Uncle Roy

When I think of Uncle Roy, two things spring immediately to mind - a relaxed smile, and a certain predilection for bad puns.

For most of my life we’ve lived quite a distance apart, so we didn’t meet often, but from childhood onwards I was always pleased when I knew that I was going to see him.

No doubt he had his off days - Deane men have something of a capacity for melancholy, and I expect that Roy was no different - but past the puns, the impression that came through to me was of someone who was interested in the world, and someone who cared - for his family, his friends, and the general state of the planet.

There was one other thing about Roy that made a big impact on me - his love of music. When I say impact, I mean it literally - as he inadvertently had a major influence on my musical taste (and some people might say therefore that he had a lot to answer for).

When my grandparents went to stay in Australia, we inherited their cassette player (stereo - woohoo!!) and Roy started sending Dad tapes that he’d copied. Exactly what came from Roy is a bit blurry now in my mind, but there are some that I remember for sure. Obscured by Clouds, by Pink Floyd and Songs From The Wood, by Jethro Tull, found their way onto our tape player from him, and into my head and heart forever. I’m fairly sure that he introduced me to Talking Heads, Crosby Stills & Nash, Wishbone Ash, Hugh Masekela, Tom Waits, and The Orb, to name but a few. His tastes were eclectic, and I’ve no doubt that they opened my eyes (and ears), which is something for which I’ll forever be grateful.

I’m an atheist, so I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do believe that people live on in a way, in our memories. Roy liked a beer (another thing that we shared, though I didn’t have nearly enough chances to share one with him). So each time I sit back with a beer, or crank up some Jethro Tull (both regular occurrences), I’ll be thinking of him.