Hail John


They buried John yesterday. He was my first friend and not the last. In my memories, he was the man with the wooden spoon, dancing into his own fresh oblivion.

You only meet one or two great people in your life; fighters for decency, advocates of morality and people who don’t care what you think of them because they believe in themselves. Now, that’s a rarity.

John loved music and music loved John. He was my first friend. I remember the time that my mother told me that John wasn’t like the rest of us. That John was different, an unusual man with a heart of a lion but the brain of a child.

John had Down’s Syndrome. When I was a kid I didn’t see the syndrome, I just saw my brilliant Uncle and his vivid imagination. He was the inventor of games, the keeper of strange yet brilliant insights into a world I’ll never understand.

I loved and continue to love John. When I heard that he had Alzheimer’s Disease I thought there must be no God. And I’m right. What decent Prime Mover could do that to such a decent man? The word ‘fair’ means nothing to me now. I believe in people and people have nothing to do with God, or the conception of such an entity. We are flesh and blood and what we do is paramount to our sense of fulfillment.

John loved being John. Who the fuck can match that? Nobody. Why? Because we’re all wrapped up in our perception of ourselves. John didn’t care about that. John heard the music, picked up his wooden spoon and danced, immersed in the music of his body. He was the maker of music and the DJ that gladdens the ears.

I can see his face now. He’s up on a dance floor beyond our ken, dancing, not caring and bewildered by the reactions to his death.

He lived a good life. A righteous life. The kind of life that I can’t match.

I can see you John. You’re dancing in Newton Villa, wooden spoon in hand and wondering why the rest of us can’t be as happy as you are. Now, that must be confusing. Being happy in the face of a so-called disability must be awe inspiring.

John. You’re loved. You’re the DJ of decency. You’re in my heart forever brother.

Dance on my friend. Be happy.

About callumrscott

I’m a Writer, Literary Agent, and Social Handyman, who oscillates between being elated and very angry and sometimes both at the same time. Through my research as a writer, I’ve studied many forms of masculinity, in particular, hyper and protest masculinity. My other main field of research is transgression or the rituals of transgression and the performative nature of this behaviour. Apart from researching, writing, directing and fixing, I enjoy a good pint of stout and I live in a flat, close to my favourite place, the mall from Dawn of the Dead (2004). My greatest disappointment in life is that my first memory turned out to be a lie. I didn’t lose a red wellie on a beach in Orkney and now I have no first memory, just a lot of stories about alcohol and bad decisions.

One response to “Hail John”

  1. cocobiskits says :

    Thanks for this. I remember playing with John as kids. By coincidence (thought waves?) I was remembering John and the family the other day with my family. They were memories I had never shared before and came as a poignant surprise to us all. Nice picture of the family too.

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