Stunned and saddened to bid a big Barry bye bye to one of the funniest and infamous characters our town has ever seen.
Rest in Peace Robert Mitchell, also known, of course, as Mumbly, our unique first generation punk who was more importantly a son, a brother, a Dad, a Partner – and a mate to so many of us over the years.
Sincere sympathy to the Family, and all those close friends, mourning the loss of a man that meant so much to them – lots of love to you all.
Truth be told, I was totally shell-shocked when my usual Sunday night social media scroll spotted the sad news. Like one touching tribute so poignantly pointed out, Rob was never going to grow old and find himself playing boring bingo in a crappy care home but to leave us now seems so early.
I’m also slightly spooked that my first blog of 2021, eerily echoes last year’s when, almost to the day, I was writing about the shock suicide of Lee Clements. And whilst Rob’s death certainly didn’t have the same cause, both were colourful characters, gone too soon that our community will madly miss.
I always had a laugh with Rob to be fair. The first time we met was when I had a teenage romance with his brother Steven and got to know those Colcot boys quite well.
My fling with ‘Little Mumbly’ lasted a matter of months but my friendship with the Mitchell brothers carried on through the decades and the ups and downs of our lives and loves and, as always, there’s a few tales to tell there!
I bumped into Rob many a time over the years – at the halcyon days of the Comp, in the fun of Fizz Bar, sometimes in the less salubrious Savoy, and more recently at the revived Barry Island Cons.
In fact, I last saw Rob was at the Cons, at the Cadstock Fundraiser I think, and we had the usual banter and bit of a chat. Saw him mainly here in the last few years, because if there was one thing Rob loved, along with his angling, was his music.
My funniest and fondest memory of him, is walking home from the ‘Wedge with him reciting the whole of John Cooper Clarke’s latest album to me verbatim, non-stop, in the style of the punk poet himself. He didn’t let me get a word in edgeways, which, if you know me, was no mean feat.
That, and being at the big The Missing reunion gig a couple of years ago when we were discussing what size tribute T Shirt I should get like a pair of pensioners in Marks and Sparks. (Medium by the way).
I don’t pretend, of course, to know Rob as closely as his loved ones, who must be absolutely heartbroken. I just do know for sure that his death stunned me, sent shockwaves through the town, and he will be deeply mourned and missed.
But that his colourful character will leave both massive memories, and a lasting legacy.
To be honest, I’ve waited a while before posting so I could show some Funeral Plans. But of course, this pandemic means they’re won’t be the usual big Bye Bye Barry style. And I don’t know if the Covid police will even let us stand on the street to give a clear clap as the coffin goes by.
But, one thing I do know is that Mumbly will certainly always be in Barry’s big heart, and whilst this crap Coronavirus means our town can’t give him the send off he so richly deserves, we can all raise a glass in respect.
Rest in Peace Robert Mitchell.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Sue’s Views is the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day. Also recently resurrected in Style Of The City Magazine, it focuses on the hot topics we are all talking about in beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad…and the ugly.