Goodbye Martin

May 20, 2019

I lost a good friend this weekend. On Sunday morning I discovered that Martin Burns had passed away suddenly. He leaves behind Lucy and his children, and I can’t comprehend their loss or what they are going through just now.

Martin was always brimming with enthusiasm and encouragement for others. Whether it was drumming up participants for workshops, being trolled about my political views in one of his conference talks, or jamming while he played some (much under-rated) guitar, he always had time for other people and tirelessly made sure everyone else was happy and comfortable.

This morning, I shed a tear in the car when I heard Annie B Sweet’s cover of Take On Me (originally by A-ha). On top of her sickly sweet vocals, there is the lyric “It’s no better to be SAFe than sorry”.

This is just the sort of thing that would have me messaging Martin: an obscure song lyric, an interesting alternative of something well known, and a comment about SAFe because he’d have known I was trolling him and just using it as an excuse to chat…except those conversations won’t be happening any more.

We won’t be having any post-conference jam sessions, we won’t be co-writing any talks with musical interludes that we never quite got round to, or even taking him on a motorbike tour. These are all things I thought there would be plenty of time to do, but those opportunities have passed now…and I am upset that I didn’t take them sooner.

I’m not big on morality tales or schmaltzy endings tacked on to the end of TV shows or films, but I hope in the future I will not put things off so much and commit to participating in more activities.

Goodbye Martin – it was a privilege to know you, and you will always live on in our memories and bring smiles to us when we think of you.

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