First time I saw him do this, we musta been 6 or 7 years old. I’d pop over to his after school, we’d play some video games, maybe kick a ball around, that sorta jazz. Then I’d head home for dinner. I only lived a couple streets down from him so it was not like it was much of a journey – Derek’s Odyssey woulda been a seriously short story, let’s put it that way.
We were beatin’ the crap outta eachother on Street Fighter II anyway, nothing special. We weren’t exactly bein’ church-mice – kids that age are noisy, what do you expect? – but even so, when all this shoutin’ an’ roarin’ suddenly kicks off in the next room, we just freeze. We realise pretty much immediately that his parents are basically actin’ out a real-life version of what we were just doin’. What do ya do in those moments? What do ya say?
That’s when Ewan jus’ calmly puts down his controller, closes his eyes, and starts singin’ to himself. Later, many years later, I found out the name of the song – it was You Woke Up My Neighbourhood by some cat called Billy Bragg. When I finally heard the original record as an adult, I could only listen for a few seconds before turning it off – it didn’t do justice to Ewan.
All Ewan sang was the chorus, over and over. Even as a lil kid, I found it actually beautiful, I mean just stunning. I’d never heard him sing, and this fella was a natural. Ya never forget a moment like that. Time just stops, the racket next door fades away, and…you’re at peace, or somethin’.
One of the last times I saw Ewan, that was. His mom left his pop not long after, an’ took the kid with her. Sensible broad. The pop came over to our house several times, interrogatin’ us, demandin’ to know where they’d gone. We didn’t know shit, and if we did we wouldna told him.
Hope things worked out for Ewan an’ his old lady. Hope he’s still singin’, only for happier reasons.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…ストリートファイタ