I have a friend called Martin, who plays angry alt-folk in a band called The Bold Gypsies. We’ve been friends since we did time in Glasgow’s now-destroyed Penilee Secondary school, when we were brought together through a shared love of…well, don’t tell anyone, but, it was Pokémon, alright? It was an awesome game and we were 13, don’t judge.
We have a strange friendship. Close at times, yet almost constantly antagonistic. I think it’s possibly because he’s so fucking annoying. That might sound harsh, but if you ask him, he’ll say the same about me. I think the reason he’d say that is because, well, i’m so fucking annoying. A few years ago now, Martin had an accident that nearly killed him; he fell 3 storeys out of a window. His injuries were severe and he was in intensive care for quite some time. When I saw him in hospital not long after the accident, plugged into various machines and drips, his face fairly mangled from the fall, the bastard was still better looking than me. I told him this, which in retrospect was more than a little bit gay, especially since I was sort of holding his hand at the time. Hey, he nearly died alright? It could’ve been our last chance to indulge in some mutually uncomfortable homo-eroticism.
As I stood outside with my two equally old friends, we talked about the fact that doctors had said Martin would spend most of that year in hospital, that he would have to learn how to walk again, slowly and painfully. Then we laughed over the fact that whilst Marty is the one of us most likely to survive falling out of a window, he is also the one of us mostly likely to ACTUALLY FALL OUT A FUCKING WINDOW. Whilst smoking, I might add. I’m still a little disappointed in myself for not making an “I know smoking’s bad for your health, but COME ON” type joke.
Martin defied the doctor’s claims and was out of hospital and walking again within a few short months, albeit walking to the pub mostly, but still. The only difference you could see were some scars and the fact that our old friend had lost an eye in the accident. Underneath the surface however, he had, and is still walking around with, a brain aneurism. A little metal coil holds it in place so that he can keep, y’know, living and stuff. Marty has never been exactly the same since then. He’s still as arrogant as ever, and just as fucking annoying, but there was an intangible difference I could never put my finger on. So, being a sensitive musician type, I wrote a song about it, the sensitively-titled “Smokefall (White Men Can’t Fly)” or simply “Whoops!” if he’s in the room when I play it. I played it live for the first time recently and afterwards Marty gave me a wee hug. It was nice, so it was. I’m glad to say that now when I see him, he seems happy. He’s gigging enough to keep him in beer money, making friends and lady-acquaintences and doing what he loves. I’m glad to see him smiling these days, and i’m glad he’s, y’know, alive and that.
So thats why the song is dedicated to, and about, my pal Marty. One of the most infuriating human beings i’ve ever met, yet also one of the most loyal. And hairy. He looks like a fucking bear, seriously. So if you see him busking or in the pub, playing guitar, reading about…well…everything, go chat to him, he’s a lovely guy.
Just don’t ask what happened to his eye, he hates that.