Monday, 28 January 2008

The Life of Brian

Brian was my best friend's brother and lived a few doors down.

When my friend's mother left them with their Dad to go live with her lover, they learned how to look after themselves quickly. By the time they were in their teens, they were both able to cook a roast dinner but, mostly, Brian left it to his sister to sort out the food situation.

Girls didn't fancy Brian. We didn't even like him much. He was chubby with red hair and a couple of years older than us. He used to blame their huge phone bill on my friend and me.

He worshipped Arsenal Football Club and the glamrock group, Slade, and went to see both whenever he could. He wore big, shiny, red top hats covered with Arsenal rosettes and festooned himself with red and white scarves.

He would do that funny half-jumping dance around their living room to C'mon Feel the Noiz and Goodbye T'Jane. He was loud. He did 'boy' things. He got in the way when we were trying to boogie to our 70s disco records. He shouted all over the top of 'She' by Charles Aznavour when it knocked Slade's single off the Number One Spot and was played on Top of the Pops.

When I was in my mid-teens, we moved away but kept vaguely in touch with what was going on in the street that we still regarded as home.

Suddenly we heard that Brian had a girlfriend. She had her own flat and had thrown out her ne'er-do-well ex to be with Brian. They were really happy together for a couple of weeks.

It was Brian who opened the door of her flat that fateful day and it was Brian who was stabbed through his heart with a carving knife wielded by the jealous lover.

He was 22 years old.

I have a CD of Slade's Greatest Hits. It always reminds me of Brian, who died before he had ever really lived.

16 comments:

Walker said...

That's a terrible thing to happen to someone that young and in love by the hand of someone who couldn't face reality.
Sadly this happens much to often because people can;t face the truth about themselves and have to hurt others for their faults.

nitebyrd said...

How sad. It's nice you want to remember him and have written a loving memory.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Oh my, I so did not expect that. How tragic. But how lovely that all these years on you have written such a positive tribute to him. BG
PS I've not forgotten I owe you a mail, typing is limited atm, hope all's well x x

Wild Catz said...

So tragic. x x x

Isabella Snow said...

My God how awful.

Allie said...

That is terrible. Your story gave me goosebumps.

Blazngfyre said...

How tragic and sad.
So young, so much undiscovered ... all because someone couldn't face the truth.

Z said...

That's so sad. It's always music that brings them back.

Juno Henry said...

Your memory of him is so... human. So real.

I also lost a friend that age, long ago. I still miss him, and music is the most evocative reminder.

Beautifully put.

Brainiac Chick said...

That is enormously sad and quite disturbing, really. People can be so cruel. But, at least it's good he died happy.

Gorilla Bananas said...

It was honest of you not to pretend that you liked him, yet still feel sadness at his tragic end.

Vi said...

What a tragic thing to happen.

RONJAZZ said...

Wow, Cake...I am speechless. A touching and heartbreaking thing to share. Thank you, my dear...

having my cake said...

Walker/Nitebyrd - It was the first time that violence had really come that close to someone in my life and it had a major impact.

BG - It's ok, in your own time :)

Wild Catz/Isa/Allie/Blaze/Vi - You grow up with them and you just expect their lives to continue as yours does, not be cut short in such a dramatic way.

Z - Strange how certain songs always bring back memories - of people and places.

Juno/GB/Ron - It's weird because he wasnt really a friend as such but he was part of a group of kids who grew up together but, unlike the rest of us, he never went on to do the things that we've all done. I think I appreciate the sadness of it more now that I have teenage kids who are on the brink of adulthood myself. I am reminded of how his life was snuffed out in a second because of someone else's actions.

Brainiac Chick - In some ways, the fact that he was happy at the end makes it worse.

George said...

To lose a life because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time is terrible. If nobody had answered perhaps they would still be alive and together. So very sad

toby said...

All life is chance. We are not so aware of it when luck is on our side.

He had less life than most, but more than some.