It’s taken me a week or more to come to terms with the passing of two of my oldest friends. We were school pals, friends at the age of 14 through our teenage years, and on through life until their passing . We were Mods together, mad together, and through the late fifties, and early sixties we had wonderful times.
Mike suffered a really bad car crash in ’66 and I had great empathy with how he must have felt being a prisoner in his own body. His mind was still as sharp as ever, but he was now dependent on others. I had been dealt a blow a couple of years prior to this and I was unjustly imprisoned, rebelling against this like some wild person, always looking for release that I knew would somehow be there. For Mike there was no release. He was so kind and supportive in those years, he would come visit me in his wheelchair, and when I finally burst back into the real world he was there with Chris Stamp to show me another side of life, and to realise the potential that I never knew I had. I will always be indebted to them both for what they did for me.
Those early days at Track records were truly great. Mike and I worked on Thunderclap Newman, Marsha Hunt, who loved Mike, the Who and catalogues of Hendrix, T Rex, Golden Earring etc.
Chris and Kit (Lambert) fell victim to everything that was excessive within our crazy lifestyles, and for some reason myself and Roger and Pete, by virtue of some higher power, or some other mystic force, were allowed a reprieve and the life we are grateful for today.
Chris went off to live in New York, and that same higher power seemed to intervene after a few years and turned his life 360 degrees. He found the love of his life and became that person that was always, always inside the younger Chris Stamp that we had known. He retained his humour, his infectious enthusiasm and zest for the new life he had found. This stayed with him right through to his final days.
Mike went to live down in Cornwall in 1982 and for the past 30 years he lived in the embrace of his family and his relatives, having fantastic support from carers such as Nigel, Howard and Julie. Although he did have lonely periods, he knew that we were always there for him. I feel really grateful and privileged to have been able to make his life a bit more comfortable over the years – some small way of saying thank you for what he did for me.
It’s ironic that both Mike and Chris should pass away within days of each other, but again I am grateful that I had the opportunity to thank them for what I feel they did for me, and also to let them know that them being in my life was probably amongst the most valuable gifts that I’ve received.
November 30th, 2012