Joel Lane (1963-2013)

IMG_1681 joel lane 2008b

I read Joel Lane’s short story “Ragged Claws” (in Astrologica) on Monday. In it, the protagonist is being consumed by an illness, a cancer-like disease, until he dies. Then the following day, yesterday, I received two emails telling me the God-awful news: my friend of 30 years had died – he was found in his bed, apparently dying in his sleep. That story suddenly became prophetic (I must stress that at the moment the cause of his death is unknown).

I first encountered Joel through his fiction – I think it was probably in the pages of Dark Horizons, edited by David Sutton. I then met him in person – it was Dave who introduced us. I have to admit that at that meeting I failed to recognise his name and when I asked if he had written anything Dave put me to rights. Joel was amused by ignorance, but never held it against me. We became good friends, part of the Brum Balti Boys (Joel, David, Mike Chinn, John Howard, Stan Nicholls and I and later James Brogden), meeting semi-regularly for a few drinks and then a meal in one of the numerous Balti houses in Sparkhill (after buying our beverages in the Off Licence, of course). In fact we were in the process of trying to arrange a meal before this Christmas…

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