R.I.P. Andrew Hyde

These days we live in both real and virtual communities, connected by text, email, Facebook.  People come in to and out of our lives via work and other sporting and social networks.  Sometimes it can be hard to define what constitutes a real friend.  Last week I lost a friend.

I first met Andrew over in New Orleans in 2007 on a trip to JazzFest organised through 3RRR.  A group of us were thrown together with a common love of music. We hung out at dinners and attended gigs together or did our own thing.  I recall catching the fabulous Gillian Welsh and David Rawlings at the Fais do-do Stage with Andrew and later in the week hanging out to see one of my all-time favourite bands, the Allman Brothers. There were many other great acts, and of course there were the various bars around the French Quarter.  Great memories of New Orleans in recovery, about 20 months after Katrina.

Back home we caught up occasionally at gatherings over the next few years.  It was at one of these gatherings that Andrew suggested that I come up to Byron Bay BluesFest 2010 with him, his partner Maddy and some other mates.  I was in. As it turned out, it was just the three of us each year for the last three years.

Our modus operandi was the same each year.  Fly to the Gold Coast or Ballina, pick up a hire car, stay in an apartment in Ballina and drive up to Byron each day, all organised by Andrew.  Like JazzFest we hung out at some gigs or did our own thing.  Of course we shared the accommodation, some meals and driving duties.  Being the odd one out in the triplet, I never felt uncomfortable in Andrew and Maddy’s company, always made to feel welcome.  And there were always other mates from the New Orleans trips around the traps.

In both 2011 and 2012 we were blown away by the shear energy and brilliance of Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.  Back in 2010 we were all impressed with country artist, Lyle Lovett, an unexpected gem. And in 2011 on the last night, when you have just about heard enough music, Elvis Costello jumped in to the votes with a flawless set of his extensive pop catalogue. Sensational. And Andrew new every song and lyric!

This year Andrew reckoned that the Pogues had put on the best show he had ever seen at his 10 years of coming to BluesFest.  I had wandered off after a few songs to see John Fogarty instead.

So I discovered more of Andrew’s extensive knowledge of music, his love of and frustration with the Richmond Tigers and his passion for teaching.  I was aware that he had suffered some depression in the past, with time off teaching duties at his school in Geelong with a return on reduced hours, though in recent times he had recommenced full time teaching.

Andrew was no shrinking violet … sometimes brash, opinionated, however always knowledgeable and passionate about all things music, sport, politics.  A little over six foot and robust, he had played country football for many years wherever he was teaching.  He still played cricket at a reasonable level.  I play Vets cricket.  He loved his vegie patch and cooking.

We caught up once or twice at the footy or cricket, however it was common to not see each other for many months.  Though it was easy to pick up where we had left off, when a great gig came along.  We saw the charismatic, strange Simone Felice in mid 2011 during his first trip to Australia.  What a performance!  What a performer!

At this year’s BluesFest we both started talking about heading back over to New Orleans in 2013, joining in with the 3RRR crew and perhaps doing some of our own trips before or after, maybe driving from the East Coast.  However around the middle of the year Andrew’s circumstances changed and all talk of New Orleans was off for him.

We exchanged some emails, texts, Facebook postings over recent months and talked about catching up for a drink.  I hoped he might come along to my Christmas drinks last week or I’d see him at the 3RRR end of year lunch.  Or I might see him at the Boxing Day Test, which he always went to.

I had not actually seen Andrew since we caught up for a beer at the Rooftop Bar at the Corner Hotel prior to his Tigers towelling up my Swans earlier in the footy season. He did text me after the Swans Grand Final win and warned that we would have to watch out for the Tigers next year.

Alas I had no idea what Andrew was going through and last week he left us.

I’m devastated for those who were closer to him then I was and am sad that I won’t get to hang out with Andrew at one of the many great gigs early next year … Springsteen, Neil Young or Elvis Costello.

Mate, I won’t forget your unbridled enthusiasm for great music or the way you talked, moved, smiled. Your face is with me.  Various gigs we saw together at Byron pop into my mind, and I am sure as the weeks, months and years go on I’ll still be recalling others, hopefully with joy not sadness.

Thanks for your friendship Hydey.  I’ll have a beer for you at the cricket this week and toast you in New Orleans at JazzFest 2013.  And I just might have a soft spot for the Tigers next year.

Rest in peace, Andrew Hyde.

Love to Maddy.

About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.

Comments

  1. Well said Keiran. We’re all just passing through. Often we don’t understand the imprint we leave on other’s hearts.

  2. Colin Ritchie says:

    I was shocked when I heard of Andrew’s death. Although I had not seen him for many years I have fond memories of him. I first met this articulate, intelligent and gentle man when he was teaching at Lavers Hill. I played cricket against him in the early 80’s I think and when I opened a bookshop in Colac he became a regular visitor and we established a friendship. We recognised that we had similar tastes in music and literature and would chat for ages about these interests. I would often see him around the traps and enjoyed his company as he enjoyed the company of those around him. “The answer is blowin’ in the wind”.

  3. One of my goals in life was to thank Andrew (Mr Hyde – Lavers Hill) for the English lessons he taught to us in year 7/8 regarding music, and the interpretation of lyrics… each of us would bring the lyrics of our favoutire song (hard to do without google) and we would discuss them, regardless of some of the shocking tastes people brought in… apart from one other person, Andrew showed me a 3 dimensional view of music which was a spark in my lifelong passion of music, and any music created by my various projects, BlackSax, contains some of his influence

    i hadnt realised his love for music until reading this obituary, and working at the byron airport i was devastated to see that an Andrew Hyde had rented a car from us on the way to the bluesfest, but on my day off…

    lots of memories with cricket where he would always love to sneak a bowl in witht he kids during luch duties… and Andrew also became our U/17s cricket coach because out team use to gather after school with no adult supervision… i still think i was robbed on an lbw decision when he was umpiring a game (it was hitting the stumps no problems!) but we’ll debate that one another time!

  4. Matt Zurbo says:

    Hydey was a champion bloke who served the Otways damn proud, in cricket, coaching and playing ressies for Otway Districts and a top teacher at Lavers Hill that the kids all spoke well of. Nothing but good memories of him. Will be very much missed. Too bad about your demons, mate. You left my home and the world a far better place!

  5. Sarah Betts says:

    Beautiful words Keiran, and all so true, we will all miss Andrew very much.

  6. Paul Sherry says:

    Great words Keiran. Thank you for honouring Andrew’s life and highlighting his contribution to all our lives. I first met Andrew through the Otway footy club, and then more recently when he was working in Geelong. He was a greatly respected teacher and all his students loved him. We would catch up for lunch and rave about music mostly. Of course he would be quite forthright about what I should and shouldn’t be listening to, and any objection from me would be matched with wit and that wry smirk.
    I miss my friend, and there have been many times since in record stores choosing vinyl when I caught myself thinking “just wait til I tell Hydey about this buy”…..then that pit in the stomach feeling. But as a great man once said “all things must pass”. Hopefully the hard feelings will pass for simple, treasured memories.

  7. I still miss Andrew.

    These posts are all fantastic, particularly about Andrew’s musical taste. When he realised I was a Stevie Ray Vaughan fan we became instant mates and I learnt a lot from him ever since. He would always be very giving with gifts of CDs (some new, some old but mostly live/bootleg shows). He also wasn’t afraid to rip into me for listening to Prince lol.

    I never knew much about his cricketing ability but appreciated his life long passion for it. I used to go to the Richmond Tigers footy matches with him when I could make it. Needless to say, 2013 matches haven’t been the same. I found myself with a bunch of bombers fans at the dreamtime match. It was hell and Andrew would’ve been most disappointed. I pictured him simply saying “Otis man, WTF!?!?”

    RIP mate.

  8. Keiran Croker says:

    I’ll have a beer for you at the cricket this week Hydey!

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Well done Kieran bloody hard to write tastefully done , and thank you !
    Jeff Kennett deserves a huge amount of praise what he does re beyond blue
    Guys in particular are gradually getting better at talking about depression but a long way to go I only have , 1 member of my male wedding party left so it is a subject v close to me

  10. Hi, guys
    better late than ever to find this blog and ever lasting thanks to the memories and comments of a true gentleman.
    as my older brother and although Andrew and I drifted apart in recent years before his passing he effected and influenced my taste in music from the late 70’s onwards and sporting teams (i followed him to our junior football team) Although we all barracked for different teams within the family.
    A brilliantly tallented sportsmen in his younger years and a key forward/full forward in a premiership team, but never to reflect or show off about his talent he was always understated and helped me through my own career demons. i wished I could have helped towards his grief and only months after his passing I saw Springsteen in Melbourne with my dear wife and it took me back to 1985 with his influence of Bruce. It was for me a release with my brother far reaching from his funeral but for what 30 years ago made me. Find Peace bud…thanks all for your comment
    Dave H

  11. Andrew hated birthdays, but would have turned 50 on October 1.
    Many true and kind words written, thank you all.
    Muz

  12. Everyone at MFGSC thought Mr Hyde was a legend. He was a friend we all went to when things at home weren’t going right. He was someone that was a great listener and non judgemental. I was in the class of 2006 and I was there when he took some time off. He came to our end of year celebration and everyone was so stoked to see him back. As a kid, you need a teacher that listens and that’s something that I’ll never forget about him. He always listened. RIP Mr Hyde. From all the girls a MFGSC.

  13. Keiran Croker says:

    Hi Renae, I only yesterday stumbled on an old article Andrew wrote about his 2007 trip to New Orleans called Andrew Don’t Dance. Bitter sweet to have great memories resurface. Sadly he missed his Tigers premiership last year, and so much great music. I’ll certainly be thinking of Hydey when I get back to Byron Bay BluesFest this year, as we shared a number of great festivals. Take care.

  14. Wow! What a coincidence! And it was just yesterday I was writing this..He was a great person! I’m sure you will! Thank you

Leave a Comment

*