Back in the day, I was a terrible teen, running riot. Football and females were pretty much my only interests, despite my parents’ best attempts to convince me it might be worth listening in school.
Fortunately, I was - and luckily still am - surrounded by some amazing people. My Grandparents, who lived through WWII, were always on hand to offer valuable and candid advice. My brother Ben, who has more often than not been a voice of reason. And there was Gerry, one of my mother’s best friends and briefly, a mentor to me.
I admired Gerry from the get-go. A gentlemaen, championing the fight against important causes like elder abuse and gay rights, and an unintended comedy genius. He was once at a ceremony with the then president Bill Clinton and beamed as he told how he was close enough to take great photos. He couldn’t wait to get them developed. The only problem was he’d forgotten to put a film in his camera.
One of the first times I met him he parked his car in central London in a spot that probably wasn’t meant to be parked in. Having stepped out of the car, he walked over to the ticket machine. A few buttons later, the machine broke and spat out a bunch of pound coins but no ticket. He proclaimed that he thought “it would probably be ok” and proceeded to give me all the change. The act typified his unselfishness.
Sadly, Gerry died of cancer in 2013. As a young man, he had had skin cancer (melanoma), developed from too much skin damage acquired from excessive sunbathing. Even though he beat skin cancer as a young man, he died of lung cancer — which was caused by melanoma cancer cells that had remained from his first battle with cancer.
adam & aoki is for you Gerry. I hope you’d be proud.