I was just getting my things together at home for a DJ Set at Twisters last Saturday night when I got a text message telling me that Nial Harrington had died. It’s odd but when people have cancer it’s always in the back of your mind that something serious could happen to them but when you get the news it always feels like a bolt out of the blue. The text message also said that if I was to have a drink that evening that I should raise a glass to Nial and his family.

I got to know Nial through sharing a room with him at the creative hub 15 Queen Street and he was a top fella. We spent many an hour chatting about everything and nothing; music, money, families, good times, bad times, just a load of bollocks really but stuff that kept us entertained and made us laugh. We’d listen to tunes while we worked, I’d introduce some to him and he’d introduce some to me.

I worked with Nial on a couple of big projects, both of which are visual for people to see and remember him by. Do you know the Colchester Free Festival logo? The one on the blue background? That was designed by Nial. Did you buy the last two Free Festival programmes or the Free Festival CD? They were designed by Nial. Do you know the Colchester Comedy Festival logo and brochure? They were designed by Nial. The guy was talented.

Possibly my favourite memory of Nial was when he and I worked all night to finish the Free Festival 2011 programme. It was a crappy job, I was writing copy on the go and Nial was designing the programme as we went along. We got through the night with plenty of banter, a couple of bottles of red wine and lots of music. Nial played one track that I’d never heard before and throughout the night when the going got tough we played it time and time again. The track is by James Brown and it’s called Tengo Tango. Last Saturday Night when I was DJ’ing at Twisters I played it and raised a glass for Nial and his family, no one there had a clue about its significance but I did and it felt bloody good.

RIP Nial, you were a great man and one your wife and daughters can be very proud of.

Ben x

This is for you mate, a tune that will always remind me of you.

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