As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume
In the creation of BAFTD I referenced a magazine (pushing the definition a little) I created with my best friend at School. This was called StarNews and in a way is the starting point for this blog even 40 years ago.
I was shocked to learn a few weeks ago that my childhood friend had passed away from Cancer. Obviously part of the shock was his age (only 52) but also that it was someone I grew up with who is now sadly gone. This has hit me pretty hard because even though like a lot of people with childhood friends our lives took different paths, the memories and relationship have had a huge impact upon me. After our Mid 20’s our contact was limited but the friendship was always there and could have resumed as if the intervening years hadn’t happened, sadly that didn’t happen….
This has deeply affected me and is part of the reason I haven’t put up any new content over the past few weeks. I have been struggling to write this post since then but knew that I needed to write it for myself and for my friend.
The question is where to start, well maybe at the beginning. We started Primary school together aged 4 and he was a cool customer whilst I made a huge fuss and screamed and cried because I didn’t want to be there, he sat quietly taking it all in. Over the years our love of Art and Science Fiction was a thing that defined us. After I had seen Star Wars with my Dad we consumed everything to do with it, we went numerous times together for repeat viewing’s. We would play with the Star Wars figures, we even decided to write and journal Star Wars. When each film was released we would put together all this information and background to the films and write it up in large ring binders along with our own illustrations. One of my fondest Star Wars memories with him was after the release of Return of the Jedi when a local Cinema did a showing of all 3 films together. We went with numerous snacks and provisions and for the first time saw all 3 films together.
As well as our love of Science Fiction we would go on adventures together. Riding our bikes to much further places than our Parents knew, exploring and just having a great time. He was the person that introduced me to Role Playing Games and specifically Dungeons and Dragons (such a great outlet for imagination). Once we even did a 24 hour D&D marathon for charity with our playing group . Like me he was also a bit of an artist at the time, I always thought he was better than me but with hindsight who knows. I remember us both entering a competition to design a Bounty Hunter (that would appear in Return of the Jedi). I believe , though I could be wrong that the winning entry is what ended up as Boushh. I can’t find any record of this but as it’s the only bounty hunter other than Boba Fett in the film it makes sense. If anyone knows anymore let me know. What is interesting is I cannot remember my design I submitted but I do remember Tim’s.
When I was 15 my parents, due to work moved us away but I still kept in touch with Tim. He would come and stay as I would go and stay at his house. Exploring the knew area where I lived we once ended up on a piece of beach that was quickly being taken by the tide so the only way out was for us to climb this sheer cliff. I have vivid memories of grabbing large plant roots only having them break away in my hands. As with all our adventures we survived to have a good childhood story to tell later in life.
It was also Tim who got me into Metal music specifically Thrash. I remember the first time I heard Metallica’s Master of Puppets and Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys all because of this friendship. We saw many bands live such as Donnington Monsters of Rock (1987), as much as Bon Jovi were headlining we were there to see Anthrax and Metallica on their first Gig since the loss of Cliff Burton with the added bonus of seeing Dio as well.
As you can tell I have so many memories, I could go on about our Barge Holiday with 2 boats of Metal fans exploring the canals of the Midlands. Later through our 20s Tim went off to pursue his career and I went my way, on occasion we still kept in touch but as with may childhood friends we drifted apart.
My childhood and my friendship were frequently in my thoughts and will continue to be and I hope he still thought of me with fondness. I was so shocked to hear of his death and it has deeply affected me. I hope in some small way my continuing work on this blog is a small tribute and I imagine him as a Force Ghost watching this blog and telling me to get on with it.
Rest well and Peacefully old Friend
The lights dim, we now resume the main feature