Funeral, entry #1

Too tired and still a bit too sad to post a proper entry about Trev’s funeral yesterday.  Suffice to say, it was a moving rather than a sad day with plenty of laughter punctuated by the odd tear.  Definitely iwtwhw.

I will try and write a deserving entry tomorrow.

In the meantime, below is the speech I wrote and delivered.  It was written as one last service to Trev and I hope he would have liked it.

Hello everyone.  Hopefully you all know who I am.

I wanted to stand up here and just say a few words about the Trev I knew: why I loved him, why I respected him and why he made such a huge impression upon me.  I wanted to do this one final thing for my little brother – take care of him one last time as his big brother.  Having always looked out for him in life, even though he seldom seemed to need me to, it would seem very wrong not to do the same in death.

Excuse me if this gets a bit difficult.

Words cannot express how much it means to our family to see such a crowd here today for Trev.  That so many have gone so far out of their way to be here shows how much Trev achieved in his 37 years on this planet.

In my house we have a rhetorical question, we ask: “Is it bigger than Uncle Trev?”  Whenever the girls and I are describing something the ultimate comparison is always “Is it bigger than Uncle Trev?” because Uncle Trev is the tallest person we know.

I think today we finally see just how big and tall Uncle Trev really was: how large his influence was, how much his spirit affected people, and how far his unique friendship spread.

All of us are here today because we were touched by Trev, and to see such a mighty throng of people makes me magnificently proud to be his brother.  That pride may be a very double-edged sword today – making our loss all the keener even as it makes his memory so much dearer – but I for one wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Trev was born 20 months after me – something I never let him forget if he got uppity – and Rich, our youngest brother, was born almost four years after.  Perhaps that’s why Trev, forever in the middle, was so good at bringing so many different people together.

And he was good at it.  You only have to look around at the number of people here from all across the country and all across the years.

Why was Trev so good at making everyone he knew feel special and valued?

I think in part it’s because Trev was honest.  If you felt like a friend of Trev’s that was because you were a friend of Trev’s.  He was never two-faced, never disloyal, and although he’d never stint on telling people what he thought, what he thought was mostly that he liked people.

Sure, he could be a bit disparaging at times – particularly if you lacked even a basic knowledge of the major battles of the First World War – but one of Trev’s great qualities was his love of learning, a love that meant he’d never laugh at you for your ignorance.

Hmm, actually, that’s not true.  Trev would take the mick mercilessly.  But his enjoyment of human contact and love of people were such that he’d then happily cure your ignorance for you – especially if he’d had a drink or two.  Then he’d explain it to you at length and in vigorous detail until you’d memorised it and sworn an oath that Trev’s point of view was the one true point of view, so help you god.

But I loved that about Trev: his combination of intelligence and passion, qualities that rarely go together.  A love of both life and learning purely for their own sakes.

Despite being one of the smartest and most talented people I have ever met Trev wasn’t a show off – nobody felt inadequate in his company.  On the contrary Trev could somehow make everyone feel privileged to know him, to be around him.  He had a natural respect for honestly held and coherently argued opinions – those that didn’t involve hatred or discrimination, at any rate.  Those two words were simply not in Trev’s vocabulary.

Moving from his often sublime intelligence to his sometimes ridiculous passion, Trev could convince almost anyone that the music of Chas & Dave was a valid form of artistic expression.  We can – ahem – rabbit rabbit rabbit about that in the pub later.

We all know that Trev enjoyed life to the full, squeezing more into his 37 years than many manage in a whole lifetime.  And a full glass was one of the things that only made life fuller.  One of those rare people that, when he was drunk even sober people still liked him; he wasn’t nasty, wasn’t boring, wasn’t aggressive: rather, he was sort of Trev-squared – a rip-roaring drunk always ready to laugh at himself at least as much as he laughed at others.

Most of you probably have your favourite Drunk Trev quote; my own was always his insightful division of the fairer sex into two categories that while very distinct did in fact share a particular common trait.  Trev always enjoyed satirising out-dated stereotypical gender behaviours – or “taking the piss” as he would have put it.

How did we know he was taking the piss about the fairer sex?  Because I’ve literally never seen two people so much in love as Trev and Conny.  And not just “in love” but beautifully, quietly, subtly in love.  Theirs was not the kind of love that shouted about itself until everyone was sick – and in fact if you knew them only for a very short time you might even miss it.  But seeing them together over time, seeing them both happy and secure and…whole, only an idiot could fail to recognise how utterly devoted they were to each other and how well they understood each other.

Conny, you made Trev so happy that you couldn’t help but make the rest of us happy, too, and this family will always be your family, there to help, support and love you in any way we possibly can.

I said this might get a bit difficult, didn’t I?  Don’t worry, this part’s a bit easier.

It’s safe to say that nobody ever made me laugh so much as Trev.  Whether it was recording our own cutting edge audio comedy programmes aged 7 and 8 – and in my opinion BBC Nutty never got the recognition it deserved – and I know Mark Williams will agree with me on that – or, much later on, in Trev’s Gay Bar, which always open even if the pub wasn’t.

For those of you unfamiliar with the song Gay Bar by Electric Six it’s definitely a song you need to go and find.  You’ll hear it in the pub later, I’m sure.  Gay Bar is an incredibly silly song, but Trev was inspired by it one memorable night to name his and Conny’s fine collection of terrible liqueurs and undrinkable spirits “Trev’s Gay Bar”.

One of the finest establishments I ever had the pleasure to drink in, Trev’s Gay Bar caused some of the worst hangovers in the history of mankind.

Not content with regularly giving innocent visitors brown booze poisoning (“brown booze” was Trev’s favourite tipple) his cooking almost made me late for my own wedding.  On that day, in a typically generous gesture, he decided to give me a proper send-off by rustling up a full English breakfast.

Quite why it took him so long to make or exactly how he got cooking fat so far up the walls or even how he managed to render a Full English quite so unappetising will, I suppose, now forever remain a mystery.

But I ate that dreadful breakfast because, as you might expect, I loved Trev.  Of course I did – he was my brother.  What might be surprising is that he was also – along with Rich – one of my very best friends.  However, our friendship was something so obvious to the three of us that it took a long time to realise how unusual this was.

One night at the pub, looking around at all the usual suspects, I was surprised to realise that Trev, myself and Rich were the only people in that little crowd who were related.  Everyone there was the best of friends but only the three of us were actually related.  We were The Carter Brothers, and if you were friends with one of us then, as a rule, you were friends with all three of us, since we each trusted the other’s judgment and perhaps more importantly knew that we’d never shame or embarrass each other (except, obviously, for Trev’s theory about the categorisation of women).

And now the Carter Brothers are reduced to just two.

I still can’t quite believe that Trev won’t be there beside us as we get older, that we’ll never again get to swap anecdotes about growing up together, playing together, laughing together and partying together.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve imagined myself and Rich as old men still looking at the photos of Trev we have now, the very same ones because there won’t be any more photos of Trev.

But you know what?  I think Trev would see the funny side of that.  After all, he gets to stay young, beautiful and legendary while the rest of us get old, ugly and embarrassing.

I would give anything if he could still be here with us.  Anything.  But my one consolation today is the certain knowledge that even had I known my time with Trev was going to be so short I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

He was my brother and I loved him.  Very much indeed.

Goodbye, Trev, and thank you.  It was a privilege to serve as your big brother.


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