Last Friday we held our annual Summer Party in the courtyard of our HQ here in Birmingham. It was a pleasent, low key evening and later a mellow night, but my heart really wasn’t in it.
It’s now a little over three months since our friend Alan James died and two months since his funeral. The funeral was a terribly sad but wonderful occassion. A humanist celebrant offered consolation, Spiro and 9bach – the two bands Alan managed – both performed, the room was full of Alan’s friends, four people spoke and at the centre of things lay Alan in a wicker coffin topped with his hat.
Afterwards we gathered at The Swan, Stourport-on-Severn; different threads of Alan’s life meeting, sharing stories and food and music. It felt apt that even in his absence Alan was introducing people to each other, we had a lovely time.
Travelling home a reflected on how Stan’s Cafe could say our own proper thank you so someone who had given so much time and attention to the company. Our Summer Party seemed an apt occasion and as Alan had introduced us to so much great music over the years we could easily playlist the whole event with ‘his’ music. So we did and it was a great soundtrack but somehow still not enough. I’d thought that maybe, if the moment and audience were right, I’d share with the party the tribute to Alan I’d read at the funeral, but the moment wasn’t right until 1am in a corner with just two people listening. So I’m going to share this with you now.
Alan had an obituary in The Guardian and an article in Froots magazine both of which cover his amazing journey through the world of music. Part of my job was to add a Birmingham and Theatre dimension to the picture, so this is an attempt to say thank you on behalf of another whole great gang of us. It is also piece of writing I crafted for and about a dear friend as a means of saying thank you for everything. Please read it.