EARLY IN JANUARY 1999, I received a call from Brendan Pickavance from the Sunday Mirror. He wanted to know if I had a contact number for Lee Mavers. I said I hadn't and that I wasn't aware of Lee choosing to do interviews, so he said he might just call round to his house. Well, ‘Good luck’, I said, rather sarcastically.
Next day, I received another call from Brendan saying he'd been round to Lee Mavers’ house and spent two hours with him and it had been great. Brendan went on to say that Lee had said he loved me like a brother. He also left me Lee's current phone number. I was touched.
A couple of days later, after much contemplation, I thought it might be an idea to call Lee up and see how he'd been getting on. I hadn't seen him since he called with his partner, Nevada Christian, and Ellis, their son, when Amber was a toddler. In fact, he'd called on me more than a few times since the La's days, so maybe I shouldn't be so stuck in the mud.
When I phoned, he was surprised to hear my voice but said that the timing had been impeccable. He was just on his way out the door to where he did not know. He wanted to come over straight away, so that's what he did. When he walked into the flat (now my studio space in Aigburth) he stood in the doorway, took a deep breath, his shoulders slumped and, seemingly exhausted, said one word: ‘Home!’
We were both very happy to see each other and hugged. The air was filled with a deep emotion. He was looking good too, very healthy. I think this had been another factor in me getting in touch. I knew he'd struggled with drug addiction for years but I'd heard on the grapevine that he'd been clean for some time. He seemed calm and made no secret of his admiration and affection for me, which I reciprocated.
We had a couple of joints and a cup of tea, then took a walk to the river. The sky was very blue and the water was as still as could be with the sun shining lazily across it.