For those of you who don’t know me I’m James’s dad, and thanks to The Simpsons since about 1988 mostly known as Homer to the boys.
I’m going to try and say a few words about James, please bear with me…
It has been of great comfort over the last horrible month to read all of your comments on social media, texts and cards, to see how much James meant to you is very humbling for us all….
At the moment, we are still in disbelief and nothing really seems to make any sense. Time seems to have stood still for us.
It’s a mark of the man to see so many people here today to pay their respects – thank you all.
James was born 13 April 1983 and passed away 22 December 2017 – which made him 34 years 8 months and 9 days old give or take a few hours. By my reckoning this Service is about 45 years too early. Everything is all upside down and it should be James and his brother Andrew standing here telling amusing and embarrassing stories about me….
We all have a James shaped hole in our lives now and our futures have been changed forever.
In a world of unique individuals, James was more unique than many, however underneath James’s outward persona he was a very kind and generous person.
If anyone had a problem, he would if he could resolve it, if he couldn’t he would work with you, encourage and guide you to come up with the solution yourself. He would have made an excellent counsellor.
He was a discreet and fiercely loyal friend to have.
It’s not widely known but James carried out many unsung random acts of kindness to both people he did and didn’t know. These acts of kindness have a massively positive effect on people.
I ask that to maintain James’s legacy we should all try to carry out unasked for acts of kindness whenever we can and remember that it’s what James would have done. You can call this your ongoing homework!
Think of it, one act per day each makes an awful lot of kindness…
James was also a champion of the underdog and would stand with them and support them against prejudice, injustice and bullying. More credit to him…..
He was at the top of his game in his job – which, to save my embarrassment, I’ll just say that it was something ‘techie’
His company ‘Giant Steps Digital’ although only a year or so old was gaining a very good reputation in the ‘techie’ world. James was very proud of his work – and so were we.
James was rare amongst the male population in that he could multi-task.
This is brilliantly illustrated by a comment made by one of his friends, which was something like…
“I could go to him with a real technical problem and he would answer it easily whilst smoking a cigarette, watching an episode of the Simpsons and playing an Oasis riff on the guitar”
Sounds like James to me…
Music was a very large part of James’s life. He was very much into world music and listened to any music from any age. He was constantly trying to expand my narrow music tastes and often texted links to songs he thought I should listen to.
He was a very good guitarist and we often traded guitars and he was a patient teacher to a very mediocre student. (me)
From the age of about 8 years old after James started to read The Lord of the Rings he became an avid reader and his knowledge was remarkable. He could hold discussions on many topics and talk with confidence and knowledge on them.
James loved poetry, he had a fascination with words and phrases, from the Early Romantic Poets to contemporary poets such as John Cooper Clark.
We both shared a love of the work of Dylan Thomas the poet who, amongst other things, wrote ‘Under Milk Wood’
James had the soul of a poet. I’m also sure that he would want you all to get a copy of Under Milk Wood, read it and see the beauty of the words that he saw. That’s more homework for you to do.
James, we were very proud of you.
A four or five minute tribute is far too short for a life
34 years eight months and nine days is also far too short for a life.
It’s fitting that so many of his friends are here today as James starts his last journey, his return to the stars from where he came and when he becomes a part of everything in the universe, while we are left only with memories, emotions and echoes of him.
At his journey’s end I can see him jamming with Lennon, arguing with Freud and discussing chord progression with Bowie.
It’s with all love and pride I say ‘See you later and play on…..’