Skip to main content

I've lost a friend: A tribute.

Eddie died last night.  Cruelly and quite suddenly.  He didn't even make 50.

Eddie is, was, the wealthy boggle-eyed wife-seeking missile of an earlier post, and one of my most loved friends.  He never got to read any of my stuff, and I never got to read any of his, although we were both heading towards a reveal.  He wasn't actually boggle-eyed, at all.  He was a handsome dude, a little barrel-chested in his forties, like a foul-mouthed but jovial London gangster: think Bob Hoskins crossed with Tom Hardy.  In his twenties and thirties he was a rock god, all leather and hair and jewellery, like Russell Brand's stylist had dressed Tom Hardy and sprinkled him with even more talent and intelligence, before being taken out and shot, just in case anyone connected Eddie with Russell Brand.  I don't think they ever met, but Eddie was styled like that while Russell was still wearing his school tie in a slightly daring fashion.  Eddie pioneered that shit.

Eddie and I met on our first day at University, but didn't spend a lot of time together until after he burst into my bedroom in the early hours of the morning.  Not in that sense, whatever you may think...

Eighty or so first year undergraduates had been bussed away to the Home Counties, ostensibly to listen to a famous author and do study groups and seminars over two or three days in a country retreat early in our first term.

I remember the author.  Chiefly because I hadn't read anything he'd written.  Still haven't. Despite his Booker Prize and long list of nominations. Shamefully I don't remember the study groups and seminars at all.  Not even a bit.

I remember evenings drinking beer and laughing and smoking, possibly around some kind of fire.

I remember the excitement of meeting a mixed group of people my age.  People who were bright-eyed and interesting and clever, who had come together to study a degree subject, but also to grow up, to become adults, to drink beer and laugh, and smoke around a fire.

We split, as I recall, into two broad but flexible groups: Those who had wanted to detain the famous author with precociously detailed questions about his motivations; and, across the divide; those with matches and a thirst.  The group flexibility was genuine though.  We were all strangers.  United by generation.  And pheromones.  Jesus.  Pheromones.  I suspect our tutors may have retired to their rooms early, unable to cope with the onslaught of teenage horn.  I'd do the same today, if I was in their shoes.  Nevertheless, at least one of the relationships lasts to this day.  Not Eddie's, obviously, although he married his love from this first term, naturally, because he was a serial monogamist with a huge heart and a future history of appalling matrimonial outcomes, but I'll get to that.

I'd also gone Through the Barricades of the group divide.  Cumbrian Abigail was petite, musical, funny, thoughtful and eyecatching like a pixie with a flapper haircut.  Clever in a way that made me sure I was an imposter in this whole higher education farrago.  We'd shared a bus seat and then a headphone each on the journey there, talking about our pasts while Anita Baker wibbled away on my Walkman.  We'd sat together through some unremembered talky academic stuff.  And by the time Abigail had packed away her extensive notes on whatever the last forgotten seminar of the first day had been about, it was clear that our destination was mutual.  We were in the last year of our teens.  Away from home.  There were single bedsheets to be rumpled.

Reader, they were rumpled.  We may have missed dinner.  We may have set records, but fortunately Norris McWhirter wasn't watching.  We may have continued until both our carcasses had been drained of all bodily fluids, had Eddie not chosen to kick my door in and fire himself into my life at some post-midnight point, like a cannonball aimed specifically to provoke coitus interruptus.

"Got any fags?"  As great openers go, it wasn't his finest.  Although plenty of those came later.

I didn't have any, although I had a half-smoked joint secreted away, and once the shock and awe of his entrance abated he stayed for a while, sitting comfortably on the end of the bed while Abigail and I huddled entwined beneath the 15 thread count polycotton duvet, simultaneously fascinated and appalled by this flashy, smelly, unkempt, interesting and interested interloper; hoping he'd both stay and entertain us, and also fuck off soon so we could do more shagging.  Which he did, and we did.  Abigail and I parted eventually, largely because unreliable prophylactics and strict Catholicism aren't a combination made in heaven, no matter how good the teenage sex.  But Eddie stuck around.  For three decades and more.

I idolised him a bit.  We liked the same music and introduced each other to bands, but he could play guitar, whereas I can't even shake a tambourine in time.  Drugs, alcohol, nightlife and performing flowed through his bloodstream, and subsequently, inevitably, mine.  He was dangerous, sometimes.  Fought the law (and the law won), pushed the envelope in all the right ways to press my youthful buttons. Informed, opinionated, articulate, almost invariably charming, but capable of ruthless viciousness when it suited him, though we never exchanged a cross word.  He attracted friends like wasps to a jam jar.  And kept them.

Eddie didn't marry every girl he fell in love with, but he came pretty close, although I know two who both feel they were the one who got away.  He remained incredibly close to the amazing woman he married first, right until the end, and would still be with his second wife had terrible, heart-rending events not ended that relationship prematurely.  Somehow he climbed back from the pits of despair to achieve his most recent and most spectacular divorce, which will stand for all time as the exemplar of why rehab may not be the best place to meet a life partner.  If he'd lived, we'd all be taking the piss out of him now, because he was happily loved up with a mutual friend, and would no doubt have been booking a venue to make it official shortly.  Wasps to a jam jar, like I said.

Throughout all this, he was one of the most loyal people I knew.  I lived some way outside London for a few years, yet he'd burble up on his motorbike on a surprise visit.  My kids adored him.  He chose not to have his own, but had more godchildren than should strictly be legal, and was kind, patient and indulgent with every rugrat that festooned our get-togethers, and there were many of these, and many rugrats too.  He could tell stories, and he was funny, so very funny.  Making him laugh was a great pleasure of mine; hearing that huge guffaw and knowing that I'd tickled him deep inside gave me the warmest of glows.  I'm going to miss that.

He also gave me the two best pieces of post break-up advice anybody ever gave me:

  1. You and your ex will always be the parents of your kids.  You're going to have to talk about them together for the rest of your lives.  So keep things as civilised as you possibly can.
  2. When my parents divorced, and I was the same age as your kids, I heard Parent 1 say some things about Parent 2 that I will never forgive them for.  Don't be that parent.
They became my touchstones throughout the worst of the aftermath of that relationship, and I thanked him often for them.  It's about the only thing I thanked him for.  I never told him he was my hero.  Never told him how much I valued him, at least, not with the feeling I would have done if I'd known he was going to die.  Actually, I did, but I'm pretty sure he couldn't hear me, and it's not how I want to remember him, so empty of vitality and colour.  And I don't want to remember him with Spandau fucking Ballet.  That was a weak joke, because I'm crying.  Again.

He liked this, and it makes me think of him:

I loved you Eddie, so very much.  You utterly magnificent bastard.  Sleep well.


  1. I was just thinking last night I don't have friends that have known me all my life, or even all adult life. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose someone you chose to have in your close circle.

    I never know what to say, I don't know you but I feel your sadness. Sorry seems wrong, condolences seems trite, just know it's ok to not be ok for a while. Remember your friend with a smile and laughter.

    1. Thank you for reading, and for your support. I couldn't imagine what it feels like either, until now. There's a huge hole in our lives. I can't believe he's gone.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Love Life, Part 3. Contains Disappointment.

My Love Life. Part 3 Part 1  and  Part 2  are right here. You really should read them first. They're better than this one. It was almost another two years until I had sex again.  But I fell for nearly everyone in the meantime. After a clutch of 'O' levels (which were like GCSEs but  much  harder, fact fans), I changed schools once again for Sixth Form.  For the very first time in the seventeen years of my life, it was my own choice, unlike my first nine schools.  It meant a move from the small town to the big city, from a white middle-class comprehensive to a mixed demographic community school surrounded by burnt out stolen cars and populated by burned out, sullen, teachers.  'Fame' hadn't long finished on TV and I was genuinely hoping someone would teach me to breakdance, or at least spin on my head. Nobody did. I didn't know a soul there.  But on induction day I met a couple of girls who took me under their collective wing.  In the years to follo

Words...Don't come easy to me. But numbers do. Or do I mean number two?

Sunday evening. Blog posts written:  None .  Inspiration stuck fast, like Augustus Gloop in the chocolate pipe,* with barely 400 words written about what happened after that first night in London.  Can't even tell if it's a good story or not.   * This is not a euphemism Cigarettes smoked: 1 .  And I gave up last year.  I hate myself just a little bit more, which I've been working hard at not doing. Beers drunk:  2 .  Not even enjoyed those.  They're colder than the still memorable message from The One; telling me she'd met somebody else; and every bit as welcome. Steps taken today: 19,004 .  Good, but ruined by the beer.  And the cigarette. Pairs of trainer socks discarded after retreating to the arch of my foot within 50 paces: 2 Pairs of trainer socks discarded in similar circumstances over the last couple of weeks:  5 Pairs of trainer socks remaining in sock drawer: 0 Pairs of normal socks rolled down to the ankle in the hope that I wouldn't lo

This wasn't what I intended to write, but it came out unexpectedly

I was driving down from my villa this morning in search of breakfast at the nearest beach village when I realised I'd have to turn back for another poo. This, in itself, won't come as momentous news to anybody who experiences morning bowel movements.  Which, all being well, is most people, but I'd already had three between getting up, showering and leaving the property. For the record, I have diverticular disease.  This delightful piece of oversharing i s brought to you by the formation of small bulges in the wall of the colon, which has nothing to do with punctuation and everything to do with the passage of food and its by-products through the body.  It's also hereditary, which explains why both my brother and my mother have it too; although not the fact that I was diagnosed years before either of them, despite being the youngest of us.  Here comes the science bit: Who knew  I'd be younger than my mother? What it means, in real life, is that I have to be care

Multiple orgasms. Unexpected hairs.

One of the very last times I slept with someone, back when sex between consenting single people was still allowed, I woke the following morning with a couple of urges that needed to be fulfilled. Grasping between and behind my legs I eventually encountered something long, thin, and disconcertingly unfamiliar. Groping around delicately, I pinched the end of a what turned out to be a hair between my fingertips and pulled inch after tickling inch of it from my puckered balloon knot. Similar to a string of anal beads, except without the knobbly bits, perhaps fortunately. It wasn't entirely an unpleasant sensation, but I'm not convinced I'd subscribe to the YouTube channel. There was more to come. Well, there wasn't, because those  urges had been wonderfully mutual upon waking, but there were, unbeknownst to me, further treats in my lunchbox. It's quite difficult to describe the sensation of pulling what feels like a two foot long hair out from inside one

Is it too early to talk about cunnilingus?

It probably is, because look, we barely know each other.  I've only been blogging for a few days. But, if we do somehow end up naked together, there's a chance it could happen, sooner rather than later. Because, er, I like you.  And you like me.  That's how we got here.  And I'm turned on by you, and I want you to be turned on by me.  And the state of awkwardness peculiar only to those who have removed their undergarments in the horn-infested presence of another for the first time is mutual, so why don't I* take a lead here? * Unless you've really got a frisk on and have already set the pace, so to speak.  I'm easy like that.  If we're already en le frottage , then let's be comfortable with each other.  I'll roll with it.  What goes around comes around, etc. Michael Douglas probably wouldn't approve.   But then I worry if I wear a cotton v-neck, in case people think I'm copying his style.  Which of course I may be, subliminally. 

Headshots. Dating under false pretences.

The only thing worse than a profile with no picture, apart from  possibly anal herpes or doing up a zip fly a tad too quickly and enthusiastically before being fully tucked away, is a dating site profile with just headshots.  Beautiful, well lit, artfully posed headshots, showing off lustrous hair, luscious lips, and eyes like limpid pools of liquid diamonds.  Rather like an iceberg, a headshot only profile tends to have a little more going on below the surface. Or in this case, a lot more below the neck. I’ve learned this the hard way, and broken my own rule on a number of occasions, none of which has led to anything but disappointment. I love a rounded, curvy figure. There’s something very alluring about the softness of warm flesh, the wobble of a bingo wing. I’m no Adonis myself, and it’s completely natural that women (and men) in their mid years might have an extra few pounds here and there, a sprinkling of cellulite, a slight downgrade in the degree of perky pertness that underpi

Honesty, kindness, and unexpected boobies

I really, really want to be kind.  And honest. I've not always been great at it, and in my twenties ended more than one relationship horribly, in a classic remake of "If I Behave Badly Enough They'll Chuck Me" - a movie that nobody's yet bothered to make first time around.  Except me, in live non-filmed documentary form.  Because I was a bit shit at saying, "Sorry, but I don't like you as much as I used to."  Actually, worse than a bit shit. I'm genuinely sorry about that.  Especially to the lovely girl that ended up marrying one of my other good friends.  I went to their wedding.  It's OK.  Honestly.  We're all mates.  Still.  Even after my flailing arms launched a full glass of red wine over her white dress last summer. Phew. Honesty and kindness hadn't entirely worked with Angie, who'd been my first serious newly-single rebound relationship. I adored her.  She'd been the champion grenade-thrower at her Senior School. 

My Love Life. Part One. A Tragedy in Many Parts. A Part in Many Tragedies.

I've been a bit blocked recently in terms of updating my own dating blog.  Mainly because: I'm not currently dating I've written all the tales that follow my typical story arc* I can't write about having my heart shattered, because it isn't funny** * If you haven't read my midlife dating blog before, it's fundamentally full of the various histories of dates I've been on that turned out to be massive disasters, one way or another.  But I try to make them mildly amusing, once I'm over the trauma **Which is basically point one.  But the rule of three applies.  Plus, I've spent ages writing & deleting all my heartache, bitterness & angst. Time has passed, I'm doing my best to let things go. Anyway, there's no angst room here. This was meant to be a guest post. Then Alice  kindly asked if I'd like to write a guest post on her blog.  And I accepted, because, unbeknownst to her, she'd inadvertently caught me at the sw

Trusting a fart, and nine other things I'll never do again

I was up far too late the other night, because what better time to go full-on self destruct than during a global pandemic when you've got to be on an 08:00 Microsoft Teams call in little more than 4 hours? Standing on my balcony, enjoying the silence of Lockdown London and wishing I had a Camberwell Carrot with which to mitigate the respiratory menace, the sudden appearance of blue lights on the street below made me drop my metaphorical spliff in momentary panic. They hadn't come for me, it transpired.  Not yet, anyway.  Turned out it was an ambulance gliding, almost silently, into a space on the road several floors below in the deserted ghetto.  It pulled to a halt, and after a pause a paramedic descended from the passenger side, stood motionless for a minute in the road, and then released a thunderclap fart of such enormous proportions that it set off car alarms a mile away in Maida Vale. For a second I was stunned.  Should I clap for the NHS?  Would all my neighbo

After love

Saw a past love walk towards me Down my street today Same coat Same gait Same hips But at closer range It wasn't her And the snappy opener I had in my head Faded to nothing more than I liked you I'm sorry we couldn't manage To be friends.