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FOREVER BRIAN - A Tribute To A Unique Father In Law!

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BECAUSE of Brian Joseph Whittle, listening to and watching ‘The War of The Worlds’ will always be a bittersweet experience for me, the reason for which will become apparent.

I first met Brian in 1987, I’ll never forget that day – it was when I and his daughter announced that we’d like to get married. You can imagine that conversation.

“Hello, pleased to meet you. By the way, we’d like to get married.”

Despite this, we got on very well.

Brian wasn’t a big music fan. OK, he liked to have the radio on in the background, but that was about it.

However, there were two pieces of ‘pop’ music that he really liked, and one of those was ‘Jeff Wayne’s The War Of the Worlds’, and especially the track ‘Forever Autumn’.

Time went on, and at one point we bought him the CD of the album, to save wear and tear on his vinyl copy (interestingly, he always preferred the vinyl version).

In 2005, the live production of ‘The War Of The Worlds’ was announced and it looked too good a prospect to miss seeing.

By this time, Brian had recently had an operation and was undergoing treatment for cancer.

My wife, Janet and I called to see him on our way to buy our tickets for the Manchester show and when we told him what we were doing, he said, “Get a couple of tickets for me and your mum, I’d love to see that and it’ll give me something to look forward to.”

We did so, and Brian began to look forward to the show.

Sadly, Brian didn’t get to see ‘The War Of The Worlds’, as he passed away just a couple of months later.

As a tribute, we played ‘Forever Autumn’ at his funeral.

The production came to Manchester on April 23rd 2006, and we all went – including his widow May.

It was an emotional evening and many tears were shed – especially during Justin Hayward’s rendition of that particular song.

Five years have now gone by, my wife cannot listen to ‘Forever Autumn’ without crying, and I too always think of Brian when I hear it.

The live version of ‘The War Of The Worlds’ has gone from strength to strength, and I, as a part-time writer, have written quite a few column inches about it and have spoken to a few of the people involved such as Jeff Wayne himself and Justin.

This year, the show comes to Manchester again, and it will be an emotional evening for me again as it the show is on December 5th – five years to the day since Brian’s passing.

Somehow, I think he’ll be there.

Martin Hutchinson.

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