To look at him, you wouldn’t know. Thinning hair on an over-large, unusually flattened skull, a greyed shirt and pullover habit, rigorously black socks, none of these gave a clue to the howl at the centre of his existence. He had such a horror of emptiness, always avoiding the void, he would colour in all the zeros in any document he saw. Colleagues learned to accommodate him, made sure as many spreadsheet figures as possible were rounded up. He said he would have liked to have been an accountant but there were too many nothings in finance. People smiled gently.
Bobby was the kind of boy who slept with the windows open, come hail or ice or snow. On holidays abroad he slept in the wine cellar. His parents took him to see doctors but they could find no fever; he just functioned better in the cold. When he was a teenager he worried about global warming but in Scotland that only seemed to mean more rain and snow. His family and friends thought he would become an Arctic explorer or an ice cream seller; some even had a sweepstake on the job he – or his temperature – would choose. But in the end the universe showed it had a sense of humour. From the day he picked up his first guitar, it was clear – he would be in a band, the coolest band in town.