Friday, 30 August 2013

Squashed Tomatoes and Stew – Part 3

And here we are Mac. This will be the last bit for today, but I’m sure that your homies aren’t done with you yet and there’ll be a few people who miss the boat. I’ve got a few bits and bobs to say myself, but first, over to this lovely lot…


Happy birthday Lisa Long Straw. I remember the chat when we decided that despite the fact we had pulled the Short Straws health-wise, we were, indeed, Long Straws life wise. 

Life wise. It feels wrong to be writing that, as we all miss you so much from our lives. I miss your laugh the most, and that booming Derby twang, but I don’t have to go very far to remember it. When I think of you Lisa, I always picture you sat on the sofa in my flat. We were stuffing our face with cheese and cake, like we so often did. You were ridiculing my saggy-arsed jeans and demanding me to go and buy a skinny pair (you will be pleased to know I have indeed done that). We never really talked about the future, but refused to even consider the fact that you could somehow be physically absent from it.

It sucks without you Lis, massively. I miss swearing with you, but I did recently use the word wankfurby, and figured somewhere, wherever you are sassing, you would have high fived me for that. 

So, today, on your 34th birthday, I am thinking of you, as I always do, with love and affection, with tears because I miss you, but with joy because I knew you. I learned such a lot from you. That it is OK to be a cocky little Essex girl, because stylish Northern girls like you said so. That cheese and cake taken in one mouthful really does work. That there is no such thing as too much squirty cream on strawberries, and that life, no matter what, HAS to be fun. Oh and also, to make sure I don’t wear ill-fitting jeans. 

So, today, on your birthday, I just want to say cheers to you Lis. You lit up my life in a way you probably didn’t realise. You made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me happy. I don’t half miss you doll. 

So here’s to you, Lisa Long Straw, from your chubby little middle-of-the-road dumpy straw, who will today be eating cake in your memory and thanking my lucky stars that you and I bumped in to each other along the bullshit-laden road. 

How lucky were we. Happy birthday Lis

Lorna x 

– Lorna

Well, today would have been your 34th birthday Lis. I will forever be older than my oldest friend. I mean, I've always been older (as I'm sure you would have been keen to point out), but only by a couple of months. But you will forever be 33. 

We've seen a lot of birthdays together, you and I. From sleepovers with our schoolmates and playing Postman's Knock, to swimming parties, bowling parties, parties at Pizza Hut and McDonald's through to the (ever so) slightly cooler discos. 

Remember that year your mum hired that karaoke machine from Reliance Electrical (who, judging by the heated telephone exchange on the day clearly weren't) and how upset you got when someone murdered Jimmy Mac, not because of the terrible rendition, but because it reminded you of one of your family members who was sadly no longer with us? Even then you were the most amazing person I knew, the life and soul of a party (even at 13), yet with a compassion that put the rest of us to shame. Everyone gravitated towards you. Being invited to your birthday party was always a badge of honour, a sentiment which never went away. 

I still can't believe we will never celebrate your birthday with you again. But you know what? We will celebrate it. Every year. With cupcakes and champagne and rapping, and recounting the fondest memories of 33 years of friendship. We will never let the day go by without toasting you. Ever. You will never, ever be forgotten. Not on your birthday, or any other day of the year. I love you Lisa Lynch and I miss you more than I could ever have imagined. 

Happy birthday petal. xxxx

– Claire Boutall (@weeza79)

Dear Lis, 

Sod raising a glass I will be raising a big fat jug of Pimms in honour of your birthday today and in memory of our extremely drunken day spent at the cricket. 

Love and miss you loads gorgeous girl! 

Sarah xx 

– Sarah Finnan

To my darling Maclet.

It’s your birthday and we don’t know what to do with it. I want to clink my cava glass against yours and grin into your perfect face more than anything on this earth. This hurts every bit as much as we knew it would. But I have not forgotten what you said:

Whatever we were to each other – that we still are.
You have only stepped into the next room.

Your Tils.

– Tillie Harris

Happy Birthday, Sis. 

What better way to celebrate your Birthday than to go and watch Derbyshire CC play in London. Pretty sure you'll be joining us in some way so we'll save you a seat. Everything you wanted to happen is happening, we're all looking after each other. We're off on hols with the rentals next month, so I'm sure you'll be gutted to be missing out on the usual "what are you wearing to travel in" line of questioning that Mum started in about June. It all adds to the enjoyment of the holiday though of course. 

Corey is kissing every picture he sees of you, and even says you're name. OK, he calls you Lila, but that's close enough. We're all missing you far too much and nothing can ever be the same without you being here, but we'll make sure we make the most of you're Birthday. You're still the best, always will be. 

All my love, peace out,


– James McFarlane (@jamie_mac2013)

Lisa was one of the most inspiring, witty and talented authors I've worked with. A natural writer she had an an extraordinary ability to vividly evoke, and make us laugh at, the extreme experiences she went though. I'm still so proud of The C-Word, the book we worked on together, and it's great to know that in every copy out there in the world Lisa's amazing voice can still be heard for decades to come. 

Happy Birthday Lisa. We all miss you. Love from everyone at the agency.

– Matthew Hamilton, Aitken Alexander Associates

Happy Birthday

This morning I asked which cake goes with champagne.
It’s only for me so it’s all just the same.
The car radio played Elbow, were you hearing it too?
At lunch I sat down to write - it’s what you would do.
I walked in the hills; a bird flew past my ear,
Its wings whispered hello. Perhaps you were there.
Late in my street the moon slid out, bright
From behind blue clouds. Was it you there that night? 
I bought a polka dot dress like one you once had,
Your matching high heels safely boxed in their bed.
I paint my nails red for your special day,
I’ll send you some flowers, it’s not far away.
‘I love you’ you said as the door closed shut,
There was plenty of tea still left in the pot,
For next time we talk, and we’ll settle in well,
By then there’ll be so many stories to tell.

– Antonia Blyth (@antoniablyth)

So then, I’ve put it off enough. A few words from me...

Happy birthday Mac. You know, today I’ve been chatting to a good few of your lot on t’interweb, and there have been a few Claire Danes weepy moments going on, but, you know what, I held back. Because today, I feel happy.

Today’s your birthday. And it’s a happy day, because we remember how much we love you. And we remember who you were, who you are, and how cool we all felt just hanging around in your entourage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve missed you mate. There have been days when it’s hit me square in the face and I can’t think straight. There’s been days when I’m scrolling through my iPhone contacts and there you are, because it would be just wrong to delete you, and there’s the proverbial ton of bricks. And there’s been days when it’s just happily remembering the fun sweary emails and bemoaning the fact I never got to show you that episode of South Park where Cartman impersonates Gordon Ramsey (had to have been written just for you, surely). But have no doubt, you’ve been a part of my day every single day since you stepped out. So just for today, allow me to be a part of yours.

Happy birthday Lisa. We love you.

– Jonze (@quarkmonkey)

Squashed Tomatoes and Stew – Part 2

Well Mac, true to form you’re amazing us all again today. Here’s another load of big-ass love for you (not to be confused with big ass-love, but then hey, you’re the syntax savant here).

On what would have been our wonderful friend Lisa's 34th birthday we are sad that she is not here to celebrate with us; but we are also so incredibly grateful for the birthdays that she had with us, for the way she taught us how to laugh and most importantly, how to love. No-one loved more than Lisa Lynch, loving music, loving Derby County, loving her family, loving her P and loving us – and no-one was, is, loved more than our Lisa. But she'd have hated all this lovey-dovey crap so, today, we'll be raising a glass of cava to you as we teach our boys about your love of Dave Grohl by introducing them to the Foo Fighters: we thought you'd approve. We miss you every single day. 

– The Bryants (@suze)

Miss you darling Lisa on your birthday – and during Wimbledon, Glastonbury, holidays, these long summer days and when I see Pete and our friends. Every happy event and fun time is a little bit crapper without you. I miss all the lovely times we had together, the chat, your wise counsel, beautiful face and happy laugh. We will be drinking to you tonight lovely. Xxx

– Polly Curtis (@pollycurtis)

Lisa will always be in my thoughts, her impressive strength and character shining through the bullshit, being an inspiration to millions. So I raise a glass and say happy birthday you brassy bird you. Tom xx

– Tom Shaw, The Design Conspiracy

I had the pleasure of  meeting Lisa in person at her Super Sweet 30th Birthday after a year of exchanging emails. What a lovely, lovely girl.

Every time I hear the Foo Fighters, the Beatles or my son picking up the children's toy sing a long microphone she sent my son for Christmas one year, I think of Lisa and that she would get a kick out of the caterwauling noise my son makes when he sings 'A lo lo lo lololollo dah daah'.
She was a presence. She is present.

My thoughts are with you all today.


– Lori Lens-Fitzgerald (@lorilens)

I think of Lisa every day and the impact she had on me. She was always a big hearted person, even at school when so many of us girls turn into evil little madams for a time period. Not Lisa. Always reaching out the hand of friendship and offering advice which seemed older than her years.
As an adult when she attended the salon I worked at people would talk about her as she left as beautiful, funny, warm and with the most amazing smile. That's the impact she had on people, she had a spark, it lit the room up, people remembered Lisa. Talked about Lisa.

Lisa made a huge difference to me and was there for me many times. She was encouraging. She was my friend.

Whenever I see the handsome Corey I see the same spark in his beautiful eyes, it brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

All of those qualities are only some of the reasons why Lisa is missed every day by so many people and why she will never be forgotten. The spark she had will never go out.

– Jennifer Wyman

Where are you?

It's your birthday and I need you for our annual giggle about the year Princess Diana inadvertently scuppered our milestone birthdays (dying on your 18th, funeral on my 21st - what WAS fate thinking?).

I need to bring you a seahorse helium balloon and to dance with you to Jay-Z and Take That. I'd tell you to hush when you insisted on being my number one cheerleader. We'd watch shit TV together and discuss it with the deep thought of Confucious. I so want to be celebrating with you. I can hear your laughter like you're sitting right next to me; I miss you.

– Katherine Busby (@misskbusby)

Happy Birthday, Lisa! Sorry that I will not be seeing you on your birthday, but true to form you have already organised somewhere far better to be.

As is the tradition for our mutual birthday gifts, I have bought you something incredibly useful: a framed signed photo of John Nettles, the popular TV actor from the detective series Bergerac. As John would not answer my letters, phone calls or unexpected midnight visits to his house, I have signed the photo myself instead.

Anyway, here's to you, Lisa. I hope that you enjoy your birthday drinking champagne in some swanky venue with celebrities and whatnot, instead of hanging around with your grubby friends. AGAIN.

Birthday hugs 'n shit.

– @wardotron

And we’re not done with you yet either…

Squashed Tomatoes and Stew – Part 1

Happy birthday Mac.

You’ll love what we’ve got for you today. You see, the other day I asked around all your chums, who all had something to say, all had a few words for you this morning. I have a few myself, but I’ll save them for later, because to be honest we’re going to have to break it down into a few posts today (show-off), and I shall save mine for the last bit.

You see, unlike you, I procrastinate my ass off. So for now, I’ll just say we miss you bird. And while like every other day for the last 172 days, it’s promising to be a little bit more boring, we will be raising a glass or two for you tonight.

Anyway, enough from me. This lot have sommit to say…

Happy Birthday kid! I miss you so very much but I feel your wonderful energy and beautiful spirit is with me every day and I feel blessed and protected because of it. Your life was cut far too short, but your memory is very much alive. Here's to you and the extraordinary legacy you've left us. I love you sweet Lisa.


– Francesca Febbo


Right now I should be looking forward to another of your legendary garden parties - with Pete's curries, your cakes, too much cava and those fence-charring, frankly crap Catherine wheels. Instead, I'll be with some people who loved you too, and there'll be an empty place at our table. Happy birthday mate. We miss you so much. 

Martin xxx 

– Martin Nicholls (@martinnicholls)

I'd like to wish the lovely Lisa a big happy birthday for 30th August.  I met Lisa in the outpatients department at the Royal Marsden whilst we were waiting to see our Oncologist (the famous Curly Professor).  Lisa was such a warm, gorgeous lady and such an inspiration to everyone who met her.  The day Lisa passed, the world lost an amazing woman... 

And even though she is no longer with us, whilst she remains in our thoughts, she will always live on.

Wishing you a Happy birthday wherever you are, you are not far. x x x x x 

– Melanie Daly

Dear Lisa, 

Aaron Sorkin's new series, The Newsroom, is bloody brilliant. Seeing how you chomped your way through The West Wing (don't think I've stopped being jealous of the signed script you got given), and then gorged on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, complaining about its brief one-series deal, you'd have been all over this. The new one is deeply flawed, but has flashes of absolute brilliance. 

And every time I watch it, every time I think "what would Lisa Mac have thought?" which bits would you have quoted, which characters would you have rooted for? At one point life ensured all you could really do was sit at home watching telly, so what did you do? You got bloody brilliant at watching telly. Just another thing you were brilliant at. I miss your opinions, and your smart-alec comments. Twitter got DULL without you. Mac, telly is shit without your commentary. Not a profound thing to say, but there you go. 

We miss you. 

Marc B 

PS. you'd have totally been rooting for Maggie and Jim to get together.

– Marc Burrows (@20thcenturymarc) 

Happy Birthday, beautiful. I've got something special planned for your birthday next year - I think it would have made you chuckle. This year I will just say this: I will never forget you, you gorgeous girl.

– Sarah (@miametro) 

I am a 5yr breast cancer survivor on the 5th sept, Lisa's book was the best therapy I had during my treatment her book should be given too all woman going through  cancer treatment. I will be raising a glass on Friday to celebrate the loss of a great inspiration.

– Tracy Allsop 

Don’t get too comfy Mac. There’s more coming…

Friday, 9 August 2013

Guest Blog #2 – Jim Clarkson

OK, so I've been slow on here. Even after the wonderful reaction to Antonia's magnificent post, even with guest blogs piling up, the hard-act-to-follow blogstipation still gets me.

Not any more though... not with ace guest blogs like this from Lisa's former colleague Jim Clarkson.

Till next time, over to you Jim...


Life and Risotto

I'm stirring risotto, perfect after a long bike ride or on a cold spring day. Well, I'm not actually, I'm trying to shoehorn a link between cooking and life.

So, risotto – it's a great dish – adaptable, filling and simple. It does need attention, and is always best done with a few simple ingredients - pea and ham for example.

To get ahead in life, I think being like a risotto is probably advantageous, and I learnt a few things in life from a certain lady who I worked with for a couple of years.

Well in actual fact we worked together for over 80 years owing to the amount of overtime we had to do.

In that time I got to know Lisa pretty well. The swearing, the fine taste in music (80% of the time) and the kick-ass ( a la South Park) word skills she possesses. I put an extra 's' there so she could have done her cool sub markings that she did.

I was a junior art worker, just fresh into the world of design. I liked words, but I treated them like images – they were there to be made to look nice.

Yet they have so much more potential than that. They hold meanings and messages that can be enhanced and applified with a good penman(or woman)ship.

Words form the core of our lives today – social media carries this humble mark on the screen across a million screens to hungry eyes who absorb the light and ingest the messages. Lisa helped me see their value. The worth of words in the visual centred world of design.

Back to risotto. With its simple, adaptable - and with a bit of attention - deeply fulfilling and rewarding traits. I'm jumping around, I do this, keep up eh?

So risotto-type character traits not often found in everyone you meet. And not always found in risotto.

When you realise you've met a person with skills and a real gift for something, they tend to stick in your head – the fact that they give you a verbal battering if you tripped up also helped to notice said gift. Lisa did this. Often with an 'Oi! Clarkson, you missed the damn em dash!' 

Lisa was nice with it though.
Encouraging and exact.
Funny and frank.
Even and precise.

I'm truly saddened to hear of her passing. Bit of Twitter banter was the most recent contact.

The times I worked with her and all the things she helped me learn will be kept close. I think I have failed with my risotto link, but the key ingredients learnt from Lisa are that honesty, style and a powerful will, help you cope – more than that – conquer all that life places in your path until it stops.

Thanks Lisa.