Yes, I know that it is not morning, and that it is in fact barely Monday. Unfortunately, family issues prevented me from writing anything last night and work issues prevented me doing anything today – until now.
All of which is a shame, because today I want to introduce you to someone who was a part of my extended family, Helen’s sister Karen. That’s right, Helen also had a sister named Karen and, to add to the confusion, she was only six weeks younger than my sister, and had almost the same middle name. Fortunately, Karen’s siblings always referred to her by her nickname of ‘Boo’, which meant that I, at least, was usually clear which of the sisters was being referred to.
Another big difference was that I have, for the most part, got on with my sister. Helen and Boo, however, were two very different people, one very scientific, one very arty, one very career-driven, one placing job satisfaction over money or status. Indeed, Boo once took a job where she knew that she would never reach the highest level, something which Helen would not have dreamed of doing.
I met Boo the very first time that I was introduced to Helen’s family and she immediately made a good impression upon me because she was the only one who was not a bit stand-offish. She was just about to go off to university for the first time and so I only had limited contact with her over the first three or four years that we were together. Her degree was something to do with the fashion industry and, despite doing work placement with one of the Emmanuels (the people who designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress) she found the industry impossible to break into.
At this point, she moved to London and became an air stewardess, working first for British Midland, then Japan Airlines (the job I alluded to earlier – all of the senior jobs there went to Japanese crew at the time). Needless to say, her life was changed by the events of September 11 2001, but in a good way – she had just accepted a job with British Airways but, in the aftermath of that tragic day, the offer was withdrawn. Needing a job, she went to work for John Lewis, where she met another temporary worker, Matt, who became her husband.
For a long time after Helen and I separated Boo and I kept in touch. We even met up on a couple of occasions, exchanged Christmas and birthday cards, that sort of thing. Then, suddenly, it all stopped. Which is a shame, because I liked her a lot. And because today is her birthday.
Anyway, you’ll be wondering about the music. I was wondering, too, as Boo’s musical taste was nothing like mine. But I was reminded of one of the more extraordinary things to have happened to me. It was at Boo and Matt’s wedding reception. At the time, one of her best friends was married to Iain Baker, the keyboard player from Jesus Jones, and the two of them were also guests. I happened to be stood by the venue door when they left, and as they did he shook my hand and said ‘Goodnight, Richard’. I had no idea how he knew my name as we had not been introduced to one another, and I did not want to introduce myself for fear of being mistaken for a fawning sycophant. But even to this day I am amazed that he went to the trouble of finding out who I was.
Even with this in mind, I struggled to pick one Jesus Jones song, so as consolation for the late arrival of this post here’s three – one that is my favourite, and two suggested by other people.