For Lewis

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Louis playing double bass at the Edinburgh Festival

I see him in the curve of a head, or a leather jacketed figure. Only, it’s not him. He’s gone.

To some, he was Lewis. To me, often Louis or Lew. I first met Lew in 2012 at a bus stop during the insane bubble of the Edinburgh Festival, and adored him immediately.

He smiled over as the bus was proving about as elusive as Godot, and his huge soulful eyes melted me. He looked just like a young Robert Mapplethorpe. We got chatting, and he explained he was playing with a Latin jazz band at a bar in Edinburgh. He was softly spoken, eloquent and witty, with a laugh like an exclamation mark. Women and men were drawn to him.

I saw his show, which was absolutely beautiful. The flamenco band, and dancer Mayte, were sublime. After the festival, we slowly became an item.

He made a mean mojito, and was an incredible musician, playing double bass, guitar, drums, flute and piano. He was a cat person, and I loved his eccentric little tabby Phinn.

We loved each other as ferociously as we rowed (both stubborn bastards) and were together only roughly a year; eventually split, but remained friends.

He was sensitive and always kind to me as a friend. I learned so much from him, not least because I’m a sad old indie kid, and he was jazz through and through. We’d still catch theatre shows and some very GFT arthouse films together whenever possible. Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage Festival was a fantastic event, any excuse to dress up in 40s threads and act like decadent tarts.

Work was increasingly taking over though, and I saw him less over the years. I’d always meant to meet up, but there never seemed to be the time.

Lewis died in July this year. His car crashed on the M4 outside Swansea. I didn’t know, having drifted apart from him, and with a new phone. I only found out from a mutual friend in October, and can still barely process the fact. I still see his face everywhere. It’s so unjust. He was just 37 years old.

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Lewis FB photo

Sweet Lewis. Wicked quips; awful, awful puns. You were complex; gifted, erudite, dogmatic, hilarious and difficult. You’re completely fucking wonderful. I miss you, and Glasgow is the absolute pits without you in it.

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