I met Josiah outside a pub seven years ago. He was wearing a long trench coat – a little ostentatious for an eighteen year old – and gave me a chip dipped in baked bean juice. We discussed Marillion for some reason: each of us knew one song by them and the conversation led Jos to fall so deeply in love with their back catalogue that he became the world’s most well researched Prog Rock fan to have spent less than a year in the actual Nineteen Eighties.
He is one of my best friends and I am finding it hard to write about him without it seeming too cloying or ‘gushy’. Suffice to say we have shared many beautiful moments: we have swum at night in the bioluminescent sea during a thunderstorm on a Cambodian island; we have attended a Secret Cinema event (Prometheus) in which we became so emotionally invested that, during the ’emergency evacuation’, we feared for our other friends lives; we have scarfed a four pack of Carling outside a sofa shop in a retail park before an Elton John gig at Wembley Arena (which Jos sobbed throughout).
Here is a poem I wrote for his 25th birthday.
For Josiah, when in doubt
The road well-travelled
Is the safest.
Signposts kindly guide the way.
But I would never expect you
To choose the path where footprints lay
No, not for you are ‘best of’ lists,
Or Lonely Planet Choices.
I love you for your strength of mind
To shun those tempting voices.
Please never feel that since your route
Is not well Trip Advised,
That it is any less your route,
Or you any less wise.