24 October 2015

Together forever

I stashed away a link to a live performance of this song some time ago - then messed up trying to complete a posting, lost the original link, and found another. But this one is better: it has Rabbie Noakes in it, and it was before Alan Hull's untimely death: and I feel moved to refer to a Lindisfarne song for two reasons. I also feel an attachment to this song, and its sentiments.

It's inevitable that as I get older (and much as I want to deny it, and contrary to a certain amount of evidence, that is happening) people who have been important in my life will die. Lindisfarne were an important part of my life, and now Si Cowe has passed away too I realise that the band, despite the fact that bands  have a sort of corporate identity separate from the individual members, had died too. Perhaps it died with Alan Hull, although his son in law was a brilliant substitute.

After Lindisfarne originally split, and three of them became Jack The Lad, I met them at a gig at university which I covered as the photographer for the Warwick Boar. At first, I wrote that I'd never met Si, but how then to account for the autographs on the last JTL album? But I did nearly meet Si another time ... and it seems I haven't told the story on this blog before.

Before travelling to INTA in Toronto, in - when? 2005? - and acting on a faint recollection that he'd moved there to brew beer, I somehow located a bar which had some claim to be his local. The landlord emailed me to assure me that he usually called in on Saturday afternoons. For reasons that I'm not sure I could have explained at the time, and which are certainly lost now, I resolved to go and see if I could meet him. I have learnt not to ask myself "why?". Just that the opportunity was there.

It was a long walk, and although I could have taken a tram, budgetary constraints meant I walked whenever possible. Still do. I spent an enjoyable hour or two in the bar, drank some nice beer, and chatted to a number of people, but no former members of Lindisfarne. Eventually the lady behind the bar phoned him. He could have been excused for worrying that he was being stalked by a dangerous lunatic, but he was happy to talk and I had a pleasant conversation with him. He declined the invitation to my firm's forthcoming party, and that was it. And as stories go, it isn't really very interesting either.

The other day I finally met the final member of last year's class from the Academy, or State University as I should learn to call it. (I can handle the original name in Russian, and substituting "university" for "academy" is no problem, but государственный is a word I just can't fix in my mind.) I hadn't met Marianna on my trips to Moscow because she was living in England. We went for lunch in Oxford, boarding a bus at the Park and Ride and (here's the connection with the song) at my insistence sitting in the front seats at the top, which I always do in a double-decker precisely because of Rab Noakes (who incidentally I have met). Over lunch - here's another connection - talking about regional accents, she asked if I could speak Geordie. "Way aye!" I replied, but refrained from adding "ye bugger". She might not have realised that it's a term of endearment.

Which brings me to my Saturday morning run - not just mine, but the Saturday morning run of thousands of people all over the world. Uneventful, over a minute slower than last time, Jean-Luc thought he'd beaten me when he passed me at about 2.2 miles but he was wrong as it turned out, and the Polish ultramarathon lady didn't pass me this time: I spotted her tee-shirt in the distance ahead of me, so no photos on Facebook this week of me looking unreasonably shocked to see her come past.

Having had some rather unflattering photos taken at recent events, giving the impression that I'm shuffling rather than running and my arms are flopping uselessly, I tried to pay particular attention to my form today - now waiting to see if anyone got any photographic evidence.


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