Remembering NoIdea.

ni01

Today is the first anniversary of our friend’s passing. He had many admirable qualities, not least of which was his stoic fortitude in the face of adversity. It took me a couple of years to realise it, but the reason he’d be up so late at night in a chatroom with me wasn’t because he was another night hawk, but that he was in pain. He took it neat, having broken a big dependency on pain management medication. It clouded his mind too much, and that he could not abide.

He never complained but if you needed help, he’d always be the first one to offer. Despite carrying a few wounds, he was always still in the fight, had an impish sense of humour and the most absolutely gawd awful taste in music. He, like me, was a biker and there’s still a comradeship thing about being in that particular fraternity. We never got to ride together but perhaps that’ll happen one day when we ride under an unclouded sky. There are many of his “odes” scattered as comments over this blog. They are all original and they are well worth a look.

Blackswan wanted to celebrate his life with a piece on da Boy, as we used to call him as a friendly tease, and it’s a pleasure to share a fond but accurate portrait of the man. I still miss him.

Pointman

—-<0>-—

In mid 2009 the Blackswan took flight into the blogosphere, a very wobbly venture by a techno-phobic cyber novice who was simply incensed at the inane posturing of the Copenhagen IPCC gab-fest,  interested to find information from like-minded Realists. They were to be found aplenty on James Delingpole’s London Telegraph blog.

It wasn’t long before a lot of Realist ‘tags’ became familiar and over the months that followed the Swan began exchanging comments with bloggers from around the world. An amazing new dimension in communication unfolded.

Invited to hook up with a few like-minded others in a separate chat-room (whatever one of those might be), the Swan stumbled and bumbled its way through a confusing labyrinth to finally sort it out sufficiently well to converse with people. One of those bloggers was NoIdea and he was kind enough to take pity on the obviously bumbling Swan.

I’d never known about chat-rooms  –  didn’t know it was possible to have real-time text conversations with strangers on the other side of the world  –  and gingerly dipped my webbed toes into this new paddling pool. NoIdea and a bloke called the Pointman seemed to be a really tight unit, and along with others, their conversation was scattered with weird hieroglyphics such as lol, afk, brb, rofl and lmfao as well as peculiar links to something called Youtube. I’ve never pretended to know something I didn’t, so I asked NI what these things meant.

With infinite patience he explained it all, never making me feel I was the idiot he must have thought me to be. He was never patronising or dismissive of my questions. When I clicked on his prolific Youtube links I was appalled at the ghastly head-banging chaos he described as ‘music’ and try as I might, I could never understand the screeching ‘lyrics’ some maniac was bellowing at me. It was the same aggressive heavy metal nonsense that I’d banned my teenagers from playing in the house.

“G’day Swan, how are you doing?” became part of almost every day for four years and NoIdea became a really good cyber-buddy and friend. Along with the Pointman, there was Rastech and Scud and Edward Longshanks and a very gritty character called Locusts and Wild Honey, among many others, and we got to know each other in varying degrees.

When the Pointman launched his own blog, NoIdea and I became regular contributors, being great fans of Pointy’s talent at writing fiction pieces, as well as his hard-hitting essays that put the Climate Hucksters and Fraudsters right in the cross-hairs.

It remains a mystery as to how such friendships work. How can a person possibly be ‘friends’ with someone you’ve never set eyes on? I had pen pals when I was at school but it took so long to get a reply I soon got bored and lost interest. Not so with Internet chat-rooms and I was astonished at real-time text conversations. There are no visual cues, no tone of voice, no facial expressions, no body language; it really does come down to a ‘meeting of the minds’. In the final analysis we’re conversing in ‘alphabet soup’, a concoction of letters on a computer screen that sometimes makes sense. How can you be friends with that?

From his interests and manner of ‘speaking’ I thought NoIdea was in his 20s (when he was actually in his 40s), and he just figured I was some poor old geriatric dude that he initially felt sorry for. His chat was peppered with Yikes!, Whoot! cool, awesome, and limitless links to heavy metal rock bands. I skipped the rock and offered my Tex/Mex country stuff of which NI said he’d need a “barf bucket” if he ever bothered to listen to it, which he didn’t.

It transpired that we shared a ‘need for speed’ and a passion for motorsport  –  anything with big engine noises, lots of exhaust fumes and the adrenalin pumping action of a race track.

On the weekends of Formula One meets or MotoGP bike races we’d both tune into the BBC coverage and the chat-room and watch the races online together, discussing drivers and riders, our favourites and their chances, and whooped with excitement at tricky manoeuvres. We were both watching when the young Italian rider Marco Simoncelli fell from his bike and was hit by other racers. He died on the track. As we consoled each other at the shocking loss of a popular young GP star, NoIdea said he thought it was better to go out in a blaze of glory than to simply fade away. I thought of one of my favourite quotes  –  “One crowded hour of glorious life, is worth an age without a name.”

While I was an enthusiastic would-be-if-I-could-be spectator, NoIdea (aka Horace in his world) was a biker through and through  –  a real Son of Anarchy  –  a big long-haired bearded dude (no ‘ink’ he proudly assured me), who had me in fits of laughter with stories of his biking escapades; of his years as a bouncer in London nightclubs and his times as a ‘roadie’ for rock bands, or as sound-man for a heavy metal rock group. He described the fun of a sweaty pumping mosh pit and over the years I came to think of him as my wild ‘kid brother’.

Behind the laughter was much pain for NoIdea. Several years earlier he’d been disabled in an industrial accident, injuring his spine which caused him constant chronic pain. He’d suffered severe nerve damage but he rejected the cocktail of painkillers that he said made a zombie out of him, so he attended a pain management clinic instead.

He was a prolific writer of ‘odes’, disdaining to call them ‘poetry’. This is one he wrote about pain, his constant companion …..

 

THE TRUTH HURTS

The power of pain

Relentlessly reminding

Driving yet sublime

A tether to insanity

An anchor unto life

 

Defining its denial

Grasping out for fate

A simple little cycle

Scratching at the hate

 

Screaming at the abyss

Staring into the void

A voice is all that’s needed

So that we may just be heard

 

No physical existence

Ghostly and ethereal

It is the pain of the past and now

Feeds the fearful feeling

That we are really real

 

And finally, fatally flawed

A pain just best ignored.

 

My regard for him grew, as did my respect; always such a cheery joker, who never wasted a minute wondering “Why me?” though he had suffered some fearsome biking injuries in the past. Above all he was a kind and forgiving man, generous to his own detriment, who dearly loved his Staffi bull terriers (the Girls, as he called them) and his beloved cats who wandered all over his keyboard and made his atrocious spelling even worse.

Above all else, he loved his beautiful daughter, and was hugely proud of the young woman she was growing to be.

In early May 2014 NoIdea popped into the chat-room one morning to tell me he’d had a dreadful night  –  he had some sort of “lurgy”, chills and fever and had spent a sleepless night drenched in sweat and feeling pretty rotten. In my usual hectoring way I urged him to go to the doctor, make sure he had plenty of fluids (coffee and beer didn’t count) and to take some electrolyte additives in water as he’d need it if he was dehydrated. After twenty minutes he said he had to go and I never heard from him again.

Pointman and I shared our concerns for his health, and when I opened my Facebook page to find a message from NoIdea’s daughter telling me that he’d been admitted to hospital, I was really touched. He knew the Swan would wonder what had happened to him and had asked his daughter to let me know where he was. I thought he’d probably ignored me about the coffee and beer, become dehydrated and was sitting up in hospital, on a saline drip, and getting aggro because he’d be deprived of his beloved baccy and beer.

His daughter was extraordinarily generous in keeping me, a complete stranger to her, updated on NI’s condition in the midst of the stress she and her family were dealing with. Her father’s pride in her kind heart was well-founded.

Next day he took a turn for the worse; it was pneumonia and he struggled for almost two weeks in an induced coma before he eventually lost that final battle against his ailing body. He was just fifty years old; a real Peter Pan who never lost his love of life, or his irrepressible sense of fun.

It’s now one year since NoIdea left on his final journey, and the blogosphere is the poorer for his passing. We who were his cyber-buddies won’t forget him. As the Pointman said five years ago; we were a ‘band of brothers’ who trusted each other and became improbable friends.

“One crowded hour of glorious life, is worth an age without a name.”

Indeed, my friend. The chequered flag is yours.

©Blackswan

Click for a list of all articles by Blackswan.

Click for a list of other articles.

Comments
13 Responses to “Remembering NoIdea.”
  1. Old Rooster says:

    A fitting laudatio for NoIdea to which I append—

    “When good men die their goodness does not perish,
    But lives though they are gone.”
    Euripides—Temenidæ Frag. 734.

    κούφα σοι χθὼν ἐπάνωθε πέσοι,
    koupha soi chthon epanothe pesoi.
    Sit tibi terra levis

  2. Pointman says:

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead man naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon;
    When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
    They shall have stars at elbow and foot;

    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Under the windings of the sea
    They lying long shall not die windily;
    Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
    Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;

    Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
    And the unicorn evils run them through;
    Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    No more may gulls cry at their ears
    Or waves break loud on the seashores;

    Where blew a flower may a flower no more
    Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
    Though they be mad and dead as nails,
    Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
    Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
    And death shall have no dominion.

    Dylan Thomas

  3. Pointman says:

    One for da boy, spring a few tinnies and kick off the party – he’d have been useless standing around being miserable. Kick the mood up is what he’d have said.

    Pointy

  4. meltemian says:

    Thank you Swanny and Pointy, I too remember NoIdea with affection although you have told me things I never knew about him.
    Another poem that seems to fit:-

    They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead;
    They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed;
    I wept, as I remembered, how often you and I
    Had tired the sun with talking, and sent him down the sky.

    And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
    A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
    Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
    For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.

    — William Johnson Cory

  5. hillbilly33 says:

    Hi Pointy. I have just provided a link to Michael Smith News, where you and Blackswan have many friends. Not much I can add to what I said there. Blackswan introduced me to Horace and kept me up with all his ‘doings”. I know the huge hole that his passing left in both your lives. He was certainly an inspiration.

    ‘Completely off thread, and with no apology, for those who have asked and wondered about my very dear friend Blackswan, I offer this link to one of the most poignant, beautifully written tributes to a lost friend you will ever read.

    Having just returned from a trip where I have been privileged to put faces to names of several wonderful cyber-friends, I feel Blackswan’s piece captures all that is good about the blogosphere.

    I have no shame in admitting that having seen the pain caused to the Swan by the tragic death of such a loved friend, I shed many tears on reading their eloquent words. I may well have done so even without having that personal link.

    I commend it to anyone with a love of the written word and/or to those who would like a unique insight into a beautiful soul.

    Vale Horace/Noidea.’

    Thankyou Swannie and Pointy.

    Cheers. H/B

    • Blackswan says:

      Thanks for your kind words H/B … the blogosphere is a bit of a lucky-dip isn’t it? Good and bad inhabit cyberspace and you and I have been fortunate to meet and correspond with some of the best.

      Mind you, I’ve encountered some who are at the other end of the spectrum but they barely register on the Richter scale of relevance, so they are best ignored.

      It’s always sad to lose a friend but the loss only serves to remind us that none of us is guaranteed our tomorrows, so it’s best to live in the moment and appreciate what we have.

      “Carpe diem” indeed.

      “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” …. “Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow”.

      It must be the ultimate irony that this oft-qoted verse is from the Book of Odes written by Horace in 23BC. Everything changes and nothing changes at all.

      • Old Rooster says:

        Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
        Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
        As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.
        Book I, ode xi, line 7.
        I rather like John Conington’s translation:
        In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebbed away,
        Seize the present, trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.

        Perhaps these lines from Ars Poetica are due him also—
        Nec satis apparet, cur versus factitet.
        None knows the reason why this curse
        Was sent on him, this love of making verse.
        Line 470

  6. Rastech says:

    With every year that passes, the toast to “Absent friends” becomes more meaningful. God Speed NI, the road that goes ever onward, ensures our paths will cross many times again.

    So as well as drinking to “Absent friends” I also toast to “Future fun”,

    For NI:

  7. scud says:

    Hey chaps.

    I’m glad to say that I had the experience of meeting up with Horace on a couple of occasions, once at a rather unusual nightspot near Notting hill and later at the village pub where my parents reside.

    Ah! The days before child (BC) where we would convene in that smokey, sticky floored virtual boozer owned by the good Rastech and talk of all things bloke almost every night. I miss ‘em, I really do. Anyway, it was here that I really got to know NI as it turned out that we stemmed from the same area, knowing each others schools, pubs and even a couple of common acquaintances, so after a year or two of online chit-chat a hot date was made together with our other halves.

    “How will I recognise you NI?”

    “I’ll be wearing a big hat.”

    “Won’t anyone else be wearing a big hat?”

    “Doubtful, but if they are it won’t be nearly as big as mine.”

    “Ok…see you there about eight thirty. Looking forward to it.”

    A week later I find myself five quid lighter for an entrance fee and sitting, looking down where newcomers were winding their way up a stairwell into what looked suspiciously like some kind of nobby, hippy hangout. After an hour or so of no hats at all and feeling increasingly uncomfortable I was about to give up and go seek a pint elsewhere when I spot the top of a bloody great white stetson slowly meandering up the stairs.

    ‘Ha. Has to be him’ I thought.

    In he shuffles, straight past me looking like he was still somehow astride a thumping great Harley and plonks himself on a stool at the bar followed by an entourage of three other blokes all sticking out like sore thumbs amongst the largely effeminate looking clientele.

    I remember feeling ridiculously nervous at this point. What was this? Who’s the muscle? Why the now utterly incongruous cafe / bar? ‘Ha ha…what do you think this is Scud? Something out of ‘The Bourne identity’?’ (Just…you know…all those ‘government conspiracy theories’ we’d discussed over the net). ‘Slurp’ finish my pint and say my farewells to the misses and thread a path over to the slightly hunched, black leathered cowboy who now somehow looked like the ruthless owner, dropping in to check that his minions weren’t sticking their hands in the till.

    “Err, err…are you Horace by any chance?”

    A brief glance in my direction then back to his pint.

    “Scud.”

    A meaty great hand is now waving towards my chest. I take it and as NI squeezes the bejesus out of it I give him a friendly slap across the shoulders with my left that he doesn’t seem to appreciate too much (an immediate and embarrassing reminder of the mans condition).

    “Dan, Mike…Tom. This is Scud, like me, a bloke that writes crap on the internet.” (I’ve probably got the names wrong here, though one of the guys came from the same tiny village that I grew up in). For sure, everything else from this point on is a bit hazy as many a glass of beer was hence consumed though I do remember NI’s reasons for suggesting such a meeting place that didn’t at first appear to be what you’d have imagined to be the mans cup of tea.

    Swanny! You would have loved it!! A band that Horace knew and followed were scheduled to play in an adjacent room.
    Flamin’ weird thinking back on it. This ‘adjacent room’ was pretty large and completely blacked out and of course the ‘music’ as at odds with the rest of the place as NI and his mates! ‘NoIdea’ why they’d been booked as naturally we were the only blokes…err listening. The other reason was that they had a ‘smoking verandah’ so we all got heartily stuck into that perfect accompaniment to alcohol after the er-hum, ‘band’ had finished giving everyone tinnitus.

    The second time we met was a quieter affair. Just myself Horace and his charming wife Elaine. Still, it was a mini beer fest and good on her for restraint and driving NI safely home in his old V8 Jeep.

    I think it must have been around a year after this that my little-un was born (I’m probably a contender for the worlds oldest dad) and as everybody said it would, did indeed ‘change my life’ and am very sorry to say (particularly now) that I allowed myself to slowly drop out of the conversation and contact with good friends as a consequence. I think I spoke to NI only once after this and that was over the phone whilst stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway to wish him a happy Christmas and not to eat the entire sack of walnuts that he always ordered for the festivities in one go.

    Yes, a genuine shock to see if the great Pointman was still givin’ ‘em hell after all this time and this, the first article that strikes my eye, a year in passing and I had NoIdea. Well, all I can say was that he was a lovely man and I won’t forget him and Blackswan, many thanks for a very touching tribute.

    All the very best guys

    Scud.

    • Blackswan says:

      G’day Scud – really good to hear from you again.

      I well remember ‘the Night of the Hat’ from NoIdea’s account of it. He later bemoaned the fact that the place on Portobello Road had first lost its ‘smoking verandah’ and then its license and was now a fitness centre, if I remember correctly. Times were a’changing.

      Rastech’s ‘virtual boozer’ with sawdust on the floor and a bouncer on the door was a fun place in its day too. Good to remember those times.

      I trust you and your family are well Scud; that wee bairn of yours must almost be ready for school by now.

      Always happy to raise a glass in memory of a friend. Here’s to Horace …. Cheers!

    • Pointman says:

      Scud ! Great to hear from you mate. I hope you and the wife are enjoying your Scudlet. “Friend” me on facebook (I know, I know, it’s crap but it’s a free chat room) and we’ll do a proper catchup.

      Best

      Pointy

  8. scud says:

    Pointy and the Swan! G’day my good blokes and apologies for the late reply.

    I went out for a drink with a life long friend of mine last Friday who’s a bit of a perceptive bugger…kept reminding me ‘that I looked a bit glum.’ Annoying and of course didn’t do anything to lighten my mood.

    He he…many thanks for asking after the ‘Scudlet’!
    He’s fine and dandy. Prone to the most awful; public, head-turning tantrums. Gets some sort of weird kick out of inflicting pain on Daddy (specially when he’s asleep on the sofa)…likes cars, guns and motorbikes (tomorrow we will be going to Brands Hatch to watch a track day). Eats nothing but pork pies, bacon and sausage. Runs everywhere, specially round the supermarket where every week I get a tannoy announcement to ‘claim my child from the toy section’. All fun and games!

    Excellent to see you guys continuing to so eloquently put what’s what (got some serious catching up to do here) and hope I can rejoin to some degree!!

    • Blackswan says:

      G’day Scud,

      Good to hear from you. Tell your buddy you aren’t “glum” – just suffering from that well-known torture of long-term sleep deprivation. Sounds like the Scudlet is keeping you on your toes. Have fun at the track; the sights and sounds will either tire him out or rev him up. Many years ago (BC) I took my young nephew to a race track; a kid with the attention span of a gnat. Lost interest in the open-wheelers in two minutes flat and amused himself stuffing his pockets with bottle caps strewn around the place. Kiddies keep life “interesting” don’t they?

      Looking forward to you keeping in touch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: