Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Rest in Peace my friend


Today the family and friends of one of my own dear friends gathered to say goodbye to him. While he peacefully passed away on the 4th of the month, it seemed so surreal to me that it's really only now I can acknowledge it. While he was added to the UK's Covid-19 statistics he will never be a statistic for me, he was a good friend and his name was James Dutton.
While his physical form is gone, James will for me, forever be a collection of fond memories that began on September 3rd 1997 when we started working together in our early 20s. He was a fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek, loved the music of Hans Zimmer and acknowledged Michael Bay as the greatest director of the time; so naturally we were instantly friends. For the next few years James instructed me on the finer points of Dungeons & Dragons which we played with friends and he would often come to my house to play LAN games of Quake, Unreal Tournament and StarCraft. While I always maintained we were evenly matched, James would hold his chin and go "hmmm!?" whenever I mentioned it, but I now freely admit to never being able to beat his Sithlord at Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (even when I modded my character to have two lightsabers).
James was a fiercely loyal friend who never denied a favour or failed to offer advice. To those who didn't know him well he presented as a quintessentially polite British gentleman from a BBC period drama. Once you knew him better, you'd discover his sharp wit and experience an endless supply of colourful insults - many in different languages. He would often speak about topics covering business, law, economics, finance and politics - sometimes within the same conversation - and he would not be dissuaded from an opinion he held dearly.
While he left Ireland to return to live in South Yorkshire in the early 2000's, the magic of social media allowed us to keep in touch after text messaging became passé and James often posted here as the Sith Apologist I will miss his honest takes on the news of the day, his amusing yet often blasphemous (to me) Star Wars memes and most prominently our general banter.
Goodbye old friend, you're one with the force and you'll never be forgotten as I'll always remember you especially every time I 'Roll a 20'.