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In memory of Mike Sutton

We were devastated to learn of the death of our good friend and colleague Mike Sutton. He was an active member of the site from the very start and was most recently editor of the film section. He has also been involved in creating content for the likes of Arrow Video and Eureka, writing booklets and essays to go alongside some of their very best releases.

Mike was undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer but unfortunately this did no succeed and he passed away on the morning of 5th November. He'll be sorely missed by every member of the team. Today is his funeral.

To celebrate his life and his time on the site we'll be highlighting some of his most popular and best work over the next week. We'll be starting with is phenomenal Color Me Blood Red review.

If you have enjoyed Mike's work over the last sixteen years on The Digital Fix, and would like to do something to help celebrate this, his family have asked for donations to be made to Ochre - the Oesophageal Cancer awareness charity or Depression Alliance.

Another of our writers, Kevin Gilvear, has a few words to say about Mike...

“The end of a picture is always an end of a life.” - Sam Peckinpah

I joined the Digital Fix team in 2004, five years after it went live. We were a very small bunch back then - a handful of us covering more releases than we knew what to do with, but we persevered and were always supportive of one another when things got a bit too crazy. For a while I wouldn't have had it any other way, I never really liked change. Change is inevitable, however, and along the way people come and go. Not Mike Sutton though, he was the veteran I suppose. He had been with The Digital Fix, formerly DVD Times, pretty much from the start and was one of those figures that you simply had to look up to; you can’t just read something of his and not come away feeling ashamed of your own work. I know it was a sentiment he (bafflingly) felt about his own writing, but in all honesty it was so good that it was frankly intimidating. He set a benchmark for the site, not just for his skilled way with words, but so too in being a walking encyclopaedia in his field of expertise.

I never met Mike in person, despite having had every opportunity to do so at team meet-ups (he was one of few I missed) but I had spoken to him on and off via emails, as well as sitting in on a couple of podcasts with him for the site in more recent times. He was fun and always appreciative of other peoples’ work, regardless of any polarising opinions that there might be. He’d still find a way to be encouraging, praising a review if it was well written, and disagreements never got in the way of showing the utmost respect. I had received such sentiments from Mike directly and for that I'll always be grateful. I can be certain, along with a few other fellow contributors, that he helped shape me to becoming a better writer for the site.

Things like this make you feel pretty shitty. I wish I had made more of an effort to get to know him better. Hindsight sucks that way. Mike never really had the career he deserved as a writer. He was a humble senior service development assistant who you couldn’t help but think was meant for something else; he was professional and passionate in every sense of the word and for many of us was a leading authority on classic cinema. He had some good fortune with Arrow Films and Masters of Cinema in recent years, who saw his talent for what it was, and 2016 was shaping up to be very promising for him. Those few contributions he did make will be treasured. It's a great shame that he won’t be able to contribute any more of his wisdom to the world and I can only hope that what he has left behind will be looked at for some years to come.

Mike probably wouldn't want me to say all this about him. I don't doubt he'd be thinking just what the hell am I on about, but then that was him; he was critical of himself more than he was of his beloved movies it seemed. I think it’s a trait which most of us invariably share. I’m honoured to have known him, even in such a small capacity, and his work with us and beyond will be forever cherished.

Rest in peace, Mike.

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