TIMES were hard and they were about to get harder, but at least I had something to look forward to and the last thing I needed was this.
It was 2003, my relationship had ended and my dad was about to die, but I didn’t know that yet. Maybe I should have, but that’s a different story.
Tomorrow was Glastonbury, but I was home late from work and still had to pack. It was the first time I had left my new CD player (the old types where the frontage was removable) in the car.
I woke up in the morning and saw a trail of CDs on the path, all of them which I also owned. Then it hit me. They were mine. Glass was strewn over the pavement and whoever had nicked the CD player had legged it with most of the CDs, smashed the window and damaged the interior of the car.
I rang home. I don’t know why. I was 300 miles away and there wasn’t much they could do. I must have sounded desperate, and I think it was just one of those situations where one thing after another mounts up and the last bad happening tips you over the edge.
I took my car to be repaired and my mate drove to the festival, we did the usual things that you do at such an event and I returned to find my dad had posted me a cheque to buy back the CDs I had lost.
It wasn’t really his style as he didn’t much go in for music and generally struggled to understand why I spent so much money on it — his questioning was justified really.
I carefully went through each one I could remember, wrote them down and gradually replaced them. I knew something was missing though.
Then in the December my dad was admitted to hospital and died on my brother’s birthday.
Music got me through that period — so he wasn’t entirely right — and one night I remembered the final album I was missing and duly bought it, feeling, if not pleased, that I had at least done right by him.
The power of music to change your mindset and mood can never be over-estimated and one night last week I was in on my own and, for the first time in ages, played the album I bought after my father’s death, Mayors Of The Moon by Jon Langford and His Sadies.
A strong Welsh singing voice, semi-acoustic yet gritty guitar, poignant lyrics that brought back memories of other kind acts I had forgotten such as the time he crouched down outside the village newsagents, pointed in the window at the selection of Matchbox cars and said: “Which one do you want? Just choose one.” I went for the brightly coloured Dragon Car and could sense his disappointment. I don’t think it was macho enough. There were other moments, some of which I maybe didn’t judge as being too kind at the time such as the enforced membership of the Working Men’s Club for my 18th birthday, present
Some might say I remember these moments because there weren’t that many or they weren’t that obvious, but I remember them fondly because they were genuine. If I asked I didn’t get, but he would give when the moment seemed right and I wasn’t expecting it.
That CD — the music is also available on various streaming services etc — will always remind me of him and of what kindness really is.
On that particular day in 2003 my father was my Mayor of the Moon.