Friday, 5 January 2018

For Robin

I had planned to pen some upbeat words tonight.  The idea was to talk about how much I generally despise January and to encourage us all stick together in the face of shitversity.  You know how it is.  (Thankfully I don't do Dry January.  Dry February is also unlikely.  Mainly because, like Dry January, it doesn't rhyme).   

However, tonight I received the galling news that Robin Hutchinson had passed away.

Robin was - and will always be - a hero of mine.  He gave me my first job.  I was a trainee roofer. 12 years old.  £3-a-day I was on.  Well, I say a day.  I only worked one.  I can't remember if that was only because I was too expensive or not very good at whatever it was I was trying to do. (You guess).  It was a good day though.  I still remember it well.

I've known Robin since I hatched.  His son was - and remains - my oldest and best pal.  Drew Hutchinson aka DJ Steady.

That's him above at my dad's surprise 80th birthday do in Mary Pat's.  Drew did it for free.  That's how he rolls.  Just as Robin taught him.

Neither Drew nor I will ever be rich. That's how we like it.

But there are other benefits.  Thanks to Macosquin's Big Marquee Weekend - the brainchild of Drew and the equally wonderful Robert Todd - we've got to meet Roll With It.  They've gone from relative obscurity to filling Belfast's famous (1,000+) Limelight venue two years in a row for massive post-Christmas gigs.

But they still play Macosquin when asked.
That's class.

Just like Robin.

Drew posted this picture on Facebook on New Year's Eve.

I knew Robin hadn't been well but I wasn't aware he was in hospital.  Drew went in to make him smile as 2018 approached.  And, as you can see, he obliged.

It was the first picture I saw on Facebook in the early hours of 2018.  Us Whites had been away for New Year amongst some very good friends.

Not for the first time, I was last to bed.  For the first time, I was charged with turning out the lights.  The picture appeared just as I was about to to retire.  I delayed my departure whilst I shed a tear.  I did the same again this afternoon when I heard that Robin had lost his fight.

We're heading back to Northern Ireland in February. Vanessa and I were already planning to be in Limavady to see Roll With It do their magnificent Oasis thing that weekend.  But we're now going via Macosquin for a rendezvous from where I would imagine Drew, Robert and many others will embark on a collective taxibus crusade in Robin's memory - himself a great supporter of the Big Marquee Weekend.

He will be missed by all he met.   And all he met will remember him with great fondness.

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