We will all have our own memories of John.
I have nearly 30 years to pick from but I’ll try to limit myself.
Overall the most abiding memory I will keep in my heart is of a gentle, kind man with an enormous enthusiasm and capability of enjoying whatever it was he was doing. Whether it was something a simple as having a meal with someone or something a bit more complex, such as the time he conspired with my wife Margaret to spring a surprise birthday outing on me.
We visited many Beer Festivals together and it was always a good laugh. We would pretend to be Jilly Goolden and Oz Clarke and go into raptures about the beers we were tasting, making reference to them smelling & tasting of Ugli fruit, wet straw and hot tar. All nonsense of course but good fun! Alas, there were fewer of these in recent years….
As most of you will know, John was a big fan of “The Prisoner” television series. We took part in a good number of Prisoner events, both here in the South East with monthly meetings, walkabouts & coach trips and at Portmerion itself in Wales, usually staying with Chris & Sue Reeves, who have known John a similar length of time to me – Chris introduced us one night in the Royal Oak. John, Margaret & I spent several non-Prisoner holidays with Chris & Sue. Unfortunately, they are unable to be here today due to travelling problems.
John enjoyed music. Particularly the group “van der Graaf Generator” from whom he took his CB handle ‘van der Graaf’ and as he was still known to a number of people. It is part of his e-mail address. He was a fan of Peter Gabriel and of Kate Bush. I could go on but I will mention just one more. We went to see John Otway as frequently as we could. I don’t mention it all that often (yeah, right) but our friend John & I are top ten recording artists. Well all right. We sung backing vocals for Otway on the B side of a CD that reached No 9 in the charts – along with about 900 other ‘choristers’ as we were collectively known! But we can say our names appeared on the CD sleeve and we have recorded at Abbey Road studios.
I could go on & on but I will leave it there.
It’s time for a little music. First I have picked an Otway song. He started his career and remains at heart, a punk rocker but fear not, he has also written & recorded a number of ballads & this is one of them called “Day after Day”.
In a short while we will also hear a piece of music from the Prisoner episode “Arrival”, used as incidental music for a Funeral scene.
John’s body has left us but his spirit will live on in all of our hearts.
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