Be Llŷrious

Today is the fourth anniversary of the passing of my best friend and honorary little brother, Llŷr, and as regular readers will know this series is where I share a memory about him. It’s my way of keeping him alive, I guess.

Whilst I’ve been off work unwell for the past couple of months, I’ve taken full advantage of all the various streaming services I subscribe to, and recently embarked on watching a Channel 4 comedy drama which so reminds me of Llŷr, that it almost became the subject of this post, until I checked back and saw that this time last year I also wrote about some TV shows we both loved, so I figured I’d save it for another time.

So instead, a music- based reminiscence, and I suppose I should start by explaining why there is a picture of an aubergine (or egg-plant, as our American friends inexplicably call it) at the top of this post. Truth be told, whenever I see a picture of the purple fruit, I think of Llŷr, and not for the reason you mucky emoji-obsessed folks are currently imagining. I should clarify immediately, but I’m not going to; all will become clear.

When Llŷr and I first began sharing a flat, we both knew the other was a massive popular culture nerd obsessive, and that the favoured emphasis was most defintely on music. My chunky stereo – turntable, 5 CD, non-DAB radio, twin tape deck – got positioned in the living room, along with my extensive CD collection, since Llŷr had, of course, called ‘shotgun’ on the larger of the two bedrooms, and there simply wasn’t the room for them all in mine. Not if I planned on having a bed in there too.

Llŷr’s vinyl collection lived in the lounge too albeit in a much more prominent position. Because vinyl looks cooler than CDs.

Flat-sharing meant that we now had unlimited time to peruse each other’s hoarded stashes, as I often did with great envy. I occasionally got the feeling that mine was viewed with a bit of a chuckle, and a rueful shake of the head – not neccesarily of disapproval, more disappointment when I owned records by certain acts, but perhaps not the right records by them.

A case in point:

“You’ve got some Dire Straits albums…”, Llŷr once said to me, not in an accusatory manner, more quizzical. He’s right, I have, and I’d previously owned more on vinyl, but I’d left these with my father when he expressed an interest several years earlier and I’d decided they didn’t quite project the cool indie-kid image I had cultivated at Uni.

“I have indeed,” I confirmed, nonchalantly. “And….?”

“No, no, nothing…I’m just disappointed you don’t have the one tune by them I like.”

It transpired that it wasn’t the actual song he liked. but the video which accompanied it, which consisted of a load of US sporting bloopers, the equivalent of those you would find playing alongside the closing credits on late 70s/early 80s Burt Reynolds’ films like Smokey & The Bandit and The Cannonball Run.

This one:

And not an aubergine in sight yet, no matter what you think of Knopfler’s headband.

One day, his opening gambit was “I see you have a Cud CD single….”.

“I have indeed,” I confirmed, nonchalantly. “And….?”

I had this one:

Cud – One Giant Love

“Nothing, nothing,” Llŷr innocently protested. “I’d not heard it before, it’s really cool.”

It’s always nice to have your musical taste vindicated.

“But, have you ever heard this?” he continued, dropping the needle on to the 12″ single he had all lined up and ready to go on the turn-table.

This one:

Cud – Purple Love Balloon

And that’s why I miss him so much; the unconditional acceptance of any of the less conventional (or, rather, in the case of Dire Straits, too conventional) records in my collection, and the desire to expand my horizons by nudging me in the direction of something else I might like.

Plus, I bet those Burt blooper reels were somewhere in his taped-from-TV video collection.

Miss you dude.

More soon.

Hello!

Don’t worry: on brand as it may be, I’m not really going to have my first proper post in months feature a track by The Frantic Four.

In fact, I’d prefer if you didn’t think of this as a proper post at all.

I’ll explain: I’m still signed off work, as I continue to suffer from the problems, pain, and loss of movement and strength in pretty much all of my joints as a result of my recent psoriasis flare-up, and this is most pronounced in my legs and hands.

I can only walk with the aid of either a walking stick or a frame; I struggle to open or grip things, and writing and typing is difficult and painful, to say the least.

So, no, this isn’t a a proper post. What this is, is rehab. I’m due to have my first consultation with a rheumatologist this Friday, but in the meantime I figured I needed to take matters into my own hands – literally – and start trying to do some of the things I’ve struggled with recently.

And so here we are.

The plan is to try and post a few short pieces here – probably relating to my progress – every now and then, in an effort to get myself back to something approaching normal (whatever that is).

This seemed appropriate to soundtrack my sort-of-return (and it’s a banger):

Martin Solveig Feat. Dragonette – Hello (Original Mix)

More soon (but probably not too soon…).