Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Old Friends: Ten Years On

So how do you celebrate your 28th birthday? Romantic meal at a restaurant? Trip to the cinema to catch a favourite movie with your loved one? How about a night out with your mates to a quality gig featuring your favourite band? How about ten-pin bowling with your girlfriend and a bloke you ain’t seen in three years and haven’t properly talked to in longer than that?

Lloyd Clarke was the first person I met when I started university in 1996. He was staying in the same dorm as I was and he welcomed me warmly. It was a very peculiar time cos it was the first time I was staying away from home for an extended time and was part of this new ‘adult’ stage of life, or so I thought. Lloyd was a friendly face with the attitude to match to welcome me into this new world. He too was a new guy at university and so like the humble dog trotting with the master, I knocked around with him in those early months.

It was Lloyd who introduced me to the wonders of radio and the wide variety of music that was ‘out there’. I developed something of an appreciation for dance music and other stuff that my upbringing would have been opposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t become a fan of the music and bought it all overnight, but at least I wasn’t ignorant to it and could see that there was some quality stuff among the vast arena of music genres available. Lloyd was a walking music encyclopaedia especially on his favourite types. The guy was dedicated to music and to the student radio station, rising through the ranks to become the Music Co-ordinator, which was a powerful position in the scheme of things especially as the station was growing in ambition and reach – Lloyd was an integral part of that, yet he wasn’t condescending or particularly arrogant, just committed and devoted in a way that makes me ashamed in comparison to my alleged commitment to Christ, especially at that time. I developed a love of radio – presenting, producing, writing, researching, etc. thanks to Lloyd, and even today I’d love to be a part of something on radio in these areas.

As well as that I’m grateful to Lloyd for the friendship that he extended in those university days. It wasn’t all rosy, the second year of uni was particularly fraught with ‘differences of opinion’, but I’m happy to say it didn’t put me off Lloyd completely, and I’m glad Lloyd wasn’t put off me completely so that he attended my wedding three years ago. Even though we didn’t talk or e-mail for ages, he still remembered me, which made his request to spend his 28th birthday with me all the more touching.

It was weird seeing him again ten years on. I was apprehensive of how things would be, but it was a great time spent at the local ten-pin bowling alley. In some ways he’s changed and matured, in others he remains the same witty, dry, assertive, thoughtful Lloyd. It was also great seeing his girlfriend Kate and analysing what level of hypnosis was used by Lloyd to persuade her to be with him. They seem alright though, so I won’t be calling the psychiatric authorities to treat her for insanity. The bowling really did take second place to catching up with what Lloyd’s up to – him and his insane ginger beard. He got on really well with Authrine, and the wife really likes him, which is typical Lloyd – pulling the wool over people’s eyes! Even more commendable was the way that he got on with Deborah, I only wish I could have had the photos to show him and Debbie dancing to the music, it was brilliant. And although Kate suggested otherwise, it looked like she was a natural in the maternal department when she held Abigail, so on that score at least I know that there is an indication that Lloyd may have what it takes to cope should they choose to have babies together.

For all that, it was brilliant getting together. It is something I hope we do again sooner rather than later – hopefully before the end of the year. It reminded me of what a good friend Lloyd was, and it highlights what a top bloke Lloyd is.

4 His Name’s Sake
da man cd

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