‘For Nic’

“Cancer takes so much, it’s ruthless, however there are some things it can’t touch. It can’t take how you feel about someone; it can’t steal what has already been written…”

Seems that copies of Mutiny! are arriving and people are getting stuck in, which is brilliant. Can’t wait to hear how people have found it…though, like all great thrillers, there’s some great build up and scene-setting before the twists and punches are delivered at the end 😉

Careful readers may have bothered to read the front matter too… and it’s to the dedication to ‘Nic’ that I wanted to say a little something, only because Nic has actually come out and written something yesterday too.

Nic is not only one of the closest friends I’ll ever have, but truly one of the finest co-pilots I could have ever hoped to meet. For those who know about Vaux – the ‘alternative worship’ vehicle that was pretty much the tank that bust me out of established church and onto the path I’m – it was Nic whose energy, dissatisfaction and, most of all, aesthetic who drove that. The 10 years or so we spent doing Vaux were truly incredible… a journey of exploratory praxis, of demolition and construction, of visual experimentation.

Horribly, just before Christmas Nic was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Gall bladder with secondaries in the liver. He’s going to die, probably in the next few months. He’s early 40’s, and has a young family.

Nic is one of the most talented graphic designers around, and, having worked in all the top agencies in London, had recently moved into teaching it at university. He’s had to give that up, but his passion for discovery and exploration has continued. Very wisely he pulled out of all social media and online activity – just focusing on what was ‘really real’ – but he has, just yesterday, posted something on his blog about his condition, and the journey he’s been on. You really must read it, and share it as widely as you can.

Here’s the post. Follow him on Twitter too.

Some time ago another acquaintance Jake Bouma asked me if I’d contribute to his blog on ‘cancer and theology’ as he went through treatment for a lymphoma. I resisted for some time; it just felt too close. But Nic said to go on and do it, so I did write something, which you can read here.

There are a billion things I could say about all this, and all that Nic means to me, and always will. There’s a lot that will need to be processed, and that needs to be given time, but for now I just wanted to note that he’s the one who took me ‘on the account,’ and helped me to turn pirate. It was his courage and faith, his humour and confidence that led Vaux into the TAZ that it was.

A merry life, but a short one shall be my motto‘ is the way Captain Barty Roberts described the pirate’s life, and attitude to that life. I can’t say how painful it is to have to accept that Nic’s life will be a short one. But, reflecting on that, he says this:

One of my primary decisions was not to get angry or resentful. It’s a difficult feat, especially when fatigued and in pain. But I have spent most of my adult life ill-expressing such emotions. Too much time in ‘grand hotel abyss’ has fed a quiet destructive fire. If cancer is a battle (and I’m not convinced that it is) then misplaced anger may be one of its greatest victories. For me, to rile and rage would be immediate failure — to lose.

And so, to his being set against anger and resentment, and towards love and, if you will, ‘being merry’ in the face of a fucked up and random disease, I want to raise a glass and honour him for the true friend, extraordinary visionary and brilliant man that he is.

Everything in Mutiny! is for him.

Numquam Oblitus.


One response to “‘For Nic’”

  1. rodney neill

    Your friend Nic’s post is so compelling, thought-provoking and challenging….to be honest I have felt a real wake up call in regards my attitudes to live and death!