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Helen is gone too soon

by Migeru Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 04:07:25 PM EST

Helen was one of the early active members of this site, and she had a not insignificant influence on its tone, direction and content over the years.
It is with shock and sadness that we have found out from a relative on Facebook that she died on Boxing Day after a short illness.

Use this as a memorial thread for Helen. We may post more details about her death as we know them, with due care to respect her family's desire for privacy.


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I don't need tips on this site obviously, but you can just upvote this comment to acknowledge Helen if you can't find the right words for a comment just yet.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 04:10:56 PM EST
Just kind of don't even know what to say.  Helen was a very good friend -- brilliant, witty, hilarious, kind, empathetic, curious.  One of the best people you could meet.  There just isn't really enough to say.

I'm just very sad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORqYGEmrMm0

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 04:24:12 PM EST
Also, too:


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 05:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Loved her insightful writing ... her expression of love for country. She cared for her fellow countrymen.

Helen you will be missed. On a clear night, you will be remembered by a twinkling star on the heavens. 🌍 ✨

130 Years Later

by Oui on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 05:19:04 PM EST
There was a vague intention to meet up when pandemic and other conditions allowed... and now it is too late.

RIP

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 05:46:41 PM EST
Thanks for posting this Mig. I've only just seen the Facebook post on her timeline by her nephew, Gareth Brimley.

I only met Helen Waldie in person once, in Paris, but we quickly became online friends. I will particularly miss her astute comments on all things Brexit and the UK more generally. (We have different tastes in beer! :-))  I had only recently noticed her lack of recent comments here and was wondering how she was.

A sad loss to this site and to humanity.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 05:48:59 PM EST
Shock and sadness indeed. Helen had been around this place for so long, one can scarcely believe she's gone.

Her style, both online and in person, was inimitable, sharp, witty and straight to the point. I've found a picture from one of our old meetups in Paris, some 11 years ago.

Helen in Paris, September 2010

by Bernard on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 06:22:27 PM EST
Can't believe it was that long ago....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 07:07:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's to Helen



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 07:14:48 PM EST
I hope you picked the right brew! She could be withering in her commentary on beer she didn't like!

The ancients had a practice of bury a person's favourite possessions with them. What brews should we pick?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 07:27:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, but we could bury her with a fossil beer found in an Egyptian tomb or something. Helen also had a strong interest in ancient civilisations. I believe she may have posted a diary, but definitely more than a few comments, on the chicken-and-egg relationship between beer and bread.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 07:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beer, bread and civilization, as I recall.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 02:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good Bye Helen.  

It was a privilege and delight to know you.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 07:54:05 PM EST
I'm so sorry to hear this.  I didn't know Helen well, but enjoyed her comments and wit. I had hoped that someday we could meet in person and chat over some brews.  
by ElaineinNM on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 at 09:25:44 PM EST
Jesus, this was not a post I was expecting to see when I hopped on here today. I spent time with Helen on two or three trips to Europe and she was a wonderful person.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 01:06:59 AM EST
At first I couldn't believe that she had died, only that she was in hospital with heart issues. That is ironic as Helen had a great heart. I will miss her for her heart, her wit, her vast knowledge and deep humanity. She was one of the first with whom I engaged on ET back in 2008.

Vale Helen.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 02:52:55 AM EST
I can't say I knew her well, I never made it to the meetups, but she was a constant presence for fifteen years. I'll certainly miss her.
by generic on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 01:16:01 PM EST
Well, that sucks.

I hope she's gone to a better place.

Fare well, Helen. You'll be much missed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 05:22:05 PM EST
Had to log in after years just to comment. I was shocked to see the news on FB. I'll miss talking to Helen there; she had lots to say about gardening (besides Brexit and politics).

I'll drink a pint and think of her tonight (the pint will not be worthy - I imagine she'd have a few choice words about cheap Finnish dark lager).

Farewell, Helen.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 05:54:35 PM EST
I was notified by Samantha yesterday via text that Helen has passed...it made me very sad to hear. She was around from the early days of ET, plus I was fortunate that she was actively engaged on my FB page, always funny, sarcastic, insightful and direct. She was a special person and I will miss her. It goes to show we never know when are number is called - Rest In Peace and in Power Helen...and you crossed over with Desmond Tutu, which is something!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 06:59:24 PM EST
Met her in an ET meet-up in Paris in 2010 (?). She seemed very quiet there, which was - or seemed to be - contrary to her nature, given her comments on the blog. I agreed with her take on most subjects, and her rhetorical style was out-front and enjoyable. She was even able to back-off when presented with a good argument - a somewhat uncommon trait in the world.

My wife and I went pub-hopping with her in 2013, which was quite entertaining. Taught me to appreciate the British approach to 'bitters', which was definitely different from the 'American' style. I don't have any available in the PNW, so Scotch will have to do.


paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Dec 28th, 2021 at 07:30:09 PM EST
Oh no! I am so sorry! She was commenting in here just a couple of weeks ago if I recall. So sudden.  :-(
by asdf on Wed Dec 29th, 2021 at 04:28:06 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 29th, 2021 at 08:29:33 PM EST
I am so sorry to hear this- and very much surprised.I always rushed to see what she had to say for her wit, brilliance, her courage of controversy. She will be much missed by us all.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 30th, 2021 at 09:36:46 AM EST
While I don't know many of her circle of contacts and friends, I suspect that Helen was a prophet not much honoured in her own country.  The appreciation of her wit and wisdom here is in stark contrast to the hard times she appears to have gone through at home, although I never had a personal conversation with her about that...

Some of her diaries here include:
The valedictory
Memorial to Great Britain

The autobiographical
130 Years Later

The caustic
Brexit means Brexit. WTF??

And a prophet before her time (in the UK) in
It's "Whose Economy, Stupid?"

or her love of good beer in
Cologne and Kolsh

RIP
We will (probably) not see her like again


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Dec 30th, 2021 at 12:13:59 PM EST
It just feels absurd. She is such a presence, how can she be gone? I am reading "The Dawn of Everything" right now, which I think she would have enjoyed a discussion about (fair share of grains and festivities and beer, but also lots of politics and social constructions to counter hierarchy). Guess she will have to have a chat with Graeber in person instead :(

I took a few days to see if I came up with anything else, but there is apparently where my feelings are right now. I have a friend who passed a few years ago, whom my brain steadfastdly refuses to move to past tense. Some people are like that.

by fjallstrom on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 12:43:42 PM EST
I don't know what it ways about this community that nobody has mentioned yet the fact that Helen was a trans woman. It's not like she didn't blog about it either, as well as making occasional comments on trans-exclusionary radical feminism, the rise of far-right LGBT-phobia, and the like. I guess at a minimum this blind spot says that gender issues continue to be taboo, even on this site despite protestations to the contrary.
Yup, nothing since 2008. Which is symptomatic of the bustle that was this site prior to, say, 2010 and how quiet it's been since. Helen herself has 124 diaries to her name, of which only seven are later than 2012.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 03:27:04 PM EST
When she posted something about trains one time I asked if she had a boy friend and she told me about it, saying that most boys were turned off when they found out.

I suppose one aspect here is that since most people use "anonymous" names, gender and/or sex considerations are not necessarily immediately apparent.

by asdf on Mon Jan 3rd, 2022 at 04:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it says much about this site except that those few of us still posting diaries tend to focus on areas where we feel we have some useful knowledge or experience. I valued Helen's political contributions because there aren't many English posters left on here and she was insightful and authoritative where I relied on secondary sources. Gender simply wasn't an issue on the one occasion I met her and most of her later contributions made little reference to it. I was more than happy to defer to her greater knowledge of LGBT+ issues, and the pity of it is she didn't post much in more recent times. Perhaps, like many of the old timers, she just got tired of the same controversies erupting again and again...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 4th, 2022 at 08:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A long way back, one of my first diaries in 2005 ...

How times have changed, my interests was on US politics @BooMan until mid 2017 when Democrats freaked out on anti-Russia propaganda paid for by exiled billionaire thieves. Have spend most of my writing since here @ET ... it was a very quiet place to be. Facebook and social media outlets had taken friends away. There was a G8 back then 😉... and Plutonium Page for heated discussion.

Suggestion G8 Meeting @Gleneagles - Share A Room | July 4, 2005 |

BSE, that ravaged the UK beef industry in the early 1990s, cost the EU-15 more than €90 billion, a situation that Brussels is keen to avert a second time. The new budget, rising by some €41 million on 2004, for TSEs will aim to boost consumer confidence in Europe's beef industry to bring more revenue into the sector.

The UK beef industry is only now starting to recover from the outbreak that saw 37,000 clinical cases of BSE and about 60,000 of the highest risk animals entering the food supply, compared with less than one a year today.

The EU enlargement to EU-25 in 2004 set back the Union and helped advance NATO as a political tool to undermine the Four Freedoms and get a grip on the European Union.

by Oui on Wed Jan 5th, 2022 at 06:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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