There’s no other way to say it: John Didham is a special person, even an enigma- quiet, unassuming, perceptive and confident enough in his own skin that there’s no need to try and be anyone else...
Yes, he’s a longtime friend who was a very successful jockey.
He is also astute enough to hear bollocks and know when to just let it go through to the keeper, and one of the very few people I trust.
We’ve seen a helluva lot together in Hong Kong and Macau- and a few sideshows in Melbourne.
We’ve had plenty of laughs along the way and with John always helping jog the memory bank about what might have happened the night before.
We somehow even had dinner with David Bowie at the China Club before I went traipsing off to speak to someone more important- the guitarist he was using at the time. Think it was Earl Slick.
As for these days, when having blown away the smoke and mirrors and seeing the shallowness around me, John Didham is someone who, many years before I did, walked away from the horse racing two-step.
The racing world might have worked for him once, but nothing lasts forever.
Listening recently to what John had to say about what he’s been doing made me realise why I finally woke up and tuned out years ago from many things before making it official.
The penny dropped and I was addressing the elephant in the room: Me somehow in a place where I didn’t belong.
I was spinning my wheels until hit with the realisation that I deserved better.
I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be by trudging down the narrow path leading to Sleepy Hollow.
It was actually taking me down some weird rabbit hole where there were always the easy excuses and excesses to numb the senses and drown out the songs playing in the key of life.
It showed a weakness in character which had taken its toll on my marriage.
Then again, there’s no point hanging onto something that is no longer there.
As John Mayer sang, “Disappointment has a name. It’s called ‘Heartbreak Warfare’”.
As for John Didham, he is a solid family man. He’s a devoted husband to Andrea, a great father to Patrick and Michael, and someone not interested in being, well, an “influencer”.
It makes me smile thinking of John promoting himself in that Tik Tok world with some strange dance moves and a fruitcake on his head.
For the John Didham I know, it’s about keeping things honest and doing what he can to be a better person in all aspects of life.
Sounds corny, yes, but it’s better than being one of The Children Of The Corn.
Gawd knows there are plenty of them sprouting about..
My chat with John sidestepped the Shallow Hal world of glib corporate politics, and the type of horse racing that’s been allowed to carry on for almost five decades without any change except for the rich getting richer, and as always, the minions led to believe they’re part of The Big Game.
It’s a strange world out there. It’s where many refuse to see the forest for the trees, and control freaks run the show though knowing that time has run out.
Yet, there’s some need to keep up pretences and live a nouveau riche Facebook lie.
Personally speaking, the picture above isn’t exactly an inspiring surrealistic pillow on which to rest one’s headspace and think that a life like this is worth pursuing.
But turning ordinary days into extraordinary adventures is needed, because no one knows when the other shoe is going to drop and kick you with a heavy dose of reality.
In the meantime, here’s hoping you enjoy the chat with John Didham and find CANI.
Not Rohan Kanhai, the great West Indian cricketer, but CANI.