My Musical Sibling

This morning, courtesy of social media, I reheard (or heard for the first time) a bunch of tunes recorded in the 80s/90s by a group made up of friends.

They were/are a band that have performed under many monikers in the last 30 years or so, but one thing that never changed was the quality of their music….. That being said, though, they did have a slight blip after getting rid of Andrew Ridgeley in the mid-80’s.

One element of the bands overall musical synergy was provided by my brother Ian. He’s a decent lad, whose poetic song lyrics exhibited his great humanity and selfless demeanour, which more than made up for the fact he had rubber bands on his guitar instead of strings.

I’m kidding there by the way, he was an accomplished guitarist, who gained great fulfilment back then from the art of writing and playing music.

His melancholic songs displayed a sadness that would never have earned them a place on the Samaritans ‘on hold music’ list. However, the prose he bequeathed his listener were the deeply held thoughts of a tortured young man; uncomfortable with what he deemed as a predominantly selfish and cruel world.

I don’t recall the trigger to my bro’s angst, although my sister Helen reckons it was when Fine Fare supermarket on Low Fell ran out of Frosties in November 1981.

Like many in his family, he tended to put others needs instead of his own, apart from when it came to Frosties. Taking a back seat, sacrificing his own needs for those who took advantage of his decency and caring nature.

I’m cautious about waxing too lyrical about my brothers qualities. Like all of us, he has his faults……. Our Ian’s is the San Andrea Fault, which he won in drunken game of Poker in the Low Fell Conservative club in 1985.

I suspect it wasn’t his vanquished opponent’s geological prize to give away. However, our Ian came home that evening contented and in possession of an already written first verse of a song with a working title of San Andreas Lullaby.

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In the early 2000’s, he once showed me a folder that was an anthology all his song lyrics. I never opened it, however the file he kept them in was a really good quality one from Staples.

Seriously, though, they were meaningful sonnets of the political left, his voice of angst at the global disparity of riches, along with unwavering feelings during relationship turmoil. For the big Leeds fan, our Ian’s aspirations were no longer to be a Terry Cooper or Allan Clarke. Instead he yearned to be John Cooper Clarke and Tony the Tiger off the Frosties TV ads.

I’m not even sure if my younger sibling writes songs anymore, or even owns a guitar these days…… Although, I’m told he still has the rubber bands.

If he doesn’t pen poetry anymore it’s a shame, as his work displays a far more genuine, less cynical approach than mine. Although, I can probably do light hearted better than my bro.

We shouldn’t have been surprised at our Ian’s musicality. After all, my mum was told by a fortune teller in early 1960’s Blackpool that she would have two musical children. She was surprised to hear that as she’d only asked her for directions to Blackpool Tower from the South Pier.

I don’t know what was more ludicrous, the fortune tellers response or the fact my mum couldn’t see a bloody 500+ foot tower from about half a mile away!

The other musical child she had was our Helen who has a decent singing voice, which led to her performing on stage both with band and choir over the years. On reflection, that probably usurps my melodic bragging rights of being able to whistle the Bulgarian national anthem and meeting of Sting’s barber in 1984 Newcastle.

Unfortunately for our Ian and I, a career where we could achieve fulfilment by utilising our creativity was always none starter. Even if we’d have been talented enough to earn money from our inventiveness, such a path would have been frowned upon from the generation above. A displeasure we would have no doubt acquiesced to.

Incidentally, that isn’t a criticism of our parents, who provided us with a loving home in which to flourish, as many Subbuteo players we could eat and an invisible dog called Tiddles…….. Oh and the tutelage of the Bulgarian national anthem.

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