earth the two of them had ever become friends.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

Post by lizzytysh » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:37 am

So much history and so many memories of his own he takes with him. He was such a marker of the old Hydra. I'm so sorry for your loss of your and Leonard's dear friend, Jazz, and your at-the-very-least acquaintance, hydriot. This year has been turning out to be such a one of loss. It's at least good to hear that his daughters were at his side when he passed. Rest in peace, Bill.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

Post by Giles 'Ned' Oakley » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:43 pm

I was very sorry to hear about Bill Cunliffe's death a few days ago, at a Christmas lunch in Amersham, his hometown. I hadn't seen him for ages and in general our paths didn't cross for years but I nonetheless have happy memories of him. We were at school together in Berkhamsted (best known for the Graham Greene and Claud Cockburn connections) and we became friends and would socialise out of school. His long-suffering mother somehow allowed all sorts of people to turn up at Bill's house, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, as folks spilled out of the pubs , mostly underage drinkers. I have vivid memories of regularly watching the BBC's 'That Was The Week That Was' on TV at Bill's around 1963-4, with friends crowded round the screen for the latest satirical jibes at conservative Britain. Hosted by David Frost and featuring humourists such as Willie Rushton, the show captured something of the early Sixties spirit of liberation although I'm not sure Bill and I really agreed much on politics, as he liked to effect a certain old-buffer persona, blustering away at left-wing types like me. I'm not sure how much he meant and how much was to wind me up (easily done) but it never got in the way of a cheerful friendship, with him always a ready companion at the bar in The Swan or some other ancient hostelry in Old Amersham. At school he never conformed although his oppositional spirit was very different from that of others of the same generation, and he was always his own man, unswayed by time, tide or fashion. I was delighted for Bill when he married Leila (I hope I have the name right) whom I only met a few times years and years ago but who made a very favourable impression on me with her intelligence and good humour.Bill's Leonard Cohen connection was well-known, even among those of us who had lost touch, and it was a source of a certain Amersham pride, that 'one of our's' was a friend of such a great artist. I'm sorry I never got to Hydra or to Bill's Bar, although I'm sure I'd have elicited a few huffs and puffs from him about the world going to the dogs as he'd pour me a drink or two.

RIP Bill, and thanks for all the good memories. And of course my condolences to Bill's family, and his two daughters.

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Re: Bill's Bar owner passed away on Sunday

Post by Suemerlyn » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:43 pm

Only just found this post on the Forum, and am very saddened.

I knew 'Doctor Bill', as he styled himself when I knew him, pretty well during the period when I lived on Hydra in the early 90's, with my (then) little boy Kris. One of my earliest memories of Bill was going to a wild party at his house on the port with some other resident friends - a Greek guy married to a Dutch woman, and their 2 kids. It was at Christmas-time, and I remember battling across the port from Kamini, where we all lived at the time, through a howling gale, pouring rain and mad waves lashing the port, to get to the house.

Some details of that party I guess I had better not put on the forum! Bill was larger than life, all host and welcoming, and the amount of booze was making the drinks table groan... there were loads of small children including ours, running about and having a great time. And lots of Leonard on the turntable ( I don't think CDs had made it to Hydra yet...) Bill always spoke with great affection about Leonard.

Later, I spent quite a bit of time with Bill and several others, sitting around on the port, taking boat trips to Ermioni, going swimming, the stuff you do on Hydra. There was a whole gang of us.

Have not been in touch with Bill in recent years, though I heard about him from time to time. Good memories.

Rest in peace old friend. x
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