This is part of a new series of blogs entitled Words for Friends, in which I will try to acknowledge some people in my life for whom words of thanks are not nearly enough.
These living epitaphs to my true and lovely friends are published in a random order as fancy takes me.
I first met Helen at a Fairport Convention gig nine years ago. She was the bass guitarist in their three piece support act.
At the interval in the music hall lobby, she cheerfully agreed to sign my copy of her band’s first album… and so began a precious friendship.
Her mass of multi-coloured dreadlocks, overt body piercings and a meadow of tattoos gave the first impression of shock and awe. She was a punk, a hippy, a rebel and an amazing bass guitarist.
She was also beautiful, and oozed genuine warmth.
I soon began overseeing the PR for her band and within no time a deep friendship and even deeper love developed. But this was no romance in any sexual sense. Helen was/is gay and together many times we would talk all night and share our emotional rescue – usually over a bottle of gin, which was invariably finished in time for breakfast.
Almost four years ago she was the witness at my wedding to Gill, and a year later was the first person Gill telephoned for help when I suffered a nervous breakdown.
Without Helen my life would be incomplete. The best and most loyal friend I could ever wish for.