Obituary: Paul Reekie, poet, 48

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PAUL Reekie, an iconoclastic poet, writer and musician, has died at the age of 48.

A contemporary and colleague of Irvine Welsh on Edinburgh's subversive literary scene during the early 90s, Mr Reekie was loved by friends for both his kindness and his wildly idiosyncratic character.

He grew up in Leslie, Fife, moving to Edinburgh at the age of 16 to train as a radio officer at Leith Nautical College. He lived in a seamen's mission, claiming that he was working for BP and waiting for a ship to arrive - until BP sold off its merchant fleet and his scam was uncovered.

In the late 70s and early 80s, he embraced the punk movement, forming his own band, Thursday, in which he was vocalist and bassist.

The band shared a bill with The Fall, and in 1979 recorded two songs for the compilation EP Earcom 2 on the Fast Product label - making it a stablemate of Joy Division.

Mr Reekie also toured with political post-punk band The Pop Group, released a solo single, Lovers, and started a cassette label of his own.

His first published works were translations of French symbolist poet Baudelaire, but his own writing flourished during Monday night readings in the back room of the Antiquary Bar in the early 90s, when he donned flying hat and ski goggles to perform works which would later be published by Rebel Inc under the title Zap - You're Pregnant.

As well as sharing the pages of several Rebel Inc publications with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, he appeared alongside him at the magazine's 1996 Hogmanay celebration at the Traverse Theatre.

He reached probably his widest audience when his poem When Caesar's Mushroom is in Season was published on the frontispiece of Welsh's short story collection, The Acid House.

Their work also appeared together in Rebel Inc's collection, Children of Albion Rovers - although the book was pulled and subsequently reissued in an altered version after objections about the contents of Mr Reekie's novella, Submission, from a former partner.

He was also a huge Hibs fan, loved free jazz and reggae, and was a dedicated friend to many.

Friend and former partner Rosie Savin said: "He was always brilliant company, he was just the funniest person you could meet. He was incredibly generous with presents, he used to give gifts to people that were always very relevant to the person that he gave them to.

"He was knowledgeable about a range of subjects, and he'll be sorely missed by all his friends. He's left a gap in our lives that nobody can really fill, because he was unique. We miss him terribly - he was a great friend."

Mr Reekie died at home in Leith in June and is survived by his mother, two brothers and a sister, who all live in Fife.