Sunday, December 14, 2008

R.I.P Ricky M.

Richard "Marslando Calrissian" Marsland
September 5th, 1976 - December 6th, 2008

I'm utterly, utterly shocked to hear the news that one of Australia's brightest but most underused comic talents has died, and at such a young age. And am also dismayed that the news of his passing slipped me by for eight days, as I also have been with the fact that brilliant comic director Bob Spiers, a hero of the British TV landscape, didn't warrant an obituary in the local news after all he did over his diverse career.

I find it strange to think that if I hadn't listened to Get This I never would have even known Marsland existed, let alone the brilliance of his comic timing, his quick wit, his near encyclopedic knowledge of music and film trivia, and his at times sickening love for puns, the creation of which seemed a second nature to him. (One of his one thousand-plus nicknames was 'the punel operator') He held the show together, and often seemed to contribute far more to proceedings than Ed Kavalee, who was the official co-host, and all while keeping up with Tony Martin's intense demands for wacky sound effects at every turn on the shows panel. A running joke in the series was that if, at any time, Rich couldn't find a sound effect he'd have to 'sing it' live - this only happened once. (And was hilarious as he tried to emulate the synth-panpipes of Toto's Africa)

So enigmatic and adored a figure was Marsland that the final days of the became pre-occupied largely with listeners speculating about how he lived his life, with most of the suggestions pertaining to a Buffallo Bill lifestyle of pits full of lotion and S&M gear, but along with more plausible alternatives, such as sleeping in a 'ditch filled with Whizz Fizz and pasta sauce', beating up octogenerians until they say 'you're the king, Marsland!', sitting awake in a Rambo style cave, and a sub basement in an abandoned factory filled with shelves of old VHS decorated with photographs of Lehmo taken with a long-distance lens without his permission. Whatever the true answer was is now, sadly, academic.

Marsland this year apparently also became the panel operator of Triple M breakfast show. I was unaware of this having blackballed the network after their unconscionable axing of their top-rating show, but it seems he has had the greatest of falls after reaching his highest success. Every news site that mentions the story, it seems, is copying off the same source, so here's all that is said on the matter.

FANS and friends have paid tribute to Melbourne breakfast radio host Richard Marsland, who was found dead in his car on a lonely stretch of road in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges.

A park ranger raised the alarm after finding the 32-year-old's body in his car at Shiprock Falls around 10.30am (AEDT) on Saturday but despite police resuscitation efforts, Marsland was later pronounced dead.

Victoria Police said an investigation had been launched and a brief would be passed to the state coroner but there were no suspicious circumstances.

It doesn't take a genius to work out what has happened, and the news is thus even more devastating. He deserved much better.

In the final episode of Get This, however, Richard Marsland did, hearteningly, tell Tony that working with him had been a dream over his entire radio career and he did so with characteristic flair and genius for two years. Solace can be taken, then, that he had fulfilled his dream before he passed away. What more can any of us ask?

Condolences to all friends and family of Richard Marsland, most notably his mother and father who both took part in the show, and of course Tony Martin, Ed Kavalee, Gary McCaffrie, Ryan Shelton, Anne Willes, Peter Helliar, Myf Warhurst, Greg Fleet, Nikki Hamilton, Katie Dimond and Shaun Michallef. He will be sorely missed.


Youth of Australia said...

Hell... puts my day in perspective.

Poor bloke. He didn't even make it till Christmas...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Hell... puts my day in perspective.

Well it wasn't my intention to sadden anyone. I just felt the need to express my disbelief and sadness at this revelation.

Youth of Australia said...

Ah, it's OK. Indeed, it's positively inspired me...