Beowulf by Jeff Nuttall
Keith Musgrove posted on www.indigogroup.co.uk/llpp/nuttall.html on January 9, 2004
After collapsing in a jazz club, died on 4th January 2004, aged 70. He would have considered it a kind of failure to have made it beyond the allotted span. Having lived his life at such a generous level of creative intensity, by way of virtually every medium of expression available, he abhorred the idea of holding back. During the late 1950s, he played his trumpet regularly, at the Cottage Club in Soho, with those of his band he managed to round up for the gigs booked for them. After a skinful of ale in the early hours, emulating the Jimmy Porter of John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger", he would tootle his horn through sleeping streets on the way back home to his wife, Jane, and their kids in North London. He was then and remained the personification of a wake up call, be it through oil paint, written English, the spoken word. When he thought it necessary, if none of the latter worked, sometimes even if they did, he was not averse to throwing his weight about, physically, in or out of performance, and he could do so without being a bully, just to make sure that the message was getting across. A born educator, his cultural knowledge was encyclopaedic and his drive to share it unstoppable. Playful, irreverent, magisterial, visionary and yet earthed, he was a man for the times he helped to create and define. In a rave review of Bomb Culture, the late Dennis Potter expressed the desire to have Nuttall as a friend. Those who were befriended by him know the wisdom of that wish.