Negative Space

This beautiful short film was featured in Documentally‘s last newsletter. It’s definitely worth subscribing to.

I showed this video to my three children a few days ago; they were captivated, laughed at the end and we discussed it over breakfast the following morning. I love little moments like that.

I think about my dad a lot. He taught me a lot about being ordered and considerate in how I do things, the importance of finding a home for everything and putting it back after using it—something that was more important to him once his brain damage dug deeper and dementia started robbing him of his memories. Not surprisingly, he was an engineer. I often wonder what he could teach me now.

Mum and dad on Highway

A couple of weeks ago I sent a bunch of video cassettes to Digital Converters to be converted to a digital format that I could view and edit on my PC.

Among the cassettes was one featuring this episode of Highway featuring my mum and dad.

Continue reading Mum and dad on Highway

Happy 72nd birthday dad

Dad and me in 1971
Dad and me in 1971

Today would have been my dad’s 72nd birthday.

If he had still been alive and healthy, I wonder what I would have bought him for this birthday…

Dad loved watching Scottish rugby (he would have been very animated watching today’s six nations match against France). He loved motor sports—bikes or cars, it didn’t really matter, although he had practical, hands-on experience of bike racing when he was younger.

At one point he was very much into building models of motorbikes, and his early love of steam railways led to him collecting 00-gauge Hornby models with a long-term plan of converting the old wash-house built next to our house into a room for his model railway.

He sang and acted, he played bagpipes, and he used to enjoy sitting on the edge of my bed listening to Queen, especially “Radio Ga Ga”.

I wonder what he’d have been into now had he not died at the age of 52.

Happy birthday dad, I love you.

Return to Childhood

Misplaced Childhood by Marillion
Misplaced Childhood by Marillion

Yesterday the prog rock concept album Misplaced Childhood by Marillion (then fronted by Fish) turned 30.

Thirty?! How old does that make me feel?

I remember the summer that it came out. My cousins Alan and Colin were into Marillion, I recall, which is what put them on my radar.

During the summer of 1985 my family went on holiday to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. It was an extravagance and looking back my favourite get-right-away holidays while I was a kid: it was a fabulous experience. We were, I recall, in part celebrating that my dad had survived three brain haemorrhages in the spring of 1983 (“Beware the Ides of March!”).

I remember standing outside the John Menzies in St Peter Port gazing at a window display that included a large cardboard cut-out of the boy from the cover. The whole thing captured my imagination: the artwork, the title, even the name of the band (Marillion is a shortening of the Tolkien collection The Silmarillion).

It wasn’t until a few years later before I actually listened to the album. It’s still one of my all-time favourite albums, and by a long margin my favourite Marillion album.

Happy birthday.

Day 4: A song that makes you sad #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 4: A song that makes you sad

Peter Gabriel—Father, Son

(I wanted to embed the official video but wasn’t able to; you can watch it on YouTube.)

I love this song but it always brings tears to my eyes when I listen to it.

It was written by Peter Gabriel about his father Ralph while on a weekend-long yoga trip. These are the lyrics:

Father, son
Locked as one
In this empty room
Spine against spine
Yours against mine
Till the warmth comes through

Remember the breakwaters down by the waves
I first found my courage
Knowing daddy could save
I could hold back the tide
With my dad by my side

Dogs, plows and bows
We move through each pose
Struggling in our seperate ways
Mantras and hymns
Unfolding limbs
Looking for release through the pain

And the yogi’s eyes are open
Looking up above
He too is dreaming of his daddy’s love
With his dad by his side
Got his dad by his side

Can you recall
How you took me to school
We couldn’t talk much at all
It’s been so many years
And now these tears
Guess I’m still a child

Out on the moors
We take a pause
See how far we have come
You’re moving quite slow
How far can we go
Father and son

With my dad by my side
With my dad by my side
Got my dad by my side
With me

What makes me sad is when I listen to this song is simply that I couldn’t enjoy a longer relationship with my own dad. He died when he was 52 years old, having had a triple sub-arachnoid brain haemorrhage at the age of 38.

I hope that I can have long and meaningful relationships with my three sons.