Monday, 20 September 2010

John Edward Hughes Copeland - Why I loved my Ted

I wouldn't normally do this. In fact I see it done from time to time on blogs and facebook and things and it seems so... I dunno... Crass. I mean I am crass myself in many ways but I'd always supposed that sometimes, somethings, are best left private.

But not this. I won't get a chance to say these things otherwise and so I need to say them here, where someone might read them and yes, probably think I'm a dick or after attention or just spreading the misery about but really, really I just want someone else to know. Not know about me, or how I feel but know about Ted. Because he was a miserable bastard. A wonderful bastard. And, probably, a bastard that you lot don't know.

I got home tonight, late to a pile of messages on the phone. All bad news.

My best friend Ted. Idiot that he is, hit by a motorbike in the early hours of today and... Well, not and. No more 'and'. Just. Finished. A Full Stop now.

I mean, a motorbike? In the early hours of a Sunday night Monday morning? And to be hit by one? I can't quite believe that. It doesn't seem plausible and if Ted were here I know exactly what he'd say, he'd say, "Well. He wouldn't have been expecting that."

But that's not Ted. Ted isn't the guy that managed to be hit by a bike at five in the morning on a Monday.

Ted was... Well... Mad. Wonderfully mad.

He took me to a strip club once, did my manloving friend Ted, at four in the morning - it was the only place still serving. And he was gone half an hour later, taxi into Newcastle and out on the pull. He felt bad afterward, seemed to think that it was his fault that I got punched by a bouncer. Seemed to think it was his fault that I still have the scar tissue floating in my eye.

And the first time he came round to my new house for dinner - I followed him about as he sloashed red wine across the carpet - me scrubbing the floor as he ambled between DVD stands. His eyebrow raised and a 'Really?' look across his face.

And he was there, always there.

I left my fiance a few years back and he was there. He put all his own stuff on hold and he was there, usually with a bottle of wine and sensible advice. And earlier, when my family was pulling itself apart he was there, and we were younger then so there was no wine but I stole spirits and he maintained enough sense to speak sensibly.

And, actually, I'm sort of pleased that this blog has tailed off and has a much smaller readership because I feel proud of my friend and I feel priviledged that he was my friend and that he did give up his time (and wine) for me and I love the fact that I did know him. That I was that lucky. That this, for almost all of you will be simply a sketch of a life that I got to share in.

I want you all to be jealous.

I want you all to wish you had had a friend like mine.

A friend that once had a 'pleasant time' with a Cambridge Don and as a result of which I still recieve SPAM email.

A friend who said the most genuis things about books and film and music and theatre and left my nodding and baffled and impressed but who never judged me for loving Sci-fi pulp novels or films about sexdolls.

But most of all I want you all to know that I miss my friend. And that I had potatoes in and had a vague idea of how to do dauphinoise potatoes and that I was expecting to be able to talk about the History Boys because I had finally gotten around to watching it.

I had a friend with whom I could talk about books and music, even if he did like Kate Bush, and Scandinavian Miniminalist film and Daphne Du Maurier and talk about nothing and about simple ambitions. Proper ambitions. Dreams that went beyond the horizon and that never left the back yard.

He deserved better.

Someone I listen to, someone I believe and trust, told me once that heaven is somewhere built upon every second of every dream and that for each happy moment a different heaven exists. I hope, I demand, that Ted has many heavens and I hope that somewhere, for a second or two in one of them, maybe in a pub in York or Cambridge, I get to buy him a pint.

I've opened the wine Ted, I poured you a glass.


Vincent said...

We,ve just read your words about our Ted.You,ve really got him to a T.It,s good to know you thought so much of him and you,ve just captured the complicated infuriating compassionate lovely man he was.Thankyou for this.We will be in touch. Like you we can,t get our head around the awful irony of this.He was a unique one off we will all miss him and this world will be such a dull place without him.
Audrey,Davey,Vinny & Tina.

B said...

I'm so sorry Nick. Grief sucks and no one should have to go through it. I'm so sorry you've lost your friend.


Mark said...

Webb here matey just discovered your blog. Just heard about ted today as been facebook awol. Havent seen him much in the past few year but he will be truely missed, deffo one of my main friends during the journey to adulthood. Is there any service planned?

Dave Weston said...

I'm trying to organise a get-together in Ted's memory if you could pass this onto anyone who might want to come along.
Anyone who knew Ted is welcome to come to a gathering this Saturday (25th Sept) 2 til about 4pm in Wetherspoons in Consett to talk about Ted and share memories.
Dave Weston

Gracie_Darling said...

Hello Nik,

I've just come across this.
I found it because I typed Ted's name into Google. I don't know why, it's a very odd thing to do and I don't know what I expected to find. I've read the article in the Echo; it's very cold and straight to the point. It doesn't tell me any of the things I really want to know, like was Ted happy? Did he know that I loved him, and that I was very sorry we'd fallen out? I still have his Virginia Woolf books, I've read them so many times they're falling apart. I'm sure he knew and was pissed off with me, hell hath no fury like a disgruntled Ted, I should have given them back.

This is a very honest eulogy Nik, I know how close you were, I'm so sorry. I'm also very glad I knew Ted too, I've never forgotten him, even in the past few years of silence. I'll never forget him.

I'll see you next weekend I guess.

Grace (Robinson)

watching9987 said...

Hi all,

Circumstances aside it's nice to hear from old friends. Ted's family tell me that his service will be on Friday 1st at Christ Church, Consett - not sure of the time yet. I hope they won't me telling you all like this but obviously I don't have your numbers and Ted, always the charmer, was part of all our lives at some point and so I know that you'll want to come if you can.

And Dave, I'll do my best to be there.


Vincent said...

Me and tina are coming up to weatherspoons on saturday to tell you what time the funeral is on, its on the 1st october at christ church, you are all very welcome to come, we will give him a good ted style send of.

Please spread the word around to his friends about what date it is on.

Thank you

Megan said...

Cheers to Ted, Nik
I'm jealous.

A wonderful tribute. You take care