Dawn Foster: In Memoriam

I’m struggling to find words to write about the death of Dawn Foster, but writing something seems important. We were close friends in the early to medium days of our Guardian careers, when we were both attempting to navigate the bullshit, insincerity and toxicity of modern liberal journalism, and largely failing to do so.

Dawn, far more working class and righteous than me, took on a lot of the hypocrisy, wealth and privilege of that bubble head on. I didn’t. Depressed and anxious, I never mustered the confidence to best use the platform I had chanced my way on to. I admired Dawn for pushing through, though it was not an easy journey.

For years, Dawn was a confidant and a partner in crime. As a young, intelligent, working class, left-wing women working in an industry dominated by old, stupid, right-wing, wealthy, men, Dawn was frequently mocked, bullied, and made to doubt her own sanity at times.

Thanks to her own inner confidence, hidden beneath all the uncertainties and doubts that make us all human; good people around her to help sense check and offer solidarity and love; and to her own capacity for facts, detail and calling out the bullshit that surrounds us, Dawn made all the right people angry and wrote things that were important, ignored by others, and true.

She was also fucking hilarious. There were so many running jokes that will seem meaningless to repeat here without context, but our quest to convince people Owen Hatherley once worked for PC Gamer is not one that will end any time soon. I’m now a comedian, but Dawn was the funny one.

Farewell Dawn. As Bill Callahan would have put it, you were hard to get to know but impossible to forget. I’ll miss the streams of hot gossip; the jokes and the schemes; the reassurance of someone agreeing and understanding; drinking in terrible pubs; you crashing on our sofa in Stoke Newington; and us bouncing and laughing on a trampoline at 2am somewhere we shouldn’t have been.

You were a positive force in so many lives, both IRL and online, and it’s up to all of us to remember you in the way you would have wanted: by making sure we don’t let the bastards win.

J x

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