RIP Alex Birch: The Conversation Ended Too Soon

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Some of you may have heard this already, but to others it will be sad news.  Alex Birch passed away last night in his sleep.  While he had been fighting cancer much of the past year, and ill the past few months, his death was unexpected. I still can’t believe he’s gone.  Please put the fragmented nature of what follows down to that rather than any lack of caring.

This morning when I got to work there was an email telling me that the man we know as Alex Birch died last night in hospital in Birmingham.  I’ve been at a total loss as to what to write — there seems so much to say, so many things that should be said.  Alex has been a wonderful friend to both Paul and me for much of the last 13 years.  While we’d met (and on a very special day in London played one of the best scenes I will ever do) in person during our visits to the UK over the years and had talked on the phone a good bit in recent months, Alex was first and foremost someone with whom I held long conversations via email.

It was wonderful — I loved getting mail from him.  He was thoughtful and enjoyed writing, always making time for me, but also okay with times when things went silent.  “Our Conversation,” as we, with some irony, called our mails, could pick up at any time.  We talked and argued about politics, the BBC, marriage, our family and friends, life, love, stories and spanking.  It always came back to the scene eventually, never in a boring way, but always with an “isn’t this fun / interesting” tone.

I’ve been thinking all day how I’ll remember Alex.  Always, forever is my first thought.  Alex had the all-too-rare ability to argue, be unreasonable and disagree and then to forgive and let the hurt go and still be friends.  His heart was large and gentle, his mind quick and witty without ever being cruel.  He was also loyal and dependable, always looking for a way to help and work on things that mattered to him, be they politics, the SSC (over and over again for the past 10 years) or his forum, Flaming Cheeks.

Good-bye Alex.  I’ll unconsciously look for just one more mail from you, every day for the rest of my life.  “Our Conversation” brightened my life every time your name showed up in my in-box over the past 13 years.

UPDATED: Other posts remembering Alex Birch can be found on Natty’s blogSpanking Writers and All Things Spanking.  A good number (150+) of his stories are archived at Spanking Library (a free membership site).  There are also some on the soc.sexuality.spanking site and on the free membership forum Alex ran, Flaming Cheeks.

11 thoughts on “RIP Alex Birch: The Conversation Ended Too Soon

  1. Indy

    Oh, Mija, I’m so sorry to hear this news, but I thank you for passing it along. Not having been around for the heyday of ASS, I didn’t “know” Alex well, but I could see the qualities that you’ve described so well, and I admired him for them. He’ll leave a big hole behind him– and many, many fond memories. In my book, it’s a hell of a compliment to be remembered as a good friend and an interesting conversationalist.

    Reply
  2. Natty

    It’s funny how much you come to care about people you’ve never met in person. I started crying after I read your post as it reminded me of how fond I was of Alex. Yes, many of those memories were of times I quite strenuously disagreed with him. Yet somehow even those uncomfortable memories make me miss him.
    So sad…so unreal…

    Reply
  3. Orage

    Thank you Mija for your kind words on FC!
    When I started that unfortunate “Is this the end”, it was absolutely not meant as criticism, I was just feeling sad to see FC dwindle away and, knowing how ill Alex was, I only hoped to wake members up.
    I only managed to bring to the fore Sarah Jane’s heartless and shocking answers.
    I’m so glad you added your moving ones.
    Alex had so many qualities we could only guess at when reading him. I admired him a lot and since yesterday I can’t stop crying for a man I never met.
    Orage

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  4. anon

    I am so very sorry… I’d enjoyed his works so much in recent months, and he sounds like he was a wonderful friend to you for many years.

    Reply
  5. Philip Kemp

    That’s very sad news. I didn’t know Alex well, but we’d exchanged the occasional message and he always came across as an exceptionally intelligent and likeable guy. Also a very good writer. The Bottom Lines Library of Spanking Fiction – http://www.spankinglibrary.co.cc/index.php – carries no less than 130 of his stories, all witty, sexy and infused with the sheer sensual delight of spanking.
    RIP Alex. You’ll be missed.

    Reply
  6. Mija

    Thanks to all of you for your comments — I can only imagine how many people Alex has touched in who knows how many different communities. There are plenty of people out there who knew him better than Paul and I did. While they’re not posting in public so much anymore, I know they appreciate reading the comments about him.
    This is an odd weekend. As those who follow my twitter feed know, Paul and I are attending GallifreyOne, the Doctor Who convention with Bridget, Zille and their beloveds– but I am going to reply to everyone when I get home on Monday.
    Meanwhile, something that seems to have caused some confusion, while Alex had cancer and was undergoing treatment for it, what he died of was pneumonia.
    Also, Philip, thanks for linking to Alex’s work at Spanking Library. When I can edit the post above, I’ll add that along with a link to Natty’s post.

    Reply
  7. Orage

    Well, Mija, when you’re as ill as Alex was, you can catch any virus that happens to come near you and it finishes you off.

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  8. Ron M (lw)

    This is really sad news, especially for those who knew Alex well, or even in person. I have known him for a few years as a wonderful writer and e-pal and he was always the epitome of the gentleman: erudite, kindly, always ready with a word of help, even to an awful writer of CP fiction such as myself and one who never took himself too seriously.
    I knew he had been unwell for a long time and that he had had a number of hospitalisations recently, but I thought he was well ‘on the mend’. Alas, that proved not to be the case.
    Good-bye, Alex, you were an inspiration to us all; rest in peace, my friend.

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    Thank you, Mija, for sharing about Alex. I had only known Alex for a little over two years, but I feel like I had know him much longer. We used to have long conversations on IM, and I will greatly miss him. He always gave a wonderful show on hottraxradio.com. I believe he enjoyed DJing very much, and one could tell that he not only knew his music but loved it.
    I had the priveledge of meeting Alex last year, and although he was not ‘himself’ because of his illness, diverticulitis, we had a wonderful time, and I will always treasure the memories. This was right before he was diagnosed with colon cancer.
    Alex was a very talented, thoughtful, caring, sensitive, wonderful man, and I will greatly miss him.
    luv/Lisa

    Reply
  10. bd

    ohh hell no i’m in a flood of tears such a lovely man, always the nice people who go dammitt
    erm can someone post someting on his blog?
    ohh god i’m in in tears, realised from stuff on the blog he was ill oh dammm ohh hell rip alex you lovely man

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  11. Stephen

    Ah, Shit. I’ve been an enthusiastic reader of “Taste of the Birch”, his blog, for some time now. I’d thought it was deeply strange for it to go so quiet for so long, but it was only today I decided to try and do some digging. This is very sad news.
    I greatly enjoyed his blog over the last couple of years, his efforts were a charming addition to life, bringing us much wonderful old spanking material. I had hoped to enjoy his efforts for some time to come, to think the poor fellow has been dead for two months now, his blog is sad place without him.
    Rest in Peace Alex. You and your efforts will be deeply missed.
    Stephen.

    Reply

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