The silver lining about my friend Llŷr’s passing, the one good thing that has come from it, is that I got to meet up with, and renew many friendships which had fallen by the wayside in the 10+ years since I left Cardiff.
I suddenly find myself blessed with invitations to meet up for post-work beers from those that work in or around London, with camping holidays from those that live further afield, or with requests for suggestions for new music to listen to.
Since I last saw him, Martin – a very dear friend of Llŷr and mine – has grown a massive bushy beard that means that should he ever venture up to the big smoke, I can take him to Shoreditch and he’ll fit right in.
There’s many people that I rue having lost touch with since I moved away. Martin is very high on that list. We follow each other on Twitter, say hi on Facebook every now and then, the occasional text. But there’s nothing quite like seeing one of your old buddies in the flesh for the first time in a long time to remind you of what you’ve left behind.
In the wee small hours of the morning after the funeral, as we both sat, pissed, in the front bar of the hotel where the reception (not a wake) was held, Martin (and he won’t remember this) kept patting my knee and saying “You’re one of the good ones, you are.”
I can’t remember my heart ever swelling with pride as much as it did then.
Martin and I have a long history of being total R.E.M. loving nerds, so we have a good touchstone when that request comes in: can you recommend anything new for me to listen to?
I don’t really do “new”, as you all know, but here’s what my reply was:
“Steve Mason’s (formerly of The Beta Band) new album is pretty great, as are Ratboy, Twin Peaks, Traceyanne and Danny, Tony Molina, and Thundercat. Also I’ve been listening to a lot of Lee Hazelwood recently, but I’m going to assume you know him already (ditto the first, eponymously titled, Violent Femmes album). I’d also heartily recommend anything by Townes Van Zandt.”
Admittedly, Ratboy and Thundercat were curveballs, suggested purely to hint at a diversity in my musical taste I aspire to (I do like them, they’re just not the sort of thing I’d normally listen to, or recommend, hence me considering them to be worthy of mention, if that makes sense. Ok. I admit it, I was showing off).
But it is to Mr VZ that we turn to this morning, with this little beauty:
Llŷr‘s younger sister Sian is running the London Marathon this year, raising funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. Thank you to all that have donated thus far; to everyone else, if you can spare a couple of quid I’d be really grateful if you could help them out.
Here’s the link: