Facebook’s a funny old beast, and for all that I hate/love it, I’m given a sense of time by the fiendish thing. This morning it reminded me that it’s four years since we realised that my uncle Colin Barnfather had gone missing while walking on his own up in Scotland. (Spoiler: it ended badly.) It’s a very odd thing to be reminded of, along with pictures of cats and baffling cultural references, but it does unroll the past for me, and I guess I’m grateful for that.
I’m very grateful to my uncle – he was a big influence on me for reading science fiction and fantasy – the annual exchanges of cool new hardbacks were a feature of our birthdays and Christmases. I’ve written a bit about him before, but I’m not sure that I’ve said how grateful I am to him – he’s enabled a lot of changes and opportunities in my life that I wouldn’t have had without him, and without him dying. It’s a complicated feeling.
He was a keen fan of the improvised comedy outfit I’m part of, right from our early monthly shows at the Art Organisation (where Hopkinsons Gallery now lives), through to our time at The Glee. It turned out to be the reason we saw each other so regularly, and I should have realised sooner that his absence at a show was a sign something had gone very wrong. There’s not much I can do about that now. But Col is remembered, and thought of.
The gang at MissImp and I have set up a scholarship programme for our introduction to improv courses, in Colin’s name. It’s a small, but fitting tribute. He would have loved the shows we’ve been able to put on since we lost him, and it pains me that he can’t be here to enjoy them.
So yeah, thanks Facebook, for reminding me of time, what we lose, and what we somehow gain by it. But mostly, thanks Col.
And, because I still rather love this – the video I took up into the valley where Col died.