Friday, 12 January 2007

Borrowing...Stealing...Being Inspired

Following an inspiring post over at Sicily Scene, and trying to keep up with something Tom Paine said about me, I would like to recall something that means something to me.

I went to a private school (boo) with no real history of Oxbridge entry until my friend and I secured places in 1995. We liked to believe that we blazed a trail for the two genuinely talented guys beneath us, Peter Harrison and someone else to follow in 1996 - real name, for a reason that will become clear.

We were not great mates with the two, but once they came up to Oxford we became very close friends, playing snooker, getting babs (kebabs, not a misspelling of "babes" - heaven forfend - we were geeks' geeks), drinking cider, until some time after we left Oxford; when I at least, lost touch around five years ago.

I met a guy in the pub in June last year who was friends with all of us.

"Did you hear about Pete Harrison?" he said.
"No," I replied, thinking he'd become a CEO or been made a chess grandmaster.
"He died."

My world fell beneath me. Pete had been ill, and had been suffering the last time I met him, when he had told me, and because of some total inadequacy on my part, I had _forgotten_ - I mean, deliberately so. The memory of his telling me only surfaced at the moment I heard he had died.

Peter has, at least, if he is around anywhere, the satisfaction of a beautiful obit in the school mag: what it does not say is that he was teased for years - when he got to Oxford he finally met people of his intellectual calibre and was utterly unlike many of them. Unassuming, funny, modest, loving life, trying to discover- that was Peter, and friendly to boot. Pete was way, way above me. In all ways. He was a great man and he is a loss not just to his family, but to life. To the world.

Pete - I miss you and I am sorry for losing contact when I should have been close to hand. I think of your floppy blond fringe and your horse-like laugh, your intelligence and your humanity.

The soul...goes beyond being...and enters...the divine world...


james higham said...

Tin Drummer, you can never reproach yourself. The other wouldn't want it and it gets you nowhere. [I think of my parents as I write this.] It is a question of just what happens in life.

There is a song by a group over here called Chaif, a famous song called poplach o hyom, which means, roughly, cry over him while he's still alive. It sounds brutal but it's quite the right thing to do.

This is what I was told by my mother, whilst she was alive.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

This is a lovely tribute to your friend, tin drummer, and the way you describe him I can almost see him.

Thank you for mentioning my post.

The Tin Drummer said...

Thanks James. You are right. I wanted to see Pete float over the blogosphere before it was too late...

WL: It was your post that made me write this. I hate writing about my private life but your post made me think it could be done well: Pete was a good man, a really good man, among selfish grasping gits, and he deserves whatever I can write about him.

Liz said...

Living in someone's memory in such a way as this is the best anyone can hope for.