The Still Centre of Luminous Nights

Over the last few years a group of five of us enjoyed wonderful nights out, four or so times a year, sharing stories and confidences, laughter and occasional tears, like brothers.

We were all very different and found strength, like an alloy, in the coming together. Jay was the ever-patient organisational force and heart of our little group, nudging, arranging and re-arranging to make sure we met again before too much time passed.

These were boisterous and quiet nights all at once, talking through every manner of things under the heavens, from world politics to work, via relationships and housing, and the pressing moral and ethical questions of the day, often through the prism of Jay’s beloved Newsnight. His gentle, compassionate presence anchored us, he was the first to laugh – the evenings with Jay were always full of laughter – the first to ask the concerned question, the quickest to follow up with an email. Always the sharpest dressed, the most meticulously turned out. The gentle-man, both grounded and sensitive.

I used to walk home thinking of Jay as a friend with the gift of rare and uplifting constancy.

He was the still centre of those luminous nights.

Dominic Crossley-Holland