Read by Jim Norris on 16/01/15
We first met Matthew back in the days when he played in a band called ‘Let’s not lose Mars to the Commies.’ My first memory of him is on stage, wearing his baggy shorts and bright t shirt, singing and strumming effortlessly, like he had been performing this way since the day he was born. It was quite clear to me that this guy seemed to know exactly what he was doing. In fact, it was perfectly clear to everyone just what a talented guy he was, even if he was only a teenager.
It’s a huge privilege to say we have been part of Matt’s journey and to have shared what we did over the last ten years or so. Our friendships were forged through music, and as we’ve grown up together, the bond between us has only got stronger.
It’s difficult to find the words to say to try and sum up just what Matt really means to us. We have spent so much time together over the last decade; as bandmates, as friends and as brothers. Our love for music and our commitment not just to the band but to each other has in turn, shaped each of our identities- it has made us who we are. It is safe to say that we would each be completely different people if we didn’t have the band, each other, and if we didn’t have Matt. Each of us has said that we would not be as happy and I am confident that if you asked Matt the same question, he would say the same. On tour for weeks on end, where there is literally nowhere to hide, we got to see the real Matt. He always seemed to be happiest on stage, joking around in the dressing room or playing a practical joke in the van. We really were lucky enough to see the man’s true colours, each one as vivid and radiant as his smile.
There are so many stories to tell of such a charismatic, loving, quick whitted and generous man, and in time they will be told, and told again, and we will laugh, and laugh harder. Travelling as a musician in a band generates stories in itself, but Matt was generous enough, without fail, to always bring stories with him, wherever he went, no matter who he was with. Stories from his past, stories from his home, stories about his friends, stories about his brother and his parents. He loved to make people laugh, and he loved to include people, another mark of such a generous man with a kind and warm heart.
It’s the mark of a man that so many people are here today. Matt has involved a lot of people in his life. I take great comfort in believing that what Matt shared with each and every one of us was real, because he didn’t know how to do it any other way.
If ever a sacred bond existed between friends, then I think we found it. A piece of Matt will forever be within us, his heart will beat on in each one of ours. In recent days it is a testament to the people he loved, who have sought comfort through reaching out to help others whilst suffering themselves. As we strive to find strength to accept the things beyond our control, and as we turn the page in our own lives in moving forward from this, we most certainly do not close the book. Matthew James Cogley will always be loved, he will be missed, and we will always have one for the road. x