Sadly I have to report the loss this week of a dear friend - Dave Dilloway.
The more devoted fans of our ancient pre-Queen history will know Dave's name well.
He was the bass player in the first group I played publicly with ... we called ourselves 1984.
Dave was also a bit of an unorthodox experimenter in the electronics of guitar amplifiers and the mechanics of guitars.
He was also the chap I mostly sat next to at school when we were both about 15-18 years old.
We made our first amateur recordings of Shadows songs and the like together - just the two of us ...using two tape recorders ... his Dad's and my Dad's ... playing back from one, and recording on the other, and adding instruments on the way.
Shockingly bad sound, because we were using a dirt cheap Acos microphone !
But we managed to make it work.
Dave was a true friend to me as the years rolled on.
It cannot have been easy for him to watch me fulfil a lot of the dreams we had as kids,
and find me inaccessible for much of each year because of touring and the like.
But he always treated me normally - like we were just the same pals we'd been as kids... and seemed to instinctively understand the problems that my apparently glamorous life brought with it.
This takes effort, and the good will of a real friend.
I saw him for the last time a couple of weeks ago, and we had some laughs, even though he was quite weak.
He made sure I got the early tapes we worked on ... he must have known his remaining time was short.
I will be going to his funeral, and hope to give some support to his wife and family, who have been incredibly brave about the whole thing.
Very sad to lose Dave - let's hope he is smiling up there with a Fender Precision around his neck !
Picture: Our group '1984' - pictured by a local news photographer around 1965 ... we had just won a local 'beat contest' ! My prize was a Barbara Streisand LP ! Dave Dilloway is second from left, holding his Hofner Bass. I am at the extreme right with home-straightened, Beatle-style hair ! But the guitar is the same. The group played semi-professionally - our first public gig ever was at Molesey Boat Club at Putney. I think we commanded a fee of 15 pounds that night.