There’s always someone isn’t there? Always flippin’ someone. Someone who is just so damn good at it, that you know that no matter how hard you try you ain’t never going to hold a candle to them.

In my junior school football team it was Mark Shearring.

All those hours I spent kicking a ball against that wall in the back garden? Pointless.

His innate talent made every glorious shimmy when dribbling the ball effortless.

He could just do it. Ghosting past the best flailing efforts of the opposition like a ball room dancer.

Without the hours of clumsy, repeated thwacking against the wall. Annoyingly brilliant.

In secondary school it was Ian Morgan. Lead guitarist in the band.

He could hear a song, any song and play it back to you straight away.

And throw the solos in too for good measure. All of us mere journeymen to his stellar sparkle.

At university it was Neil Dudgeon. His charisma and command made our feeble attempts at acting feel apologetic. He’s on the telly now solving all those midsummer murders as DCI John Barnaby.

At the Old Bull Arts Centre, my first job, it was David Sefton. He didn’t hang around for long in the little upstairs theatre in north London.

He went off to the South Bank. Then America. Now the International Festival in Adelaide Australia.

In Colchester it was Kath Wood. While I sold tickets for a comedy club she turned the Minories into a beautiful £25 million internationally-recognised gallery called Firstsite.

On the Park Run it’s Peter Higgins.

While I puff round the slopes of Castle Park, he makes a mockery of his older years by sprinting past me.

His tailwind is all I see of him as if adding insult to injury he offers a cheery hello of encouragement as he gallops past.

In my Spanish lessons it’s Ann. I don’t even know what her second name is. Flippin Ann! Always in with the correct syntax she is.

In cooking it’s Abi, on technology it’s Reggie, in even the most simple task of keeping warm I’m overshadowed by the hamster. He’s always made a cosy little nest for himself. Always someone.

Clive James passed away last week. In the task of column writing, not just my modest efforts, but the whole roll call of scribes the world over fell into his shadow.

He had the brain the size of a small planet but could write as breezily as if your favourite chum were whispering in your ear.

Here he is, while dying of leukaemia, on the wonders of the NHS:

“You might profess to be appalled that the NHS has spent millions on a new drug to stop people suddenly turning upside down and falling on their head, but you will be less appalled the first time you yourself suddenly turn upside down and fall on your head.”

Glorious. Funny, pointed, elegant, concise.

I first read him as the TV critic in the Observer when I was a teenager.

I last read him in the article I’ve quoted last year.

I shall miss him. Sometimes, once in a generation, someone comes along that is so special you just end up feeling thankful someone was on the planet at the same time as you.