maandag 12 oktober 2020

Valuable inheritance

From my younger brother Johan, who passed away ten years ago, I didn't only inherit material things but also some valuable online contacts. Like me, Johan had an interesting social life online. Actually, I got to know my own brother much better through the online media. His comments on daily life, when he was on his own, his way of thinking, his wit. His way of looking at things, and his endless patience to really watch, I learned from his YouTube videos. I won't argue with people who say there's nothing better than face to face contact, proper conversation or taking up activities together, but his online communication made me see other qualities in him, from a different angle, that wouldn't have come up in a direct conversation. (See links to his webpresence below this blog.) Luckily, also in real life, 'irl', we could get along pretty well. We really got close during his year of illness, when we spent much time together, and until he had to be hospitalized he lived with me for half a year. 

When he passed away we received many unexpected condolences from the online world. One or two days before the funural someone from Sacramento, California, sent a precious picture, that she had once received from him, and that we had never seen before, obviously a selfie that Johan had made in his room. We quickly made some copies and framed them to use at the funeral, and now this picture is standing in my living room, so I can see my brother every day, in his natural habitat. 

One contact that I 'inherited' from my brother is the Canadian singer, songwriter and ukelele player Kate Sloan. As far as I remember Johan once even 'set a score' for her, writing down the music for ukelele. I can't remember which song. (*) Since then - off and on - I follow Kate Sloan and her music on Twitter and YouTube. On social media she tells about her life, growing up with her brother Max, and about her music. I think she was still a teenager when Johan got to know her, but this is more than ten years ago now. According to her own website Kate is "20-something from Toronto, sex journalist by day, ukulele songstress by night, writes songs about love, sex, fictional characters, and occasionally jellyfish." See more: katesloan.com

(*) Searching at Kate's YouTube channel I found a few songs that Johan figured out the chords for her, for example Mother of Pearl of Nellie McKay, where Kate comments: "The incomparable Johan Lont figured out the chords & sent them to me."

Today I was especially moved when I heard Kate Sloan beautifully sing a new cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's song 'Alone again (naturally)'. Her voice has grown and perfected. And then again, obviously I can't listen to her without thinking of my brother. Also, I had never really listened to the somber words of this song. They are like a psalm of David. I will certainly listen more often now. 

If no video shows up, click here

Alone again (naturally)
Gilbert O'Sullivan


In a little while from now,
If I'm not feeling any less sour
I promised myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower,
And climbing to the top,
Will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to who
Ever what it's like when your shattered
Left standing in the lurch, at a church
where people saying,
"My God that's tough, she stood him up!
No point in us remaining.
We may as well go home."
As I did on my own,
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday,
I was cheerful, bright and gay,
Looking forward to, but who wouldn't do,
The role I was about to play
But as if to knock me down,
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch,
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt,
Talk about God in His mercy
For if He really does exist
Why did He desert me
In my hour of need?
I truly am indeed,
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that
There are more hearts
Broken in the world
That can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

Alone again, naturally

Now looking back over the years,
And what ever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died
Never wishing to hide the tears
And at sixty-five years old,
My mother, God rest her soul,
Couldn't understand, why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start with a heart
So badly broken
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken
And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally

Webpresence Johan Lont: * Johan's weblog * Johan's blog * Twitter (Eng.) * Twitter (NL) *  Natuurfilmpjes * YouTube * Wikipedia *

1 opmerking:

  1. Ytzen, this is such a sweet post - thank you for writing it, and for sharing these beautiful thoughts! I have fond memories of Johan and think he seemed like a wonderful person, in the little time that I knew him. The song he figured out for me was indeed Mother of Pearl by Nellie McKay and I remember being so touched by that gesture. Hope you're doing well in these chaotic times!

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