James was a classmate of mine in my very early teens, and was one of three people that essentially gave me the guitar. Mum and another school friend of around the same time called Damien were the other two.
Mum taught me some very basic notes when I was very young, and her own interest in the instrument meant there was never one out of reach whilst I was growing up.
One day some years later, James brought his guitar into class and let me have a go. He explained what a capo did (for the uninitiated, it's a mechanical bar that locks across the fret-board and so changes the key of the instrument, a kind of cheat-mode), and showed be a very simple, exceptionally versatile chord shape. That re-ignited the interest Mum had originally kindled.
He even gave me one of his old capos. I'm pretty sure I still have it in a box somewhere. And I really don't have an awful lot else from back then.
Then a little while later, Damien explained to me, quite possibly by accident, why a guitar was so cool. The tips of the fingers of my left hand have been irredeemably callused ever since about then, and a guitar has never been very far from reach. In fact, two hang on my office wall at work.
Not that I've ever got particularly good at playing them. But they speak for me, as no other instrument really does, except my voice.
All that is a complete aside. I just really wanted to share this recent video clip of James playing at a recent gig in Bristol. His gigs are very different to mine. I really hope to catch one of his one day.