I call James. I have warned him that I will and he knows it is going to be me.
‘Does anyone ever call you at home?’ I ask.
Not since his parents have learnt to use Skype. He just gets calls from charities wanting money on a Saturday.
James has a wonderfully warm and kind voice. I met him in 1996. I had just begun courting my favourite Australian who took me to see Frank Black in Concert with James. I was looking forward to meeting the friend he had known since he was a baby. James grew up at house 99 and Martin at house 100.
At the concert, James was very handsome in black and throughout the evening he and Martin had gentle, knowing, six foot four conversations at eye level. I gazed up at them thinking, ‘Well if they’ve known each other this long and still hold this amount of affection, they must be pretty special.’ They both had a spell in the mosh pit!
When they were small, Martin would wave at James over the road. They secretly lit matches together, went on holidays with their families together and tormented James’ little brother Phil by pretending to be Dr Mental. They also got caught smoking and reading age-inappropriate magazines together.
We talk about James’ partner Lewis who is my most flamboyant and talented friend and I can’t wait to call him! I forget to ask him how Jackson, their tiger-like cat is. Our conversation topics are Eurovision (United Kingdom doomed never to win again), drag artists, skiing, the English countryside, Graham Norton and my husband.
He said he likes my blog and I tell him that I went on Google to see whether anyone else had called all their Facebook friends on the phone. When no one came up, I started! We talk about my writing, his parents, our families, and his god daughter, my middle child.
James was an usher at our wedding. We got married when top hats and tails were costume de rigeur. When the hats arrived, Martin’s father tried his on and it was way too big and made everyone laugh when his head disappeared. He took it back. What hadn’t been realised was that his and James’ hats had been accidently swapped. But James carried it off!