I was thinking back to myself and what I was like at a certain stage in my life – as you do. Wondering – would I even like that person I was then or would he be able to see himself in me. Take when I was thirty…
A young dad – his kids would have been getting on for four and it was around the time they started living in Holloway Road. Quite a strange guy really, always obsessed with one thing or another and for now it was mainly the Brain.
He’s still writing songs even though the other 80s Spines have all left town and teaching himself a different way to play the guitar. An Enlarged Heart, The Lassie, She Goes Both Ways, The Desert Road, Stop The World, The Nature Of The Beach, Explore and Explode – just before all the bluesy songs started coming and after all the out-there experiments of the Spines records. He’s writing for himself now.
He doesn’t drink but smokes a lot and is not spiritual at all and is painting in egg tempera.
Much more suspicious of people than I am and he doesn’t get out much – stays in his room when he can.
He’s trying to be a good dad and I like that about him and he is in a strong relationship and has been painting houses to make ends meet. I think all things are possible to him in his mind
He drinks too much and is not how I would have thought I would have turned out in many ways. He hasn’t really made it or failed to – he still lopes along doing some of the things I used to. He knows a lot more people but he is single. He doesn’t seem to be writing songs much these days but writes this kind of diary.
I like that he is still so young in his thinking and that he went through a kind of spiritual upheaval that at least part of seems to have stuck.
His sense of humour too has outgrown what I had – when his dad died I think he inherited it. He is more likeable than I would have ever thought I’d be but I really wish he’d get his shit together. It’s not obvious but his health is starting to suffer and he just staggers on blindly. And he is loved more broadly than I could be loved – he reaches out in a way I never could
The songs he’s written in the last thirty years are at least as good as mine. I wish he would write more now but I guess it doesn’t matter if he never writes another one – between us we have a lifetime’s worth.
I think he is seen as somewhat eccentric – something I never thought I was…
The Ghost of Electricity – War Stories by Jon McLeary is a new initiative at Off The Tracks, a series of stories and reflections from painter, writer and musician Jon McLeary