O Death, pray, cease your restless hand.
Too cruel a year it’s been
Answering your demand.

Woe, how familiar ’tis
To hear you’ve struck again;
How with one sharp, swift blow
you’ve robbed another gem

To help fill another berth,
In the mantle of the sky;
Have you not stars enough?
O Death, please, leave some here on earth.

Well, 2016; two thousand and sixteen; twenty sixteen; you’ve only gone and done it again haven’t you? You’ve done another killing of a much loved icon. Bravo. Honestly, well done; it’s not often that a year has such a distinctive theme. You’ve really committed to grabbing that hose marked ‘Unremitting Year of Death and Tragedy’, turning it up to full blast and pointing it straight at our grieving and unsuspecting faces.

Our wounds are still raw from the death of Gene Wilder and yet here you are rubbing a hot wad of salt into them, like an overzealous Gordon Ramsey marinading a duckling.

Islam Karimov.

Goodnight sweet prince.

Goodnight sweet prince.

You’ve gone and done death on Islam Karimov. Apparently, actors and musicians weren’t enough anymore and you’ve branched out to Uzbeki Presidents. Again, bravo.

It feels like, in the space of a few all too short and far too cruel months, you’ve taken a generation of icons. For those children who feel different, who feel they don’t quite fit in, in their school or in their small town, to whom will they look now? I remember, as a meek, downtrodden child, hiding from the bullies in my room, being able to gaze up at a poster of my hero and knowing that, one day, if I followed my calling, followed my heart, I too may fulfill my dreams of becoming a ruthlessly oppressive dictator of an ex-Soviet Central Asian country.

Move over N-Sync! There’s a new morally corrupt idol in town- Karimov!

Karimov gave me and so many others hope; the hope that flagrantly contravening the human rights of your own people in full view of the U.N. without suffering notable ramifications was not only possible, it was very easily possible.

Yet it was not just his drive and determination that shone like a beacon. Like so many other icons we’ve lost this year, the boy had style, metric shit-tons of the stuff. His inimitable blend of looking like a cross between an elderly Ian Hislop and a peanut in a suit, was truly pioneering. They said it couldn’t be done! They said that fashion, that the world, wasn’t ready! How wrong they were. How wrong they were.

If there are any fashion firemen in the area, please put this man out because he is on fire!

If you would like to join me in commemorating Mr. Karimov, Oxygen.ie will be holding a special mass press censorship and —-TEXT REDACTED—-.

Rory McNab