My father passed away last September; just shy of his 69th birthday and not a day passes by where he doesn't slip into my thoughts at some point. As he was a musician, my family and I and every one of those who loved him (and there were many) are fortunate to have the most beautiful and resonate mementos to remember him by. His poetry put to music remains behind on this earth forever; tender wisps of a life that was.
In those last days before he dropped the body, his dear friend Guy Blackman of Chapter Music (you can read his heartfelt tribute in Mess + Noise here) was a constant bedside companion finalising the details of what would become a posthumous retrospective of collected recordings from a lifetime of songs; In The Doorway of the Dawn. It is an immeasurable comfort to have these to conjure him beside me at any time.
... that he loved Anne of Green Gables, telling me only a few years ago that there really was no better instructive work for young women than Anne... helping my brother and I try to save many an injured sparrow found on our walks by the Cooks River and the heartbreak of so many not making it through the night... his getting up before dawn to collect the songs of the elusive Blackbird in the back streets of Melbourne... our tramps through the overgrown weeds beneath some overpass beside the Yarra River, trying to find those elusive dandelions he loved so dearly to uproot and take home... practicing violin in my grandmothers garage and the look on his face as he clapped, overjoyed that I had finally mastered the tricky Bach Allegro from Book 8... our jaunts around Melbourne chasing the best piece of chocolate cake... the elaborate rigging of traps along the most vulnerable areas of our childhood home in the hope of ensnaring unsuspecting intruders... singing to us as we were trying to sleep as children... that in the past few years we had begun to inexplicably greet each other in French 'bonjour papa!' 'bonjour ma fille!'...
Nobody cast a shadow quite as long, or commanded a room with as much panache. Many will remember and cherish his warmth; his big hugs, his considered wisdom, his quiet authority.
And so today on his 70th I remember him again - three cheers papa!