THE Angelus bell could be heard, and in the room a light literally went out. If you put that in a play, even Philip, who saw a lot of plays and stayed till the end of most of them, would probably have walked out. But then his life was a marvellous invention in itself.
He was one of the first to raise awareness of the music of composers Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weil in this country, working with Agnes Bernelle, Gavin Friday and Jim Sheridan and others in that pursuit.
Even when he ventured briefly away from performing, it was to work in the legendary Rock On record shop in Camden Town – which was mentioned in Thin Lizzy's 'The Rocker', and was said to have been the inspiration for the shop in Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity'.
But the most remarkable thing about Phil was not just that he did so many things so well, but that he was so loved by anyone worth a damn in that strange business we call rock 'n' roll.
When he announced that the cancer that had darkened the last years of his life was now terminal, there was an immediate sense that something needed to be done – not just to mourn, but to celebrate the one we called Chevvy.
And so a testimonial was organised in the Olympia in Dublin in late August, and it turned into the nearest thing we have seen in Ireland to the film 'The Last Waltz' – a coming together of a whole culture.
Everybody wanted to be there, everybody felt privileged to be there. Phil was there, too, and made a brief appearance on stage. He spoke a few words, though his voice was almost gone.
So even as he approached the end, he was being creative, being different, turning the final days of his journey into a work of theatre.
Into something beautiful and true.