Friday the 27th of November has thus far proved to be the darkest day of the year. On this bleak day we gathered to pay our final respects to a close friend and loved one, Colin McNicholl or simply ‘Col’ (06/01/76 – 19/11/09). I’m not sure if the phrase ‘good turnout’ is particularly apt for a funeral; so let us simply say that Col’s family and friends were there in abundance. I can only imagine what his partner and family are going through, for myself I am utterly devastated. The nature of Col’s death was such that it leaves doubts and questions, in a way that dying of a physical illness does not. This adds to the tragedy, because there is nothing that could have been done to save him, only false impressions that a solution may have existed.
But enough of this kind of talk! The ceremony on Friday was to celebrate Col’s life, not mourn his death and so this post will follow in that theme. Col was a professional guitarist (among other things), one of my earliest memories of Col from school is his almost obsessive interest in music. As you grow up, you generally meet several gifted musicians in your travels. Col was the only one I ever met who had the genuine drive to make it as a pro. Indeed, a couple of years ago, his band signed with an indie label in Glasgow and managed to pull off the impressive coup of supporting the Dead Kennedys at their only Scottish date.
Col was charming, funny and knew his own mind. He was incredibly tolerant and non judgemental. The varied group at his funeral was a testament to Col’s ability to form close friendships at great speed. I am unaware of anyone who met Col and didn’t like him. The concept of the social clique was completely foreign to Col and his friendships crossed all social boundaries. Never was there a more genuine or loyal friend to be found. Col’s interests were rich and varied. As well as music (obviously) he was an enthusiastic fan of the non mainstream sci fi, such as the novels of Michael Marshall Smith and of course the timeless classic theat is Red Dwarf. Politically, Col was very ‘Punk’ in his attitude. It was Col who introduced me to the ‘Net film Loose Change, the first of several ‘conspiracy films’ we enjoyed; Zeitgeist 1 and 2 following swiftly afterwards.
The other interest that Col and I shared was a predeliction for rare herbs and proscribed chemicals. The reason I mention this is to pass on a message from someone who was most likely Col’s oldest friend. This friend is severely ill and could only attend the initial ceremony at the crematorium. He was unable to attend the later gathering which was more celebratory. Simply the message is this:
“I just wanted Colin to know that I still have that pipe he gave me over ten years ago and I still use it every day.”
I’m mentioning this here, because there was a ‘memories’ book at the after gathering and i forgot to put this in there. I think it’s important and didn’t want it left unsaid. Both the originator of the message and myself have known Col since primary school. He has always been an important part of our lives and he will be well missed.
And never forgotten. We love you man, rest in peace.
To finish up, here is a picture of Col, some links to his bands’ site (band are called Littlejohnrocket) and to a charity he approved of. Please take the time to follow the links, there are free samples of Cols’ music (he was the lead guitarist). The music really is very good…
Note: It is certainly possible that the music sites will not be up forever, I don’t know what the band have planned, if anything – so have a listen while you still can 🙂