This morning started out early, as it always does on a Saturday, game day or not: Coffee and pre-dawn writing before catching up with the rest of the world as the sun rises here on the Pacific coast. Then there’s deciding what to watch when neither Celtic nor FC St. Pauli are playing on this rare Saturday. Would it be AC Milan-Atalanta? Cheltenham Town-Man City? Or maybe even St. Johnstone-Hibs in the Betfred Cup semifinal?
Then I got an e-mail around 9 from my good friend in Vancouver who goes by the name of Dilligaf on The Celtic Noise forum. Dill told me that our Celtic Noise compatriot Michael Duffy had passed away, according to an e-mail Dill had received from Michael’s sister.
Michael was a regular on The Celtic Noise, a very friendly fatherly figure in his late 60s (I think) with a rock-and-roll past, whose depth of Celtic knowledge was only surpassed by his unequivocal and unrivaled love for the Bhoys in Green. He essentially ran the “night shift” on The Noise — for those of us in North America, most of our visiting hours were our afternoons and evenings when most of Glasgow slept. But not Michael. While he was always ready for a discussion, his real bailiwick was the music threads, where he marshalled some of the best music on the site.
How much he was loved by everyone, and will be missed, is captured here on this thread on The Celtic Noise.
A few weeks ago, Michael did a wonderful thing. Having struck up a trans-Atlantic friendship with Dilligaf (who himself is a Greenock kid by birth), Michael sent a child’s Celtic kit to Dill’s granddaughter as a Christmas gift. It was number 7 — the hallowed Celtic number belonging to the legendary Henrik Larsson — with the granddaughter’s name on the back where Larsson’s would have appeared.
Our own interaction revolved around Celtic, of course, music, and his interest in American politics and history. Often our discussions in the latter involved me “translating” CNN and Fox News, which he watched regularly, into rational bits and bobs, and convincing him (successfully, I hope) that the U.S. was not a nation of wall-to-wall, red-capped bigots. While my heart aches to see him go, it does make me smile a bit knowing that he lived long enough to see the exit of the former president and the inauguration of a new, more sensible one.
While no one was more supportive when you were right, Michael was also quick to correct or “adjust” you when you weren’t. To be honest, I’ve been on that side of him only once, when he defused an argument I was having with someone on The Noise with a post of “Let the People Sing” from YouTube and a stern personal warning to me on the side.
He was right. I stood corrected. Play continued.
Also, while I am gathering more information to write a proper obituary for one so deserving, I would again strongly urge you to visit this thread on The Celtic Noise to see what effect Michael has had on those of us who have been touched by his wisdom, his wit, and his musical tastes online. I would urge you to comment below if you knew him, online or in person. He will definitely be missed.
Michael Duffy, you’ll never walk alone. Requiescat in pace, comrade.