I’m delighted to have arrived in Cape Town to speak at Content Strategy Forum with luminaries such as Kristina Halvorson, Luke Wroblewski, Relly Annett-Baker, and Cennydd Bowles (and many others whom I’m really looking forward to hearing).
But I’m sad that I’m missing the funeral of my uncle, Colin Lawson. Colin was my Dad’s younger brother – a lovely gentleman who ran a bike shop (Lawson’s Cycles in Christchurch) and played guitar in his local area.
In the early 60s, he was rhythm guitarist in a band called The Saxons, named by my Dad. Here they are, circa 1964: left to right unknown, Colin Lawson, unknown, Frank Smith, Roger Mabey (names gleaned from David St John’s site):
Their significant claim to fame was that they supported the Rolling Stones when they came to Southampton. Claims to fame don’t tell the real story, however; Colin was devoted husband to Barbara and father to Ruth and Guy.
It was Colin who taught me the most important lesson when I began learning the guitar (in the summer of ’82 after my O levels when I went to stay with him and Barbara). I’d wondered why I had to do all the pesky chord fingering with my left hand, when I’m right-handed. He explained my “lead” hand was used for strumming, which is far harder than fretting chords. Once I’d learned the chords and they were second nature, it was the rhythm that made a good guitarist. Of course, he was right, and I’ve never looked back.
Five years or so ago he was diagnosed with cancer. There were several years of chemotherapy and blood transfusions, throughout which he remained upbeat (“I’ve felt better but looking forward” were the last words he said to me on the phone). Eventually, he succumbed, having been out to the pub for the last time less than a week before he died.
Colin Lawson: RIP (Riff in Peace).