Twitter Trending Topic of Doom takes Patrick Swayze and Keith Floyd

There’s always a little somersault in the pit of my stomach whenever I see someone’s name trending in Twitter’s most popular topics.

The column on the right-hand side of Twitter’s page relates the most popular mentions over the millions of Twitter accounts globally. If something gets in there, it’s big news.

This means that the first inkling of a celebrity death is likely to come from Twitter trending topics as rumours and news stories get retweeted and people start tweeting their sadness. Sad tweets.

I learned of the deaths of Mollie Sugden, Sir Bobby Robson and JG Ballard this way, and today spotted Patrick Swayze and Keith Floyd’s names in the list.

Kanye West’s frequent appearances in trends is always a false dawn, however.
Trending topics

I assumed Floyd was up there because of his rather depressing appearance in the Keith Allen documentary last night, but it appears that he’s shuffled off to the great kitchen in the sky.

I loved Floyd as a youngster, and could probably say that he stirred my early interesting in cooking. Finally someone who talked about food as if it was enjoyable and fun.

He always reminded me of the kind of family friend who have a sense of danger about them – they could swear at any moment and they smelled of booze and fags. Other adults disapprove, but kids loved old soaks.

We shared a love for The Stranglers. He went as far as having two of their tunes as his shows’ title music. Brilliant!

TV chefs these days revere Floyd, and rightly, but he seemed rather disappointed by them – blaming himself for the rise of the modern TV celebrity chef.

It couldn’t happen these days. Guys like Ramsey may swear and shout, but they tend to revel in a weird kind of puritanical discipline. No fun.

Hellraisers and TV drunks seemed to go out of fashion after the 80s, after which they seemed to crawl away to go bankrupt, get involved in unseemly drunken incidents and develop various illnesses. Finally they keel over, generally in penury.

But Floyd was a glorious product of the time, when a sozzled BBC producer can get his sozzled restauranteur mate a show on the Beeb because he thinks he’s funny.

I’ll raise a glass of wine to Keith, and pop on a Stranglers CD while I cook tonight. But I’ll just have the one.

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