I went to a Pet Shop Boys gig in Chicago. They were halfway through their set when they played Suburbia.
I had never really made the connection between you and the Pet Shop Boys before, but suddenly I realised that the first Pet Shop Boys music I ever had was a taped copy of their Disco remix album that you had made for me.
You must have had it for Christmas that year, in 1986. I would have been 12, and you were 11. I clearly remembered you playing Suburbia on the stereo in your room, and during the Pet Shop Boy’s live performance, I couldn’t help but sing along, taken by surprise by this new memory, with tears slowly streaming down my face.
You were more like a brother than a friend. Looking back, we rarely did anything at all as adults, not much beyond getting together and talking, having a drink, having a laugh, sharing our thoughts.
There are, of course, memories that immediately spring to mind; playing in the sand as kids, playing with Star Wars toys in our gardens, skinny dipping in the river, drunken escapades in our local pubs, working together, day trips to France, a holiday in Ibiza, camping in the garden. However, now and then, I am treated to snapshots of memories that I had forgotten all about, and Suburbia was one of those.
The drive home from the gig was a long one, through Illinois road works, in the dark and heavy rain, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I wept for most of the journey. I wasn’t weeping for the songs or for the Pet Shop Boys, but rather for the memory of that distant time, long gone, when you and I knew that we were going to be friends forever, no matter what.
I wish you were still here.