I’ve just said good bye to my friend and partner in musical mischief Dan.
Along with another good friend we went on a road trip out to the country to listen to Dan perform his last gig before he heads off on a world trip that has no particular end date.
After our last hug (which I made him repeat and give me one extra last hug) I walked off and found myself welling up with tears. I have a mix of emotions. I’ve been through the stages of grieving and so now mostly I’m excited for the adventures he is going to have. There is nothing quite like watching a friend do the things they have always dreamed of doing, even if that leads them along a path that feels like it is a long way away.
I love Dan. He is an incredibly kind and good man.
It’s funny to think of it really. He is the last person I thought I would really think of as a friend, a good friend.
But there you have it, proof that friendship can sneak up on me.
Dan and I are quite different people, which is why I have learnt so much from him.
We are almost exact opposites in our Myers Briggs profiles. I only know this because Dan will instinctively diagnose a person’s profile within seconds of seeing them interact with another human.
What's most remarkable about this is the deep level of skepticism I have about this kind of profiling and the almost zealot like faith Dan has in it. If people met us and had to guess they would almost certainly guess this the other way around.
The thing is we both love talking about what makes people tick, and I love the insights he has about people and am so intrigued by the knowledge he has…so the profile thing just becomes a perfect foil for our conversation.
I’ve realised, if left to my own opinions, I will sometimes make terrible choices about the friends I pick.
When I met Dan, I was intimidated by him for about the first year. I stupidly assumed that someone as musically talented as him would be extremely underwhelmed by someone like me, who was just relearning to play the piano again…until one day he saw me sing and play a song, for the first time ever in public, and came over and was so excited and enthusiastic about what I had done, he was like…
“Boom! Out of nowhere comes Luke and just nails it. That was awesome man!”
I remember looking at him, bewildered. He had hardly spoken a word to me all year and the first thing he says is the exact thing I needed to hear at that moment.
I’d been struck by Dan’s magical gift.
In groups, he doesn’t say much…but what he says is gold. He doesn’t say much, but if he sees a fledgling artist he will fan that flame as hard as he can. He doesn’t say much, but what he says is generally kind and generous and insightful and well worth listening to.
Later he told me that he used to make sure he was in the group I was in (we were both training to become Alexander Technique teachers) because he liked the questions I asked and the way I would summarise up what the hell the group had been all about (the training can be a bit nebulous…).
This is a great example of how Dan votes with his feet.
If he isn’t into something he is suddenly just not there anymore. I’ve found it liberating to realise that I too have this option.
Equally, when I was thinking of getting Campfire started Dan came along to the first trial run and afterwards said to me…
“That was great. It’s a thing. If you want to do it regularly then I’m in.”
When he votes with his feet, he votes with his feet. In two years I think he may have only missed a couple of Campfires, that’s it. For the rest he has been there as house musician, making magic happen.
All of these things are the kind of things that make Dan special.
I’m so pleased to have him as my friend.
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