35 Glendale Road is an address. The Bop Shack a state of mind. Patrick George Michael Still is a name. Pat The Rockin' Maniac is an identity.
The Swamplord, Stilton, the Hat, call him what you like, towered over my adolescent years like no one else. What thoughts lay behind these pale Irish eyes?
Dark ones, occasionally. But for the most part not. Mainly love and kindness. They emanated from Pat so strongly it hurt. He sometimes gave so much of himself he was left feeling bereft.
It was a tragedy I watched happen, and one I didn't change, that this man who put so much joy in the hearts of others couldn't always put a smile on his own face.
I prefer not to dwell on Pat's darkness. I prefer to remember the good times. There were a lot of them.
Flour fights at Franklin Avenue, Zodiac zipping, dancing harder than anyone else in the room, the love of Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran. Our paths diverged musically but the passion Pat applied to the music never left me.
To see him bopping around in a music note jumper to Restless was to see a man happy. To know I'll never see it again makes me sad.
On Thursday a light went out over Tadley.