Steve McDermott

Five and a half go MAD up North

Remembering the one and only great Clive Gott

• 2005 charity event “Five and a half go MAD up North” doing our impression of Queen. Front row left to right Paul McGee, 12 year old Finlay McDermott and myself. Second row Phil Hesketh and John Hotowka. And one of the few times he could be found at the back the much missed Clive Gott

So mate it’s exactly a year since you left us but I just wanted to take a moment to remind people of your legacy. You were known for your brilliant comic delivery and myself and the speaker friends above did get to wondering if you’d faked your own death just to see our faces when you returned! You were so outrageous I wouldn’t have put it passed you. But sadly I guess I won’t be seeing you today. But me and the lads will be having a drink in your honour tonight. I know you’d agree that humour if one way of helping deal with loss and what a loss. But I can hear you saying “Bloody Hell Steve stop talking bollocks and let’s get to the legacy stuff and will you put a smile on your face whilst you are at it”. By the way Clive our beloved Rhinos are still doing pretty good – World Champions no less. You’d be chuffed.

2004 poster for McDermott & Gott Unplanned

So what has Clive left us to ponder? I was privileged to share the stage with him on many occasions and here are my personal favourites. Feel free to add your own.

Speak your truth

Clive believed deeply that as individuals we should always speak our own truth. This was one of the traits that made him such a great speaker. What he meant was that we shouldn’t change our convictions or hide from saying what we really thought even it might not be what the other person wanted to hear. Those people who knew Clive can all recite examples of how he lived this both from the stage and in person. If you asked Clive at  Professional Speakers Association (PSA) meeting for feedback on your speech boy did you get it! (Just ask my mate The Bulletman – Paul Kerfoot). I personally nominated Clive to be a Fellow of the PSA and I know he was very proud when he became one. This honour didn’t stop him resigning when, a few years later, as he saw it the PSA took a route he didn’t agree with.

He was also brutally honest about his own struggles. I well remember him telling everyone in the clearest possible terms about his own acute bout of depression and in so doing he inspired and freed others to share their problems as well as share their achievements.

An ordinary person can do extraordinary things

Clive often said, unlike many other speakers, he had absolutely zero qualifications. But he did know how to set goals and achieve them including running in the “Marathon de Sables” – a six day race across the Sahara desert and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. His work with young people in particular showed them that to be successful in life wasn’t only about academic qualifications but more about having a real sense of purpose and a system to set big, stretching goals.

His old school report which he use to read out on stage said “What Gott has got to realise is that he won’t get very far in life if he keeps talking in class all the time”. Clearly his teacher hadn’t heard of a career as a professional speaker.

Well Clive didn’t let teachers or anyone else steal his dreams. He’d tell kids, and adults alike, don’t be jealous of other people but instead play the cards life has dealt you (in his case being ginger and having to wear his sister’s hand me down jumpers to school). One of my favourite presentations Clive gave was where he talked about looking up in the sky and seeing all the vapour trails being left from planes jetting off to various destinations. He said we might be tempted to be jealous of the “Lucky” passengers on board and wish we were them. Instead he said we should get busy making some vapour trails of our own for others to follow.

Pay it forward

Clive really lived his life with abundance. He was a big fan of doing something for someone else without ever expecting anything in return. Watch one of his favourite films “Pay it Forward” for inspiration on this principle. Better still buy some flowers today for someone you love not because it’s their birthday but just because you love them. Or just buy some for yourself – Oh and one final thing can you tell them the flowers are from Clive Gott. Thanks.

See the man doing his stuff here Clive in action



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