In early January this year, I received the news that on this day in December last year my old School friend Justin Fagence had sadly passed away at the young age of 44.
I first met Justin when he moved to my comprehensive school which must have been around 1984/85. He was in many of my lessons and soon we became very good friends and started hanging out together outside of school in the evenings and weekends. We had similar tastes in music and the same sense of humor. I have never had such great conversations or laughed with anyone as much as I did back then. This was the days before the internet and you either met up or talked on the phone. My Mum would always comment that we were always on the phone laughing (or giggling like a couple of girls I think were her exact words).
We grew up together and went to night clubs, started dating girls and driving cars all those good things that form such solid memories for later in life. Justin was my best friend and a massive support at the time my girlfriend died in a car crash in 1990.
I remember his first car, a green Volkswagen Beetle. It amazed me every time it would start. The stench of Petrol would be in the air and you could smell it on your clothes for days after. Justin was a smoker back then and to this day I don’t know how that little Beetle didn’t explode. It didn’t though and we took the car to all sorts of places blaring out 80’s music as we bombed around at a top speed of 40mph (it felt faster)
We talked about starting our own band a lot and had some great ideas for songs. We were going to be called OBS Cura from Camera Obscura which was some art he was fond of at the time I think. He bought quite an impressive set of keyboards and I got hold of a second hand electric guitar. This below was to be our Album cover, it was still the early 90’s and the eighties were still a big influence. I am firing a camera flash into my Mums decanter in the photo.
Over the years that followed we occasionally worked for the same company once or twice. Which makes the day a lot more interesting and going to work a lot more fun. We also took a strong interest in the Paranormal together. The X Files was on TV at the time and the internet had arrived, it was magical times where suddenly there was all this information available about ghosts, aliens and UFOs. Not all of it was good information but Justin was very good at sorting the wheat from the chaff.
We watched a program called Sightings one evening which was all about, supposedly, the most haunted castle in Britain, Berry Pomeroy (Devon). This program with its stories of ghost sightings got us both so enthused we soon took off on a ghost tour of the South West. (Not in the Beetle I hasten to add). We stayed in a hotel in Penzance not far from St Michaels Mount. I remember it well as that was the first time we were presented with a hash brown. We both eyed it suspiciously thinking it was some kind of battered fish fillet (we were next to the sea). After eating it we still weren’t sure what it was at the time but it was agreeable. Now I cant imagine a fry up without one or even two. We visited a number of sites that Justin had researched and finished up dropping in Berry Pomeroy on the way back.
A couple of pictures taken at Berry Pomeroy.
At the start of the new Millenium we parted ways and lost touch for a few years until 2005 when he joined the forum here on this site under the name of “verydisconoir“. He had read about my report on Berry Pomeroy and wanted to add his take on events. We soon got chatting again in the forum and also later on Facebook where he seemed to reluctantly get involved with social media. He still had his sense of humor and could be relied upon to make some funny posts.
I did invite him to come on a ghost hunt with me and also a couple of school reunions but it didn’t happen. I was always pretty confident that eventually we would meet up again one day, have a pint and put the world to rights. To have one of those conversations where it takes you back to being 14 again sitting on the stairs aching with laughter.
I didn’t want to let today go by without writing something and just putting down some of these memories on a blog, I haven’t touched so far this year, has bought a lot of good memories back.
My thoughts are with his family today.