|This blog's for you.|
Blair Sheridan, 1964-2014
Man, mate, dad, musician
Well I thought that was rather fatuous. (Mind you, I know someone who would say that would be a good start...) I mean, some of the men I don't know don't even like football. Some are even married to other men and never fight about the housework.
So, the idea came to write a blog about being a man. I mean I was going to write a blog, a single one, on this blog but then I had the idea to write to friends and acquaintances and see if they'd all write a blog. I first discussed the idea with my wife Lena, who pronounced it good. "Bloody good", was the phrase she used. And then I mentioned it to Andy McElroy, a bit of a soul mate in that he's bald, likes a beer, likes football and likes to talk about the state of the world, and he fell for the idea straight away. he said "Guardian books will publish it. Let's get it done by Christmas". Eventually, 50 other men also dug the idea, and their musings you can read here.
The original idea was for this to be a book. In flights of fancy I imagined myself on the chat show circuit, a guru on the sensitive man, on fatherhood, on straight-man-gay-man friendships, on interracial friendships (whatever they may be), love, life, death, football, crisps, beer, farting...
Well, publishers kindly read a few chapters and told me that it was an interesting idea, but with the recession blah blah, risky project blah blah chick lit was still where it was at blah blah, too Irish, not Irish enough, too heavy, too flippant. Friends of the project supported the idea of an e-book, self-publishing, public readings, and so on. I reluctantly emerged from my dreams of the Late Show and Letterman, and one evening during a quiet pint on a quiet Soi in Bangkok, Will Rogers said he'd help me build a website. And promptly buggered off to West Africa to fight the Ebola virus as soon as I was ready to publish.
So, I started a blog. www.h2bam.blogspot.com
The project has been so long in the making that children who were still in utero at the outset now have siblings - blame it on laziness, blame it on work, blame it on the boogie, anyway, it's here. The very strange part of all this is that one weekend, four weeks ago, I got the urge to really attack this project and get the shagging thing out of my head and into the blogosphere. So I attacked it and was pretty close to publishing it when... well, back up a sec. A good pal of mine in Kiev, a hearty and bacchanalian Canadian by the name of Blair Sheridan was a staunch supporter of this idea of mine. He often said he would find time to pen 1,000 words for me, as it would be important for his son, growing up, to see what his old man had been thinking back in 2010s.
Well, just as I was getting ready to publish, a mate in Kiev, Neil Campbell, sent me a message on Facebook to tell me that Blair had been found dead. Heart attack. 49. Two kids, 15 and 12. It took me all of five seconds to decide that this blog was going to be in his memory. And then I walked into a parent teacher meeting and promptly started blubbing in front of Ms Jen when I should have been discussing phonics and number bonds. Ho hum
The blog will go through many iterations, I hope, and I will do my best to keep it live and lively. I will add some general articles, some self-penned and others stolen from greater minds, about the man thing, about how that generally dangly thing and the Y chromosome defines us, and hope that some people find it useful. (The writing, not the generally dangly thing).
Thanks are due to the men who wrote this, you know who you are and you need to know how very deeply I appreciate your support. I am so sorry it took so long to do - what can I say, I am a man, so are you, so you understand. What am I even apologizing for? Thanks to my wife Lena for encouraging me (and for rubbing my nose it it when I was not being particularly manly on occasions). Thanks to my daughters Maya and Polina for exposing me to the most euphoric and addictive drug there is, the one called a dad loving his kids. Thanks to my dad for the Y chromosome, and to mum for incubating it. And to my sisters, Joanna and Paula, who got the X ones. Special thanks to John Richardson, my oldest and dearest friend. And very special thanks to my brother Luke, who will never read this, but is a better man than me, hands down.
Joe Lowry, Bangkok, 6 October 2014 (aged 49 and a half, today!)