This song just came on my iPod, and I thought it was well worth posting here as the finest tribute to a lost Dad that I have heard.
It's 'You were a boxer' from the Pacific Ocean Fire album 'Hibernation songs', from 2010 I think. The Leicester band featured twins Jon and Andy Bennett, who I have known on and off for many years.
The song is about their Dad Paul, who they had lost to leukemia not long before. It breaks my heart every time…
'you, you were made of rocks and stone, not white blood cells and borrowed bone'
'shut, shut the window, wash your hands, cos this, this was not part of the plan'
'You, you were made of hurricane, selflessness and Sky Blue blood inside your veins' [he was a Coventry fan]
and most of all 'you, you were made of something real, in a world where we all lie and cheat and steal.'
It can't have been easy to write and record, but I'm glad they did and I think their Dad would have been proud.
Paul was one of those Dads that I only met a handful of times but who nevertheless had a big impact on my own parenting. When I went to stay with Jon and Andy a couple of times when I was around the age of 16, he didn't seem that different from my own Dad: he worked hard and was therefore understandably a little tired and irritable. His generosity in taking in a confused teenager he barely knew for days on end wasn't really appreciated at the time. But after losing touch with Jon and Andy during my university years and beyond I was glad to have the chance to talk to their Dad at gigs getting on for 20 years later, to thank him for his hospitality and to see how time and retirement change you as a person and a father. He now seemed so relaxed, thrilled by his sons' music and just there for them with a smile on his face.
I'm struggling at the moment, in numerous mundane and self-absorbed ways. I just hope that when I eventually come up for air, my own kids will still be able to see through to the core of me as beautifully as Jon and Andy did with their Dad.
Paul would have been 64 last week. Jon just told me 'I can't figure out whether it seems 5 minutes or a lifetime since I saw him'. RIP.