A Brief Note on the Origins of my Big Brother Matthew, who turns 50 today


Yrs trly & Matthew sporting Winter ’68(?) fashions in the backyard of 10 High St., Culham.

Matthew and Big Teddy, late 1960s.

Matthew in the late 1960s with bear-in-chief Big Teddy who–along with the noble Pedigree, Little Teddy, Mo Panda, Zebedee, Isaiah, Sweetie and the irreversibly Ribena-stained Pim Pim–was the catalyst for a rich and protracted fantasy life.

Christian Nicholas Jackson was born in the Radcliffe subdistrict (containing the venerable Radcliffe Infirmary and Radcliffe Maternity Home), City of Oxford, England on 24 July 1963.

On 26 February 1964 he was rebranded as Frederick Matthew Larkin and taken to 11 Thornhill Walk, Abingdon, Berksksire with his new father Frederick Michael Larkin (seen entering at 6:19 here) and mother Jean Elizabeth Larkin.

By the time another love child, 7-month-old Desmond O’Toole made the scene as Benjamin Graham Larkin in October 1966, Matthew had moved a short distance to 10 High Street Culham, Oxfordshire, still close to the Culham Laboratory for Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion Research where father Mike worked.

* * *

On this his 50th birthday my sole and much-beloved Larkin sibling will lead one of his choirs in evensong at 5PM GMT at St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Canticles: Howells, Collegium Regale; Anthem: Larkin, Domine probasti; Responses: Moore. Alas, I’m stuck in Ottawa.

Here‘s a recent bio of Matthew. You can hear some of his work and see him in a Leafs jersey here on SoundCloud.

And, if it’s more your thing, you can go here to see him directing his choir in a pretty hilarious Rush tribute last year at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa. That’s none other than Matt Stone coming out with Matthew’s boys at 5:29. Back in the day Matthew and I spent many an hour rockin’ out to the extra-pretentious red vinyl edition of Rush’s classic 1978 album Hemorrhoids–as we inevitably called it.

Happy birthday bro. May you continue to prosper!

The grown-up version.

The grown-up version.

UPDATE: A few hours after posting this tribute I listened to a new interview with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke in which he describes attending Abingdon(!) School some years after Thomas Dolby had gone there. He says (around 52:00) that the place was full of the kids of smart scientists. A little later Yorke mentions  the importance of the krautrock band Can, and in particular the album Tago Mago, for Radiohead during the making of Kid A. Curiously, I had linked to that very album in my previous blog post.

UPDATE #2: If you know Matthew you’ll appreciate this.


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