Friday, February 01, 2013

The Band Played On

Brightly coloured balloons fly from every beer glass strewn table, it's three deep at the bar and the band are leading the audience through a joint rendition of Mustang Sally, it looks like a party and it is, this is the wake for our friend Brian Bailey.

I mostly knew Brian, and therefore his family, through his involvement with Ilkley Cricket Club.  On the few times that I could get a Saturday free to watch a game, Brian would be there, behind the bar or collecting subs or quietly, unassumingly, and with no flag waving just getting on with any of the numerous tasks that need doing to keep a volunteer led sports club running.

Brian always had time to chat to with you, always asked after you and how you were doing, was ever polite and courteous and happy and his sudden death last week came as a tremendous shock to us all.

I have seen Brian's band Five Dollar Shoes a couple of times, it's great to see someone doing the thing that they love and doing it really well.  Brian was a great entertainer, although as Abigail pointed out during the wake, his memory for song lyrics wasn't always perfect, to be honest though, this rather added to his charm as opposed to detracting from it.

I have done a fair few wakes over the last dozen years, and I can honestly say I have never seen a better turnout nor seen a man so fondly and warmly remembered.  Well done Alex, Abigail and Annabel for performing so well, I know from bitter-sweet experience it is a very hard thing to stand up and speak or play or sing in memory of a parent.

Years on from my own mother's death, I can say that still, most days, something happens that triggers a memory of her, a phrase spoken in the way she would say it, something that we used to cook together, or more directly perhaps a photograph or friend recalling her.  Things do get easier, there will come a point where memories become easier to bear and thought's of Brian won't provoke so much raw emotion.  For whatever consolation it is, Brian was tremendously well thought of, a really nice bloke who we all liked and got along with.  Best wishes to Miggy, Abigail, Annabel and Alex, thanks for inviting us to Brian's last big party, it was a real pleasure knowing the man.

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