L- R Me, Alan, Stuart c2000
2013 has been a difficult year with challenges presenting themselves in many forms, financial, lifestyle, creative and of course, the earth shatteringly life changing arrival of my son and all that came with that so after finally getting Lucas home on the 18th of October, I was hoping that the closing weeks of 2013 would see a new optimism and joy but less than twenty four hours of relief and happiness that Nicky and Lucas were finally out of the hospital after a month of hell for both of us, I was brought crashing back to Earth with the news the following day that one of my closest friends, Stuart Meads, had been killed in a tragic accident in London whilst on a night out with his partner, Gavin.
When I say "close friend," I mean I regarded him pretty much as family. My biological brother and I don't have a good relationship, we never have, we've never been close, so the tiny group of friends I count as my closest mates really are my extended family, the brothers I wasn't blessed with by birth but whom I came to know and love during the most formative and influential period of my early adult years and who, along with my immediate family, my son and my girlfriend, are the most important people in my life, so to hear that one of these people had been taken from us has really hit me for six, I am devastated.
I have lost friends before but this is different, this is one of those friends who you just can't imagine your life without and let me tell you, Stu was one of the most brilliant people whom I have ever met anywhere, warm hearted, generous, supremely talented, full of energy with a love of the esoteric, art and music, a gentle and loving guy who could make me laugh like nobody else. Thankfully, through the grief of losing him, I can still laugh out loud at one of a million things we got up to in our sixteen years of unbroken friendship which was never soured with a single angry word.
I had spoken with Stuart only a couple of days before the tragic accident which claimed his life, a typically funny and bizarre conversation probably only we would find funny and we were discussing ideas for the video I was going to shoot for his band Trademark so when our friend Alan, who lived with Stu and is part of that small and tight knit group of ours who have been pals for almost two decades, called me on the Saturday to tell me the news, it came, as these things invariably do, as a horrible shock.
Only in the last few days has it really started to sink in, made worse by the fact I couldn't attend his funeral due to a commercial shoot I was running for a week in Scotland so I feel I haven't had a chance to say goodbye and to be honest, I'm pretty heartbroken.
With that in mind, I can't begin to imagine what Stu's parents, his brother Lawrence and sister Hannah and his family along with Oli and Paul (his closest friends) must be going through, I can only send them my love and best wishes and hope they can find the strength to make it through this awful and difficult time.
Stuart was going to be providing music for Of Shark and Man which now unfortunately won't be the case but of far greater importance is that my life is now a darker place without him in it.
Rest in peace Stu, I love you mate and will miss you every single day.