Who do you think you are?
Who gave you permission to cry? To mourn? Someone you truly didn’t know at all…
For you, he was just a singer… A memory from your pre-teen years.
Oh yeah. You remember the song… That beautiful song… And it’s follow up. Everything’s Coming Up Roses it was called. You remember when you first heard its chorus and thought that it was kinda weird for a song title. You still think it’s weird. But most of all, you clearly remember the first time you heard his voice.
It was a Saturday morning and your father was showing you a record he bought… Yeah, your father was a record collector… An enthusiast music lover and the main reason you love music today – one more reason to thank him and remember him every fucking day from that summer Sunday when your mom called you and said that he wasn’t well… Half an hour before she’d tell you that he passed…
But there and then he was alive. And he was talking to you about that song… And that voice. And you listened suspiciously. “How good can it be?” you were wondering. Well, it had to be some fucking good to move your father, him having grown up with the Beatles and the Stones. And it was… It was that fucking good. The kind of songs that you listen to the chorus once and when you listen to it again you already know the lyrics. And then the follow up with the weird title. And that was the last chance that you would give him. And when you read the good review in a magazine for his third album you wouldn’t be bothered.
But this man was so much more than your memories. This was a father. And a husband. He had three kids that they are now about the age you were when your own father played you that record. He was also a struggling musician. A struggling professional. He was on his way to the airport when the accident happened. He wanted to catch the plane to a place far from home because even though he was in his fifties he still had to gig to continue making his living. To continue to provide for the ones he cared about. His wife and his kids. And you remember your own decision to give up your dream. You had to find a job. You had to abandon (what a sad word) music because you didn’t have the nerve to continue to gig in your fifties.
But then you remember that you don’t have the fucking right to be sad. You weren’t a fan. You weren’t even a friend. You weren’t one of his kids. But somehow you still are sad. Somehow, you feel that his life was a bit like your own and that deep down you never forgot him. Nor that time when your father played you that record. And you heard that voice. And that song. And then you picked up the sleeve and saw his name, his alias anyway, and you saw his picture. His name was Black. And the name of the song “Wonderful Life”. And you think that it must be some kind of a fucking irony for a guy to die sooner than his time and still be remembered for a song called “Wonderful Life”.
But again, deep down, you know that it’s not an irony. That he may have lost his life but he gained a place in your heart. Deep down. Along with the memories of your late father. And that from here to eternity he will be remembered singing. And that you know now as well as you knew then… That there’s no need to run and hide… It is a wonderful, wonderful life. And that you have to cherish it. Hold on to it as long as you can. Because you will be missed… like Colin… A husband and a father of three. And the writer of “Wonderful Life”.
So, goodbye Colin. Goodbye, Black. You will be missed.