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from James Bederaux-Cayne

I have wanted to write this for a couple of years….

I met Paul in high school – Vincent Massey Secondary School. Paul and I were fast friends. Sharing a variety of obsessions - music, percussion, talking, thinking, dreaming, etc… When I first met Paul and his family I recall thinking of my new friend as kind of exotic. I had a crush on his sister Bev. He exposed me to many colorful phrases – jammy, magic, brilliant or brill, mate, and many others. I adopted brilliant as my own and use to this day; it’s the only one I felt I could legitimately pull off. I had never met someone who loved soccer, and I never knew anyone that actually worshiped a team – Everton.

We played in a high school percussion ensemble call Oudabu. One of the guys in the group said it was “African” for unity. Not Swahili, Hausa, Igbo, or Ibibio, just “African” - we cracked up at that one. Paul exposed me to the music of Genesis, and not just the popular stuff, the really weird stuff too!

Paul and his family welcomed me into their lives. Their house was the house that offered sanctuary; both the house on St. Patrick’s and the one on upper Rankin. Hospitality, music, friendship, a cool fireplace, a drum set, and all the Everton memorabilia you ever wanted to look at. Perhaps more….. Graduating high school and leaving Windsor I knew Paul was one of the greats. He was solid, he was a good friend. He was one of the kids from school I would think of fondly years later. I never knew he was in Vancouver. I have lived in Seattle, WA for the last 15 years. I wished I had known he was in Vancouver…

Skip ahead to early August 2005, I had been thinking about music as is my wont (actually obsessing, let’s be honest). For a while I had been thinking about a new playlist for my IPod. The title: Ode to Paul Lawton. I was on the phone with my friend Peter who lives in Peterborough Ontario talking music. I finally had enough Genesis, Gabriel, Collins, etc… to make a worthy compilation. I told Peter about the new planned playlist. Once I said the name of the playlist to Peter, he said “Is this Paul from Massey in Windsor?” Peter’s wife also went to high school with Paul. She overheard our conversation and asked if I had heard what had happened. I had no idea - are you fucking kidding me? I was shocked. Paul Lawton was a good guy, I had been thinking about him, he exposed me to some of my favorite music; progressive rock.

I was in shock for a couple of months. The playlist got made; I cherish it. Every time I play it think of that brilliant goofball with a pair of checkerboard vans, an Everton scarf, pounding on a pair of skins, smiling laughing, with a heart as big as the world. I miss him, I wish I had stayed in touch with him; I would have liked to hang out with him in Seattle or Vancouver. Paul was one the great ones. Reading and following the site these last years have convinced me he lived his life consistently and lovingly. The world lost a gentleman when Paul died. Thank you for your friendship, I miss you. You hold a special place in my heart.

James Bederaux-Cayne
Seattle, Washington


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