This song was written in November 2013. My dear neighbour of ten years standing, Lilia Mimicopoulous died, aged 89. A Greek national, she had lived a very eventful and colourful life that had included brushes with Ceacescu’s Communist regime in Romania and also a love affair with a banker in London. She settled in Tunbridge Wells. Eventually she became my neighbour and I had a great relationship with her. I would often be invited in for a drink and a chat; towards the end of her life, when she suffered from both Parkinson’s and dementia, I would occasionally have to come to the rescue, clearing spillages up and things.
Anyway, after she passed, I was doodling on the guitar and came up with the harmonic structure and riff. I had deliberately placed the capo high up the neck (on the 6th fret) because I had heard on radio 3 that Mozart had composed a sonata in Csharp and I thought that was an unusual key. That experiment didn’t work, so I moved the capo up a semi-tone to D and that did.
The song’s lyrics came very quickly on Sunday 17. It occurred to me that when I was younger, I hardly ever went to funerals. But in recent years, I had been to many (both William and I had served as pall bearers at Lilia’s funeral). Which is probably a function of my age (45).
But in the last few years I had been to Joe’s father Michael’s funeral; my friend Kevin Aldridge’s father Mick; my own father, Pim; my friend Sara Whiteley’s father Stuart; my favourite Aunt Annick (whom “En Famille” on the first album was about) and Joe’s nephew Angus (whom both “Gone” and “Song For Angus”, the closing tracks on the second album were written for).
This song then became something of a reflection on our finitude.