Ollie and Dad
Ricky and Joey
The object is an England football shirt and it’s from a very close friend of mine, Joey Clayton.
My friend Joey, before I left to University, very kindly gave me a gift. I think since being an adult it’s the only gift I have ever had from a man.
I was really touched actually, that he’d thought of it. I’d left the army to go to university and in that interim period of leaving the army and going to University I spent a lot of time with Joey. And he was actually... is... was... the little brother of my best friend Aidy.
Also, since he’s passed away it’s an attachment I’ve got to him, that I perhaps...well, there won’t be another one coming... which is a shame.
When Joey passed away...he had a house...well a flat with his brother, Aidy. And as soon as I found out I went down to comfort Aidy and just had a chat to him about how he was feeling; he was actually really good in the whole process. He really helped his mum through it, who struggled like crazy, as you can imagine. So I went down in turn to support Aidy and make sure he was ok. Because I didn’t feel he was getting the chance to grieve, because he was kind of holding the family together as it were.
So when I went down, Aidy was going to just toss all Joey’s stuff. So he invited all his friends round to see if there was anything they wanted to take...and there was other things we took to remember him by, or clothes he was never going to get the chance to wear again.
I have a really nice pair of shoes that he had and oddly enough, whenever I’m wearing them, rather than thinking: ‘they’re Joey’s shoes’, I tend to think: ‘these are a dead man’s shoes’. Which in a way is morbidly comical.
A difficult memory I have of this person is his funeral. I did a reading at his funeral. Something that was really hard was... that he’s got kids...he’s got...he’d actually split up with his wife, but just knowing they were left behind. Being at that funeral was a really sad day. It was just a real shame that...I think it’s always more upsetting when it is somebody young.
Joey loved football himself, hence the connection, I guess. But we used to play football together as well, so yeah, it reminds me of him in that way as well.
Do you know, I think when someone passes away, unfortunately, as bad as it is, their memory fades. Do you know what, the first thing that came to mind...now this is a bit crude...Joey, for a small man, had the most ginormous manhood I’ve ever seen in my life...of gigantic proportions. And oddly enough that’s the first thing that sprang to mind. So yes...Joey, the legacy lives on.
Family was always a big thing to Joey. A really big thing. He had tattoos of his children’s names on his arms, which was a bit Beckham-esque, but it was just that way...very family orientated and he loved his children to bits. So, I think, 4 words...let’s just have a think...4 words...or 4 things. That family orientated thing. He was just great fun to be around really. Everyone that knew Joey, loved Joey.
A geek is how I would describe Joey on top of that, but not in an unfriendly way, but in the exact same way that I am...in that he loved to read, he loved films, you know, he loved to use film quotes and talk about films...in a geeky way.
A big geek, family orientated but huge fun to be around...I think 3 is enough.
A happy memory I have of this person...well that would be it really: 30 days of beer and fun and joy in Milton Keynes. And that’s probably how I’ll remember Joey...is singing badly at karaoke in Rat & Parrot on a Tuesday night...whilst trying not to fall off the stage.