I first saw the name “D.A. Barham” in 1994: she was one of the first customers at Delphi UK, the tiny offshoot of the then-huge US online service, and I was doing phone support in my spare time from university. She was funny, smart and wild, making a big difference to the otherwise-dull forums. After that, I started seeing her name in lots of other places: not just online, but in the credits of almost every topical comedy show on TV. (I’m sure that nearly every person in Britain has laughed at one of her gags) In 1997, I was being shown around the offices of my new job when she recognised me and pulled me out into the hallway for a chat – we ended up working on the same game. The last time I saw her in person was when we went for a drink in Soho two years ago. The last time I heard from her was when she commented on one of my blog entries a mere three months ago. (I meant to mail her. Really, I did. Idiot.)
I had no idea she was dead until this morning, when I found Bruce Hyman’s send-off in the Guardian. It will be a few days until the stunned feeling wears off. She was too talented and way too fucking young. I have various memories of her illness, but I’d rather not dwell on them. (I know it’d piss her off.) On the illness itself: the most shocking Google query I’ve ever run.
UPDATE (30/04): Cover story of today’s Guardian G2 section.