Sue Wells – The New Canterbury Tales

March 16, 2011

The Red and Black Bishop #eqnz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sue Wells @ 6:21 pm

They carried him in wearing red and black.

Women bore him in, men took him out.

In between times, Andrew James Llewellyn Bishop (16/12/77 – 22/2/2011) wore red and black too – his coffin painted Crusader colours, unlike his fence at home.  I warned his partner, Amber, she should not expect her fence to remain the colour of the Auckland Blues. (There’s a middle of the night project for Baz and the Greek!)

Bish – 33. Lovely partner, three kids between them. A service that talked about Holdens and wrestling and bourbon and laughing and love, love, love. Funny photos and all the old faces – Bish has been working with the various CTVs since 1993, the same year my first son was born. Talented, passionate, inventive, fun – red and black running through his veins. One of us all the way.

There’s a #newnormal dress code for funerals. It’s not black anymore, it’s the colour that would have best been enjoyed by the person. Bish’s crowd today turned out in red and black to match the Crusaders he so loved. I wore the black suit I had on for my CCHL meeting this morning, but underneath it a hot pink t-shirt with “In Your Dreams” on it in pink sparkles. He would have loved that. His mum Karen did – I showed it to her before she spoke and she laughed and laughed, that brave woman).Red and black balloons, written tributes from little children, banter from Baz and the Greek, hard rock music and just such a damned shame, such a rotten unfair shitty robbing of a good man who had so much to offer. It’s cruel.

Afterwards I picked up my phone messages. Among then, a call from a local paper. “We’ve been emailed a rumour – have you abused your authority and commandeered portaloos for you and a dozen of your closest friends?”

I saw red and black. I delicately and in a perfectly ladylike fashion (mostly) explained what an outright pack of lies that was. I used  plain and simple English which Andrew James Llewellyn Bishop would have applauded. Most of the words I used were short enough for even the simpleton who concocted that particular piece of drivel to understand. I don’t think CTV journalist Sam Gibb, who’s next on the funeral circuit tomorrow, would have contemplated asking me that.

I have invited the particular newspaper to publish and be thoroughly sued. I really, really, really hope they do. After I’ve finished taking them to the cleaners, all the proceeds can go straight to the families of the people we’ve been burying. They will need our help and support and they will deserve our time and energy and attention.

I cannot begin to (don’t want to) comprehend the mentality of toxic people who have such spite in their hearts and such time on their hands that they have nothing better to do than spread poison rather than sow seeds of hope. Let’s hope they find Christchurch too hard really soon. Our lovely city will be so much better off without them.

So just in case you do ever do what I suggested, dear journalist, and read this blog, I hope you feel mightily pleased to know that then I had a bloody good howl at the rotten unfairness of it all. Of the loss of a good man, at the fact there’s a poison-pen on the planet who isn’t worth a penny of him. It’s not that only the good die young – it’s that you only notice when they go.

Have to say though, after a bit of a melt down, the bourbon and coke (here’s to you Bish, who knew the truth when you saw it) tasted as good as it ever will. I can’t stand the stuff usually, but Bish I drank it for you. I knew you liked it.







  1. oh Sue, my heart goes out to you, how shitty in amongst everything we going thru. some people just dont get it eh. What an amazing celebration of Bish today was, my best thoughts of him were the conversations in the makeup room with him and Liz and I, we used to set out to make him blush with “girl talk”! Then he would be talking to me in my on screen earpiece whilst I was filming, and make comments like “your bra has slipped” or similar to throw me off my game!! Love you Bish.

    Comment by Sue White — March 16, 2011 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Sue for making a grown man cry, (me not the Jurno) nicely written and I can almost hear Bish egging you on while dressing down the low-life that calls himself a journalist.

    Peace – RIP Bish…

    Comment by Terry Nicholas — March 17, 2011 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  3. More tears, again. I was googling a poorly addressed letter from IRD (Epic Fail!) for someone of similar surname when I discovered this post from Sue.
    Sue, sadly we have never met, only through my son, Bish or Andy as I always referred to him. I have again been deeply moved by your words relating to the passing of a son we are most proud of. The achievements against all odds, the humour in circles of sadness, the smiles when all else failed, that just touches a slice of the makeup of my eldest son. Andy is with us every day, if not I doubt I would have found your script. There were so many people I wanted so much to meet on the day of Andy’s funeral, but all I recall in the crowd were overwhelmed faces everywhere, all seeking out answers from each other.
    We have grown from this and know our son even more and better for the experience(s) shared with his “other family” at CTV.
    He was always very proud to tell me what he was up to, what sets he built and most recently, how he designed and helped construct the set for Crimpy’s Fishing Show. He knew I would be interested greatly in that as we have worked withing the recreational fishing industry for years and know Crimpy at professional and personal levels. In fact, Crimpy was to have had a meeting that day with Andy but for the flu holding him at home in Nelson.
    So many near misses, another personal friend Brian McFall left a meeting with Andy a mere 18 minutes before the building fell. Why couldn’t they have gone for some lunch after their meeting??!!
    I paced the floor at our home, then in Levin, waiting for answers, feeling aghast with disbelief.
    I too phoned Andy and left several messages. The telephone networks played horrible tricks that day.
    I saw some 40 minutes after the live cross to TV One’s report, a pile of rubble, then a triangular CTV sign. I called Jean (my wife) saying, you had best come and see this. Jean was adamant, Andy will get out of this, he’ll survive that. I knew right then and said to Jean, “Honey, if Andy’s in there, he’s ##**ed”.
    Despite all this, we held onto hope until one sunny day in early March, we were told we could have our son back.
    Funny how things pan out sometimes. From the 22nd of Feb onward, I fielded many many phonecalls asking when are you coming down? I said to them all, when it is the right time and when I need to be there the most. We had a business to run, ferry bookings to consider, our animals and livestock to think of and finances while we closed for an unknown period.
    On Monday Feb 28th, I said to Jean, we best organise to head south, and made the booking for Thursday 3rd March and return booking for 10th of March.
    As it happens, Andy was found on the 28th, identified on the 3rd and released back to us on the 9th, a day before our return was planned. We immediately delayed our return a week to the day after his funeral, which was dated the same number as the date he was born, 16th. He was born in 77, he was lost in 11, on the 22nd day when he was 33, and oddly enough when I was 55.
    We live just down the south road now, just north of Oamaru. In good company with many other Christchurch folk who need to be close but far enough away to feel safe and secure. Bugger me, we even rubbed shoulders with the Wizard today, and frequently see Jim Hopkins, who knew Andy but has no idea I am his Dad, we like to keep a low profile wherever possible.
    I plan to drop by the new CTV site soon and meet some of the faces there, just for a happy moment or three, for peace of mind and as a mark of respect to all who are suffering the losses as much today as ever before. We are all in this together.
    Our love and best wishes to all Andy touched.

    Comment by Lyndsey Bishop — July 3, 2012 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

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