On the morning of Sunday the 29th of October, 2017, I found out that Dominic Clegg, one of my dearest friends, had passed away.
Dom was one of the Universes larger-than-life personalities; if I had to sum him up, I’d say he was a cheeky, mischievous, politically incorrect, Bernard Manning joke-loving schoolboy who was trapped in the body of a pork pie-eating behemothic Yorkshireman.
Cleggy always spoke his mind and was the most gifted wind-up merchant (all in good jest, I say, all in good jest!) who lived for cracking banter and laughter with his friends, but most important of all to him, was his family. I honestly can’t recall a conversation with Dom, where he didn’t talk about or show me pictures of his wife or his two sons, That is something I truly respected him for.
I first met Foghorn Clegghorn, as I called him, back in 2007 when we began working together for Mercedes-Benz; in all the time that I have known Dom, I have always wondered how somebody so fucking tight with money could be so amazingly popular? I even know a few Northerners who thought he was tight!
Tight wasn’t the word!!? This was a man who claimed absolutely everything he was entitled to on company expenses, Cadbury’s crème eggs, Monster Munch and the now-legendary ‘Triple Decker Pork Supreme’ sandwich that Dom purchased from the dodgiest motorway services stop in England. He was so tight, he actually squeaked when he walked.
This was a guy who drew collective groans from everyone in the office when he made a rare visit to the office and inevitably tried to sell his infamous Christmas raffle tickets; Andy and I always teased him that we NEVER won any prizes from the poxy raffle and that the Northeners who carried out the draw, probably used to realise they had pulled out a foreigners (Foreigner = anyone south of Bradford) winning ticket and proceeded to draw another until they had found a suitable alternative.
I absolutely relished every second of the close-to-the-mark banter we shared, which was nearly always with Andy, our mutual colleague from Birmingham. Whenever we met up, it was a case of ‘A Northerner, Brummie and Southerner walk into a bar…….’ and we were the butt of each others faux-distasteful jokes. They were the best of times.
The biggest joke and ironic thing of all though, is that Dominic was originally from Kensington in London! He was more of a Londoner and a “Southern fairy” than I am! From aristocratic Kensington no less! Not that you would ever think that once you saw him wearing his flat cap and clutching his favourite whippet. He was the embodiment of a true Yorkshireman, loved Rugby league, cider, ale and homing pigeons. OK, the last one is a fib, but I loved giving him shit about how he had a pigeon called Speckled Jim.
Moving away from the Andy Capp stereotype, Dominic was actually the most unlikely Punk Music fan you’d ever meet (he was extremely passionate about music in general!) and was someone who actually loved curry as much as me. Imagine that!?!
One of my favourite memories of Dom was sitting together in Kiplings, a curry house in Bradford. Karma gave the big man a dry slap after he sat teasing me, constantly, whilst grinning ear-to-ear, about my Indian roots, in a fake Indian accent, whilst surrounded by Indian/Pakistani/Bangadeshi (delete as appropriate) waiters. As I was tucking into my main dish, I suddenly witnessed Dom go bright red and cry like a girl, all because he chomped on the hottest chilli known to Yorkshireman, it was like something out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon and I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend what the World is going to be like without Dominic, how Andy and I will never be the three Mercedes-Benz Stooges ever again with him; I always think people like Dominic are invincible, immortal and ever-lasting because they truly are giants amongst men.
Dom was every bit of that, and will continue to be.
And I shall miss him.
T’Rest In Peace.