Barnes Tilney

I heard today that somebody I knew at Oyster Partners died a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t really know him, but I’d like to write something about him. I don’t know if this is the done thing or not – I hope his family and friends will excuse me. His name was Barnes Tilney.

I spoke to Barns a number of times, and was present when he spoke to others. He struck me as an amusing, sharp and thoughtful person. I don’t know how long he had had lukemia, but you wouldn’t have noticed that anything was wrong before he went on extended leave early last year to do battle with the disease that defeated him.

After he left, I inherited his documentation for the first iteration of the project I am now working. It may sound somewhat odd, but when you read detailed documentation on something in order fully to understand it, you also come to understand something about the writer’s mind. It’s not as rich as a novel, or a poem, but it has elements of those. You come to know what they think is important, and how they choose to express things. I was impressed by Barnes’s expressive ability, and his courage in taking approaches that I would have shrunk from.

I don’t want this to read like an obituary, because it can’t be one. I hope that somebody who knew him will write that. But death reminds me that I have yet to accept death for myself, and that, selfishly, is why I want to remember him because I hope others might remember me in a similar way.

Barnes did a good job. I hope I will too.