Fan Mail To The Excitable Boy

I’ve never written a successful fan letter. My definition of a successful fan letter is one that gets written, sent to the recipient celebrity, and received by said person. In my experience, such attempts have always failed due to the home team failing to get past the first hurdle – even in such a format I fear the evoked sentiment.

Dear Warren,

There’s very little I could say in this letter that I’m sure you’ve not already heard a thousand times. But I do have something that I think only a small number of fans could share with you, and unique or not, it’s a piece of information I wanted to share with you.

Divorced parents find themselves in the tricky scenario of wanting to spend every minute with their shared kids, and not wanting to share the same room with their past spouse. As a boy, this meant my time with Dad was fleeting. My parent’s music tastes couldn’t have been more different if someone had sat down and orchestrated an elaborate set of criteria, and so I ended up with exposure to all kinds of music, from country and western through to operetta. Needless to say this has left me open to ideas.

One afternoon I remember Dad was preparing for a trivia night he was hosting, and one of the rounds was to have snippets of music from which the teams had to guess song titles, next lines of lyrics and so on. One snippet was barely three seconds of a guy howling “awooo”, and that was it. No context, no idea who the artist was, I begged to hear the whole track – this really wasn’t necessary as Dad was more than happy to share the entirety of “Werewolves Of London” with me.

Ten years later, I stumbled across “Werewolves” again on a mixed tape I dug up when moving house. Intrigued as to what else this performer had done, I set myself to finding albums, details, anything I could. I shared this crusade with my Dad, who grinning down the phone, let me know that he had most of what I was looking for. As clichéd as it may sound, we now had something unique to share that wasn’t a bond between my brother and I and our dad, but just the two of us. This is something I’ve never had before.

We spend more time together than we did when I was growing up. Now we email daily, send messages and phone when we see something that we know will amuse the other: I saw a sign at a car repairs advising they offered “Puncher Repair” – he suggested Boom Boom Mancini avoid them. We speak in an esoteric code, peppered with phrases and song titles that sound like witty banter to all except those in-the-know, who recognize the genius at work. I now know that no matter how I feel or what needs to be said, I can now reach for my playlist and know that the perfect words have already been written, and that Dad will get the same meaning as I do from them.

Today is Father’s Day, and I spent lunch with Dad and the rest of his family. He asked about my endeavours to become a “Piano Fighter” (I’m thinking about lessons), we smiled at it.
Today is also five years since you passed away, and whilst neither of us met you, we miss you just as if you had been present the whole time, and like many others continue to keep you in our hearts for a while.

Sincerely,

ND

Fan Mail To The Excitable Boy

Nick D

Joined August 2008

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warren zevon

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