This evening I learned the terrible news that Richard Marsland has died, aged only 32.
Marsland was a wonderful radio talent, whom I got to know as the panel operator for Get This, the brilliant and criminally mistreated Triple M show of 2006/2007, that was co-hosted by Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee.
He was also an accomplished comedy writer, contributing to shows such as Rove and Newstopia.
I have listened to countless Get This podcasts since it left the airwaves just over one year ago. Radio's brilliance is that feeling of direct connection it gives you to the on-air personalities - you become involved in their world, and learn to love their quirks and characteristics.
On Get This, Richard was the good-natured whipping boy for a lot of Martin and Kavalee's jokes. Often, Ed would read out a story about a bizarre act or crime, then claim he had audio of it occuring. He'd put on a silly voice and declare "I'm Richard..." before going on to take responsibility for said act or crime, usually accompanied by a reference to Marsland's supposed love of The Veronicas or Lily Allen. But perhaps he is best known for his version of the disco hit "The Venga Bus", by The Venga Boys. You can see him performing the song here, at a party held after the final episode of Get This on November 23, 2007. Despite all of their riffing, the trio obviously respected each other enormously, and their sense of humour, sketches, routines and satire not only sizzled, but cut through and had traction to boot. Richard was the goofy heart of all of it, and I loved listening to him.
While Richard and Ed had moved on to other radio projects, and Tony Martin had retreated back into the world of films and writing, a part of me always hoped the boofheads at Triple M might realise what a terrible mistake they'd made, and one day bring back Get This. Sadly, Richard's death means it probably will never be. That realisation adds another dimension to an already staggering loss.
Victorian police say Richard's death is not suspicious. Please, if you're feeling down, or upset, or need someone to talk to, contact Lifeline on 131 114, Sane on 1800 18 7263, or log on to www.beyondblue.org.au or phone 1300 224 636.