first lou reed, now my dear friend. rough week.
the video is a few years old. there is tom, in the dark, humbly mumbling an introduction to a song he hasn't sung in over two decades. he's not a guitar player, but does his best to stumble through the simple chords stripped of any fancy arrangement or solos. it was good to hear his voice again. he dedicates the song to me, as i had recently requested it using my clout as the sole member of the tom slocum fan club.
he apologized for the shoddy guitar work.
"hey, i'm no guitarist," he told me in a message, "i was lucky to have had a good band. i got to just show up with the words and sing."
knowing that my old friend and one-time long distance "bandmate" is no longer among the living, watching this video tonight was very difficult. it is absolutely infuriating and surreal. tonight, i will have my vodka double, but will finish off with a cigarette stolen from my landlord's pack. it's the brand my ex girlfriend used to smoke, so it feels comforting. yes, i will choke and cough after two puffs and put it out, but it will make me feel like a real he-man and therefore i will cope better with the odd mix of boiling anger and the urge to tear up pathetically whilst smothering sobs in a kitten's fur.
tom was who i was jealous of as a teenager. i envied his band, his confidence as a singer, everything. to top it all off, he had the prettiest girlfriend, marie, who i harboured a secret crush on. our common bond was a mutual worship of The Smiths and a desire to outdo each other lyrically.
he was a sweet guy and a sensitive soul, and though i didn't see him too often, i counted him among my good friends. after his band broke up, we tried a halfhearted attempt as a duo, but that fizzled as soon as it began, mostly because A) there was no internet and therefore MP3 sharing didn't exist, B) we lived 200+ miles apart by that time, and C) we were both incredibly lazy.
the blur of years and miles interrupted our friendship, and after a few hand-written letters, we lost touch.
thankfully, myspace and later facebook broke the 10 year silence. epic catch up chats followed, and much sharing of music and videos from the latest bands we were into flowed back and forth.
my friend was as kind as ever, but our chats revealed a growing dark streak. he seemed bogged down by life. there were numerous "cries for help" but coming from one heavy drinker to another, this was just talking shop. i should have listened better, reached out further, made that extra trip to texas, called more.
you get the picture.
i don't know exactly what demons plagued my friend. i know he loved his daughter, i know he hated his job and later struggled to find decent work in a bad economy. eventually, he grew to hate Being and it was apparent in many of his posts online. i do not know the circumstances of his passing, only that he looked frail in the last photos he posted, and is now gone without a goodbye. i know that i loved him more than i thought i did.
2013 has been filled with loss. my grandmother and uncle have both died this year, within five months of each other, and while there was mourning, it wasn't like this. there was peace. they were older, had health issues, and perhaps i couldn't have called their passing unexpected. tom is--no, was--a month younger than myself, and was a kindred soul in many ways. maybe that's why this hits home as it does?
with tom, there is no peace for me, nor for those who will miss him, and shake their heads and say things like, "he was too young," "he was so smart," "he was so nice," "all that wasted talent," etc etc.
i hope there is peace for him and i hope eventually he finds some light, because in these later years he was so often in shadow, and deserved much better.
Causes Colin Nasseri Supports