Chris’ Funeral

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It’s Wednesday night and I’m spending the night at home, even though I have an invitation to see Jenny Morris live in concert. I interviewed her, today, about her “comeback”, wondering if she felt like she had one or two careers, i.e. did she see this re-emergence after having children as part of a continuous career or did she look back on her pop star period of the 80s and 90s as almost being another lifetime. No, she said, she saw it as one continuous career, and mentioned that while growing up in NZ, she was influenced by the folk scene, and that she still feels those early influences are with her now in her approach to song-writing, which she says is always on guitar. I was amazed at how strong her NZ accent is, even though she has lived in Australia for over 20 years. So, I was quite looking forward to going, but I’m a bit tired, as it’s been a hectic few days.

On Sunday, I went to the Wine Australia 2002 at Fox Studios. Although the event is held every couple of years, this was the first time I have attended one. As expected, there were quite a few pissheads in attendance – I loved hearing two young blokes slurring “oh, there’s Margaret River” – but I was, myself, quite restrained. In fact, I didn’t drink or taste very much at all. I did however, sit in on quite a few demonstrations. Oh yes, I did do some work.

On Monday, sadly, I had to drive to Wagga Wagga for the funeral of Chris Jones. I first met Chris a couple of weeks after the first Gay & Lesbian Social & Support Group meeting was held at his farm, near Wagga Wagga in 1992. I remember preparations for that event vividly: mowing the grass, cleaning up the place, the attendance of about 60 people. And over the next few years living in Wagga got to know Chris reasonably well. We were never really close, but he was a man I respected immensley, for his honesty and integrity. He was also good fun and always had a smile.

He died last week in his sleep, with a heart-related condition. It was the first time I’ve been to a funeral since mum and dads. I explained to Colin, “I don’t normally do funerals, but this one’s different”. The tributes paid to Chris were wonderful. After the funeral, we went to Silver Springs, the property near Wagga Wagga, where Chris lived. He was planning to build a house right on the top of the hill with spectacular 360 degee views. It was a great spot to sit, relax, and reflect. That night, we – Glen and I – joined a number of people who attended the funeral for dinner at Romano’s Hotel.

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