“If any c*** sends you a letter asking for payment for something you’re not aware of or saying you infringed copyright, ignore them. They’re fishing.”

That was some of the best advice I received and it’s served me well. It came in particularly handy during those years when Racingbitch was fun to publish and from which came characters like The Plodder, Toffee Tongue, the messiah, Peter The Not So Great One and others who are lost in the blur of the past.

Kevin Egan gave me that advice and for which I shall always be thankful. We lost Kevin, a truly gifted lawyer, to a heart attack on Sunday, ironically Father’s Day. There were two missed calls from him the day before. It was a race day and we’d always buy a Six Up.

Kev would call asking what I liked and we’d work out our betting strategies. It was just something to do on a boring afternoon. But those telephone conversations were always entertaining.

Kev would always question any tips where the horse would be ridden by one particular jockey. “That little thief,” he would say. “He can’t lie straight in bed!” Kev called it as he saw it. And over his many years in Hong Kong, he saw plenty.

He had seen enough to trust very few. He was like an elder brother. He trusted me with secrets. He would advise me if I was flying too close to the sun and warn me about those who were not who they claimed to be.

Our lunches at Dot.cod were fun, but in the past couple of years, he seemed troubled. Reflective.

Kevin knew everything about everyone, but no one really knew Kevin. Not really. His private life was kept under lock and key.

He enjoyed his drink but was careful about with whom he drank. He kept that dark side hid. He didn’t wish to burden anyone, especially his friends.

At the start of every year, he’d stay dry for a month. Nothing could tempt him away from this promise he had made to himself.

Here was someone many of us thought would live forever. If in any kind of trouble, there was always an easy solution: “Call Kev. He’ll fix it.” We don’t have Kev to call anymore. There’s a very empty feeling.

I will miss those calls on race day and hear secrets that no newspaper dared to carry. I will miss our friendship and The Brotherhood Of Horse Racing.

Especially in recent times, he took on cases no one else wanted. He knew that the odds of him winning them were less than slim, but he enjoyed the fight. He gave it his all. Maybe it was his way of dealing with whatever he was fighting inside of him.

Finally, that demon won. But here’s betting that Kev didn’t go quietly. He just knew when to leave.

Hong Kong is a poorer place for it.

RIP, big fella.


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