Kevin “memory” Lane.
“Hero’s get remembered, legends never die”–Evil Kenevil
Ouch, sometimes people are snatched away truly before their time, and Kev was snatched away from us, all who knew him, and from those who did not have the pleasure of meeting him, or reading him, too soon. Way too fucking soon!
Thankfully, he passed in his sleep, and i suspect he was fully up for it, fully ready to ride that pale horse into eternity with a wide grin. “come fucking on reaper, what you got, ay?” And so it goes. A hero beyond measure, both personally and to all of my friends from my home town, Stourbridge, and surrounding areas, Lye, Brierley Hill, Hagley, and the greater Black Country.
I often referred to Kev as the true voice of the Black Country, a unique individual with a rare and raw talent for writing, coupled with his full-on, up front and principled social presence. A true legend who will be terribly missed by those who new him, and by those who did not. Kevin held the kind of fierce intellect and wit and worldly experience our society and its so called leaders lack.
On more than one occasion i had encouraged him to publish his writings, and not just limit his writing ability and insights to facebook. I am sure that some of you reading this know exactly what i mean, Kevin Lane consistently schooled us with his status updates, honest, raw, funny, smart. Kev was a psychedelic wizard and at the same time a top boy, a lad, one of the boys. He somehow combined a number of personalities together, and broke down stereotypes, followed his own path and was his own man. He had his own dance, his own philosophy of life, his own music tastes, his own humour, his unique way of putting it. Kev seemed to me to be a truly free man, always up for trying something new, consistantly making you think, and always, without fail making you, and anybody in earshot, laugh out loud.
Everybody must find their own way to grieve, and for me personally i must write, and write, because one fact i have learn’t, and continue learning from his tragic early exit from the stage, is that eight or ten words on facebook don’t do him justice, for me, Kev deserves a book, a statue and street named in his honor. Although i fully understand that many people now use the dating website to express a wise variety of emotions and thoughts, personal and otherwise, for me, it’s not the place to begin to pay tribute to such a wide-reaching honey-monster of a legend like Kevin Lane. This motherfucker deserves a few thousand words just for starters. So, strap yourself in. Go make a cup of tea and roll a spliff. The present author is about to take you on a journey down Kevin Lane. A lord, and a real shit kicking black country bard. The very least i can do is spend a few days pulling together just a few memories.
So, about the dance…Kev was well known for his unique dance moves, he could be spotted a mile off, doing the Lanebot, or whatever name you wish to put on it, which involved a lot of shoulder movement, little footwork and a lot of smiling. It was a mechanical, almost robotic looking movement, and it was certainly unique to Kev, to the point where other people would try to immitate his moves, with little success but equal enjoyment. Every music event, and every party in Stourbridge will sorely miss Kevin, he was literally the center of the dance, a mascot and life blood of any party. One time around 1999, at a local rave called “Lifted” i remeber Kevin going full tilt on the dance floor, and on the pole. At one point, in a most hilarious manner actually licking the pole, and dancing around it like a cross between a Native American indian worshipping his totem, and a Black Country porn star out on the piss.
Kev loved his music, and supported independent and local acts, most recently championing the Sleaford Mods before anybody else i knew, and always had his ear to the underground sound. A healthy mixture of punk, indie rock, soul, reggae, funk, classic breakbeats and spoken word, Kev would always be up for having a good time at any party, if there were music to groove on, he would be grooving away with all three shoulders. Kev loved good film and TV too, besdes his fantastic collection of pornography (to be donated to Dudley libraries) he sticks in my mind as the guy who turned me onto loads of cult films and future classics, again, before anybody else. Clerks, South Park, Adult Swim, The Black Mirror, Saxondale, were all introduced to me by Kev. Kevin was a taste maker, and had a sharp eye for cultural memes and movements. I would often visit him just to get the low down on what was happening, since i had been away from the UK for large chunks of time, and he always had another movie, fresh album or book to suggest, never disappinting with his selections.
The last time i spent any extended quality time with Kevin was only a few months back, when he picked me up in Bristol and drove down to Exeter to support a good old friend who was performing in a brilliant theater play. Yes, Kev even recognized the joy and benefits of theater, and was one of only three close friends who slogged it all the way to London, and bought a ticket in support of my performance with the Cosmic Trigger Play. On the way to Exeter and back we talked and talked, for over 5 hours.
We talked about Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Anton Wilson, conspiracy theory, Alex “bumblefuck” Jones, The Sleaford Mods, our trip to see Ken Kesey in London, George Orwell’s walk to Stourbridge from Brum, facebook fuckery, social media apocalypse, Margott James, putting a whole pair of pants in his mouth, Radiohead, Frank Foley, WWII, Powick Hospital, the Stourbridge acid test, travels through Europe, The Burningman festival, Amsterdam, Bristol, America, 9/11, 7/7 new underground psychedelic bands from the U.K, maybe having Kev help promote new bands at the club i work at in Bristol, Doug Stanhope, a memorable trippy trip to reading festival in a van that broke down, the million marijuana march and Howard Marks, medical marijuana case studies, Kev’s writing, my own writing and novels, Chris Morris, his home brewed beer called Stourt made right next to the river Stour at the Broken Arms, John Peel, 360 VR and the fuck you sound, DJ Aries, Pop Will Eat Itself, the decline of Stourbridge clubs and nightspots, the sly closing of Brierley Hill swimming baths and the film footage we made, the opportunity and need for new events and nights in Stourbridge, strong space cake around the Thompson’s house that took us out for 48 hours, the rise of the dodgy political far right, the virtues of Jeremy Corbyn. We shared a spliff and a few cheeky ones to keep us going, and Kev was always going, an adventurer who managed to keep angry man’s disease at bay, always looking on the bright and funny side of life, and death.
Kev was a unique friend to me, in the sense that he supported my own crazy adventures, often travelling hundreds of miles to support me, he would buy a ticket and get up off his arse and experience things for himself. Two memorable events he attended both took place in London, and are evidence for his rare willingness to try new things and show support for the arts. In 2014, Poet John Sinclair and i had a record release party, gig, at the 12 Bar in London. Kevin and another friend “eggy” made the trip, and were on top form representing home team. I recall an hilarious game of pool he had with Jake of the Alabama 3, and his meeting with the rest of The Fuck You Sound after the show. I felt proud to have support from a Black Country nutter in league with the other nutters around me. Together with CHU, Kev stood front of stage, smiling, laughing and shouting encouragement throughout my set, with the presence of ten men Kev really made that show complete. (See 360 photo)
On another occasion, together with my friend Scott, Kev bought a ticket and travelled all the way down to London to support a play i was performing in called “Cosmic Trigger” based upon the life of our mutual hero and inspiration “Robert Anton Wilson”. I remember seeing him laugh a little, and i met him outside the theater, introducing him to the genius poetess Selena Godden before he left back to Stourbridge.
I’ll cherish these memories of his support for me and my work, and i’ll miss him. But as CHU reminded me, “he’ll be eternally over your shoulder, mate” and he’ll be equally over the shoulders of all who knew him, a perpetual voice, dropping jokes and insight with perfect timing, serving up good advice together with a fuck load of well placed swearing. Until my own dying day, i will hold the memory of Kevin Lane in my heart and mind, and work toward becoming, with luck, even half as funny and half as honest as he was.
“Go and write a fucking decent song that says something about the state we’re in instead of buying into all this rock aristocracy bullshit. What the fuck’s all that about?”–Jason Williams (Sleaford Mods)
Dove Sta Memoria
Kevin Lane 1973-2016