It’s been two years exactly since you made your exit. I don’t think a day
has passed when I haven’t thought about you or picked up the guitar and
wondered what you would do with it.
Recently I’ve started taking classical guitar lessons in your honour. I remember
once you looked at me in disbelief when I said no-one would care if I could
play Recuerdos de la Alhambra or not and you said to me, “But Mark; you
I was looking at some pictures the other day and going through the
recordings we made together. I wish I could see you doing it all again, hear the
surprises and ask you about the things I still need to know.
I have the recordings but I have to remember that they are only that.
They are the “what” and not the “how”.
I’m working with Beverley Martyn now; she understood you pretty well. Paul loved your music but couldn’t play it; of course you know that. Nobody could; except maybe Geno.
I didn’t know how to deal with the loss. It took awhile for me to figure out
a sense of the road again. There wasn’t anywhere to drive to. I didn’t have
any gigs. Duck Baker helped out. I’m glad you got his letter. He loved you.
Some of the other guys were awkward around you when you were alive and kicking.
I wished I’d followed up more of the clues you gave me, how many times did you mention Johnny Silvo? I nearly missed out there; probably the best singer of a generation. I’ve remedied that now: he’s 74; alive and well in Norway.
If you see Steve, tell him I’m sorry I didn’t visit him more.
The last I heard from you was a funny dream in which you were playing a wild tune you claimed was Winston Churchill’s favourite. You told me its pretty competitive up there and rolled your eyes. It was good to see you again.
Things down here are still pretty grim. The debt bubble you objected to has burst and price is still not acquainted with value. You were always right about that. I remember when I nearly bought that Jaguar XJ we’d been driving past for weeks and those other people were looking at it; “They won’t buy it Mark; look at their shoes…”
Martin Carthy hasn’t returned his MBE yet; some of us down here hope he will.
If I could have the time again we would have stayed at the Hilton more often as opposed to those Travel-lodges but otherwise we lived as high as we could. We certainly ate out a lot.
You’d taught guitar for twenty-five years and had had enough of that I know. You were living the real blues and I’m glad we got to share it with all those people.
The work you did then is what has led to all the new people continuing to discover your music now.
One day I’ll stand by your resting place and pour a glass of wine on the ground as you asked. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to do that yet.
December 15 2010