I’ve known Jamie since we were about 14. We hung around in the same group of friends frequenting dodgy music venues. We passed each other by in these times exchanging nods and then carrying on with our lives.
We all went our separate ways– college, uni, work. When I was about 19 I got a random email. He’d found me on friends reunited and sent me this:
“I always fancied you at school. Jamie x”
Typical James style. To the point and verging on inappropriate!
I don’t even know why I replied. I was a shy, unsure middle class 19 year old and wasn’t used to this kind of brass upfrontness! Maybe it was the sheer cheek and audacity of the message which made me reply. Im glad I did though
We met up and were pretty much best friends from that moment on!
Most weekends we spent on train travelling to various parts of the county. Brighton, London and Cambridge featured a lot. We never really did much. Just walked the streets talking, sharing headphones and taking photographs. We were in our own comfortable bubble and didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the world.
We would sometime go to see our heroes – Manic Street Preachers, Pete Doherty, Kings of Leon and other bands we thought were cool at the time (We Are Scientists, The Bravery, Bloc Party, Mrscruff, Arcade Fire.)
Most of the time James got us into these gigs for free. We posed as photographers and music journalists on many occasions and somehow this worked! James had a wonderful ability to engage with anybody and his cheek and charm ensured he always got what he wanted!
As time went on we both grew up. Life took us in different directions and to different parts of the country. We stayed friends for many more years, Talking daily via email, msn and on the phone. We would meet regularly to moan, laugh and as always, do nothing.
James always looked out for me from when we were teenagers right through to being fully grown adults! No matter what he was struggling with, he found the time and energy. He was always genuine. He would get visibly angry and upset if something had troubled me and would try to do everything in his power to fix it. Conversely, he would be over the moon if good things happened and would share in my happiness.
I wish more people saw this side of him. James was the sort of person you would apologise for before he met your other friends, and probably again after he left. They would think he was a twat, but also ask if he was coming out next time!
This wasn’t the real James though. Just a persona to see if people were worth his time. James was kind and thoughtful. He had a heart of gold and made friends for life. He was witty, intelligent and funny. My dad taught him to drive and would look forward to his lessons. He enjoyed the honesty and rawness you got with James if you were lucky enough to be let in. I was proud to be his friend and missed him when he wasn’t around.
The last few years we weren’t as close as we had been. I always assumed James would beat these demons and we would go back to the way we were. I miss my best friend all the time. I missed him even before he passed away. I wish we could back to being 19 years old, sitting in Pilgrims Progress just doing nothing.
My memories of James will however be happy ones. Our friendship was a big influence on my life and some of my happiest times. He gave me confidence and taught me to follow my heart and fuck what anyone else thinks. He built me up, bought me out of my shell and showed me what a friendship should be. I discovered amazing music with him (…….and some shit music……..The Bravery ?!! really what were we thinking). I found out that not following the rules often led to amazing things and that you don’t always have to think before opening your mouth!
James you were my best bud for many years, a huge part of my life and the biggest pain in the arse.
I miss you clart. Try not to piss anyone off on the other side x