Well this blog is supposed to be about Ava-Jane with the odd meander into a political rant but tonight I want to pay homage to a very dear friend that we lost today, Toby G-S.
Toby was diagnosed with cancer around the same time as A-J, so they were “chemo buddies” as you can see from the photos above. They’re giggling in the face of adversity in the first and then looking more reflexive in the second.
Cancer is such an absolute fucker and fighting it can fuck you up as much as the disease itself. The fight left A-J half paralysed and it did for Toby. But my friend did put up a gallant fight.
Toby was laid low by the chemo for a while but bounced back and embraced life for all that it was worth for as long as he could. In our Pony Club days (more on that anon) it has to be said that Toby was no great horseman but all of a sudden, like some arisen centaur, Toby post-chemo took to the life in the saddle. He launched back into parenting and found some sort of peace in the world and starting addressing everyone as “Friend Luke/Stan/Bobby etc.”
I have known Toby since I was a sentient being and before he was (I am a bit older than him). He was always that massively talented friend who you admire and envy in equal measures. I credit myself for a bit part in the legend of Jamiroquai in that Toby asked me to go and convince his mother that it was actually a good idea for him to drop out of his university studies at a prestigious institution and form a band with a twat in a hat. Once Toby was famous one of my favourite party tricks if I ever found myself socializing with his music celeb crew was to tell them “Toby and I are friends from Pony Club”. I’d get admonished by Toby “So not cool, Luke, so not cool.”
Someone has put together a nice montage of Toby playing in Jamiroquai here: https://youtu.be/_qcEZR4A3Uw
Pictures from the Sleepover party at Toby’s and organized wonderfully by Gaby. Toby and Starzy and Dylan playing a tune en famille – it was great that Toby survived to do this, such a shame he didn’t, so he can’t do it more often. Toby looking handsome. The Pony Club Crew: four fascinating people and me (false modesty will get you everywhere.)
But apart from being a massively talented musician, Toby was also the guy that could build cars. These are skills (cars and music) that are both, in their own way, so completely beyond me so it has been great to have a mate who knows about that kind of stuff.
Toby was also one of the funniest, smuttiest people who I have ever known but he carried it off with such humour that you could forgive him anything. And that’s what I will miss so much, that old, old buddy who would make me laugh, who I knew and who knew me. Go well my friend Toby, go well, we will all miss you back here.