Monday, 1 August 2016

My friend Kris

My friend Kris asked me to write a blog post about him. Usually I don't take (or get) requests. 'Mate! Mate! Do you think you could do us a quick 700 words on the Chelsea Flower Show?'. The thing is though, I've got to somehow drag myself off the topic of politics and this request to write about Kristopher Robert Beattie has offered me an opportunity to do so.

You will have already noticed two things about Kris. One: he is the type of person (perhaps the first in history) to ask for someone to write a blog post about him for no discernible reason. Two: he spells his name with a K. That wasn't his choice but his parents'. I like it. It sort of says, "I'm normal but not that normal". It says - "Yes, I work in office supplies but on the weekend I smoke rollies and rock out with my buddies".

I haven't seen Kris in person for about five years. That's because he moved to Wellington, New Zealand with his Kiwi girlfriend and their half-Kiwi son. Since arriving there they have added to the collection, making a half Kiwi daughter meaning that they have, in total, one full Kiwi.

Kris and I became friends in roughly 1995 and, as I remember it, spent pretty much the entirety of the summers of 1996 and 1997 together. He was the first person (other than my brothers) with whom I remember laughing to the point at which I was in danger of vomiting. What we laughed at I do not really remember. There was one incident when Kris had a small squeezy toy frog. It was designed so that when you squeezed it, its tongue would curl out and flick. One night we squeezed it again and again. Sometimes the flick would be hysterically funny and sometimes it wouldn't. I have thought about that frog a lot. There is no way to describe what it was that made some flicks so funny and others not at all. There are hundreds of books written about how to be funny. There are hundreds of people who's job it is to critique comedy. I bet none of these dicksplats could explain what it was that made one of those frog's flicks funnier than another. 'For something to be funny it has to be true' - you obviously didn't spend four hours in Kris Beattie's living room on a Saturday night some time in 1997. Yeah, Saturday night. How old were we? About 16.  For some, their teenage years are about snorting ketamine - not us.

I guess I should try and describe Kris but he doesn't seem to have any photos of himself on Facebook for me to work off so I'm going to have to do it from memory. Kris's skin colour is ever so slightly yellow. He is racially white and, as far as I know, entirely English in heritage and yet he somehow looks foreign. But then, if you were to ask me to name which country he could be from I'd be totally at a loss. I suppose he looks half Greek, half orphan. He has a slim, somewhat elastic physique and is naturally comic in the way moves. He was a strong exponent of the curtains haircut so popular in mid nineties Essex. Despite his slim build, Kris eats a lot and I would take a guess that he is the only one of my friends to have salad cream in his house. Kris knows more than anyone I know about boxing, Olympic sprinters and lower league football. Kris taught me Blackbird on the guitar. Kris once half heartedly mentioned to one of his parents that he thought Bugs Bunny was kind of funny and for the next five Christmases he received Bugs Bunny presents and therefore had a teenage bedroom fully stocked with Bugs Bunny merchandise. Kris is the sort of person who probably knows what the capital of Ecuador is. Kris is probably the only person from Braintree funnier than his dad with honourable mentions going to our school friend Matt LeCount and former Prodigy haircut man Keith Flint. Kris is enormously likeable and yet he is also the sort of person who I could imagine asking me to write a blog about him and then telling me he thought it wasn't actually as good as he'd hoped. Unprompted, Kris once told another friend of mine that that friend was jut jawed. Kris once sang Happy Days to me in German, which I then stole and used in my stand up routine for five years. Kris has a very solid cue action but he sometimes lets himself down on position and is a little over reliant on stun shots. Kris is very good at accents. Most people would describe Kris as happy go lucky in nature but I believe that as he gets older, like me, he is finding himself prone to moments of angst. If I remember correctly, Kris was once the only non Asian person working in an Asian restaurant. Kris is more curious about other people than anyone I have ever met and I reckon is the only person from our year at school who could still name everyone from our year at school. Kris and I's friendship is probably the closest platonic one I've ever had. Kris was once a postman for a while. In 1998, Kris and I murdered a stranger together, buried the body and have never spoken about it since.

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