I have a select number of very old friends who I know so well that, when we get together after long partings, we can get into very intense things, immediately, without preamble, almost as if 20 years ago was yesterday.
I did not know Ian Reid for nearly that long.
And I did not really know him all that well.
But, because of the connection we made, I felt like I did.
Because whenever we met, or talked on the phone, or E-mailed, we almost always got down to brass tacks pretty much immediately.
And we almost always talked about politics.
Or, at the very least, political goings on.
The last time Ian and I talked in person it was together with our mutual friend Norm Farrell.
And the politics talk was intense.
And then, somehow, near the end of our conversation the issue of what we'd all do if we had the time came up.
In my own head I've often thought that if I was retired I would have the time to do the real research so that I could try to write with the insight of Norm and the passion of Ian.
But I didn't say that.
Because before I could, Ian fixed me with that gaze of his and said.
'I'm pretty sure that when that happens Cal will be making music full-time'.
Which flummoxed me.
Not because Ian was wrong.
But rather because he was probably right.
I got an Email from another old friend late last night who I haven't really known since we were both kids, back before either of us knew Ian.
He wanted to pass along a message from Ian's daughter.
I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I excerpted just a few lines from it:
My father, Ian, died peacefully this afternoon in Vancouver, after a long illness...
...It's impossible to talk about his death and his life without talking about politics. (Don't let me get started on talking about music.)...
Talking about music, indeed.
I recorded this for Ian late last fall:
A while back Ian and I got to kibbitzing back and forth (usually on comment threads) about who our real musical heroes were...In the end we settled on two war horses from our youth (who were, of course, also young colts themselves as well back then)...His was Bowie... Mine was Springsteen...Which, of course, led to....This.