Ash and me, we played so many pranks
and got into so much strife
our friends used to joke
that we were practically man and wife*
Fake letters from immigration
to the aggressive Russian kid
got us into shit
Setting off fireworks
under a sleeping security guard
put us pretty deep in it
Signing up to the constipation support group
on behalf of one of the staff
didn't really endear us to the dean
I'm pretty certain that our academic careers
weren't quite what they could have been
Food fights in the canteen hall
flicking trifle in Tibbs' beard
and pumping water underneath his door
while his cousin was staying over
sleeping on the floor
But we were pals and life was fun
angry though some people were
we had many more friends than enemies
and that's a pretty good place to be in.
Playing guitar badly,
eyes closed like we believed
that singing along to Levellers
"one way", was all we'd ever need.
One night as we were walking
to the student union where we worked
Ash flicked his cigarette away
...or so he thought.
Alan and me saw the wind blow it
back into Ash's hood
of the expensive new hemp hippy coat
he'd bought in Camden that afternoon.
Ash misunderstood our titters
decided to join in the joke
gestured grandly and in a pompous voice exclaimed:
"I smell the pleasant aroma of wood-smoke"
It absolutely floored us, Alan and me
as much at Ash's performance
I held the end of my pecker
trying very hard not to pee.
As ash staggered round
rising to our mirth
leaving a plume of "pleasant wood smoke"
in his wake.
He suddenly stopped and his face questioning
said "Hang on a minute. It's following me"
Removing his hemp hippy jacket
he presented an interesting sight
jumping up and down
on his smouldering coat
at the roadside.
People stopped and looked at him
as if he'd lost his mind
We couldn't help
we couldn't breathe
tears of laughter stung our eyes
I bought him a new jacket
such was his angst
and eventually saw the funny side
but he vowed
he'd get us back.
Years passed and irresponsible fun
turned to rent, mortgages, girlfriends and work
they did for me
I assumed they would for him too
but that wasn't to be.
Ash was in trouble
couldn't ask for help
still nursing a broken heart
didn't know what to do
what direction to take
if he'd asked, I'd have been there
A young life lost is a gut wrenching thing
even more so one with such a kind heart
free thinking spirit
quick wit and mischief
"cheeky monkey" indeed.
I know that wherever Ash is now
he'll remember those times and laugh
as I laugh now because
good memories over bad
are far too precious by half.
RIP Ash 1975-2000
*not like that. We both had girlfriends!