On Losing a Friend: Goodbye, Charlie - You were one of a kind.

I write this post not only with a heavy heart, but also an overwhelming sense of sheer numbness. Recently the world got a little lonelier, and it lost a real character too. In the past week I lost my best friend: one of the best I could ever ask for.

It’s perhaps only too fitting to sign off with the lyrics of a Queen song:

Goodbye Charlie, you’re going to be missed.

One by one,
Only the Good die young.
They’re only flyin’ too close to the sun.
We’ll remember, forever.

What started as a friendship rooted in photography and a love of abandoned buildings turned in to something more meaningful; and despite my usual guarded nature, I can now look around my office and see books that you loaned me, a scarf that you gave me about 7 years ago, and even a Jack Daniels bar mat that mysteriously appeared after a night out!

You were my first introduction to locks; and put in to motion my interest in physical security, lock bypasses and picking methods. Similarly, were it not for you I would never have purchased a radio scanner, began looking in to amateur radio groups, or considered getting my amateur radio license.

I’ll never forget the evenings sipping beer along Camden Lock, the nights scouting out various abandonments and construction projects in London, the late night phone calls and the obligatory teenage hijinx of our earlier years. Not to mention the many times you were there when I was at my weakest, and I desperately needed an ear and a few words of support.

It’s with a bitter sense of shame that I wasn’t there at the end, and over the course of a couple of days I built up a sorry collection of missed calls; a combination of workload and tiredness meant that I failed you. Knowing that my phone won’t ring in the early hours again, that I won’t have someone to share some McChicken Nuggets with after a night out, that I’ll no longer have someone to bitch about work to, and that you won’t be meeting me with your big work rucksack is.. well, it’s tough.

I know that I’ll carry on - and soon work will make sense again, my mind will feel less foggy, and this numbness and apathy will fade. I know that I wont need to distract myself either, but I’m also aware that before that happens I’m going to wake up and this is going to be real; and I’ll truly understand the consequences of losing such a colourful, loyal and supportive friend. I’m dreading it.

It was a blast. Rest in Peace, mate. I expect a pint of the finest ale when I join you up there. (Well, you’ve got the CAMRA card haven’t you?)