Eulogy

Of all the many friends that i have lost over the last few years I’d have to say that Steve ”Frazzle” Hollins was by far the closest. Maybe there were a few others that I’d seen more of or more often. But with Steve there was definitely that rare feeling that no matter how much time had passed, or how life had treated either of us, running into each other would be the same as ever.

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We were living together when he met Nikki. And when they hadn’t been seen for days i was starting to get calls from people i barely knew asking where she was. Truth is they had been in bed the whole time! And not long after that they were married.

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So obviously we drifted apart for quite some time. But that’s what life is like and i don’t want to sound bitter about the natural course of things. One of Steve’s great characteristics was that if and when you did bump into him he would always make time for a chat and never seem like he was in a rush to get off somewhere.

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So a few years passed, and i briefly saw him at Northern Green Gathering and life seemed to be treating him good. He certainly had his trademark grin on.

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Another year or two passed and i saw him again at Leeds Unity Day. At first glance he didn’t seem to be much different, but for once i was going to make some time for someone that mattered.

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As we talked it soon came out that all was not so good, not good at all.

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But one thing about him, in fact one of many areas where we related, was that life could never be as bad to him as he could be to himself. I’m not in any position to judge and in no way want to. But it sounded like he had been through hell and, more importantly, come out the other side.

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So this chance meeting, combined with the sudden appearance of Facebook in everyone’s lives meant that we were back in touch and chatting regularly. Before too long i popped around his new flat to share a few beers, talk endlessly about music, and pass out on his sofa overnight.

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All the signs were positive now. Music had always been a shared interest, something that kept us going through thick and thin. And the shear fact that he was starting to have a few ideas in that area meant, to me at least, that he was planning on being around for a while yet.

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Of course his emotions were a little mixed when he talked about his two daughters. But the sadness at not seeing more of them seemed to be outweighed by the joy of having them at all. But i could be wrong.

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As i told him at some point around about this time he always reminded of something Billy Connolly had mentioned about swans. All grace above the surface, but all chaos and paddling like fuck beneath.

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And chaos is the right word. The next time i saw him he was overly bouncy and smiling way too much, even for him.

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We had a pint or two and talked for maybe an hour. But it was blatantly obvious he was on something. After a while i said that i had to be somewhere and that we’d catch up again soon. But now i just wish that I’d taken a leaf out of his book and made the time to… well i don’t know. But something.

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We kept texting, but the Facebook messages stopped at some point. He said that his computer had broken or that he didn’t have internet anymore. But with 20 / 20 hindsight i suppose that it’s just as likely that he had sold his laptop to buy drugs.

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When i got the phone call i guess i should have known straight away. But the second i heard ”I’ve got some news” in that tone of voice and at that time of day, then i just knew. I just knew it was Steve and i was already sure how.

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There are some people that i just can’t imagine I’ll never run into again. I even half expected him to pass me a pint at his own wake.

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Steve made this world a better place just by being in it, and i wish that there was a word that says how much more than just a ”friend” he was. Those of us that were lucky enough to know him will always have a Frazzle shaped gap in our lives.

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R.I.P. Alex, Mel + Cath, Kendo, Iain, Tess, Matt, Traveller Chris, Steve “Frazzle” Hollins, and Irish Dave.
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