Every song ever written has some meaning behind it, or a reason for its being. Whether a song is driven by fame, money or a message it doesn’t matter, music is a product of inspiration. So, here is the inspiration behind my composition One Old Boxer from the CD Hard to Define:
A number of years ago I opened my home and time to a beautiful brindle boxer pup. Coming from a family of boxer lovers I knew the breed fairly well, and few other dogs captured my attention more than that energetic, loving breed.
Tyson, I named him, but contrary to his namesake the small bundle of brindle and white grew to be a wonderful companion; gentle, considerate (yes, considerate) and for many years went just about everywhere with me and proved as welcome as I was – sometimes more. A fantastic personality made him loved by just about everyone he came in contact with. As a pup, Tyson even made it onto the cover of a Chem-mart calendar, and proved a dream to work with in comparison with the young girl he starred alongside.
When I met and moved in with Kathy, Tyson settled immediately – even Kathy’s dog-intolerant matronly feline Puss took to Tyson as if he were a long lost friend.
Sadly Tyson died five years later, and I vowed ‘never again’. Little did I know fate had other plans, because after several months of not having an excuse to find time for usual morning / night walks, and considering the garden empty and lacking life, we wondered if there was another dog out there in need of a good home. Shortly after and to our surprise our local vet called to ask had we thought of taking on another boxer, because one had just become available. Bit of a handful, we were warned, product of a broken home, we were told of the four year old Arnie. Nothing we can’t handle, we said.
For the first fortnight Arnie barked at pot plants, birds, biscuits – anything really, and poor old geriatric Puss spent those two weeks living in the tree out of harm’s way. Despite wondering what lunacy had come over us Kathy and I persevered, tried to give Arnie the love, space and security that had been torn from him as a three-year-old. In time he settled, perhaps the ghost of Tyson came for a visit and told him everything would be okay. A few short months later we found Arnie to be every bit the gentleman that Tyson had been.
We moved to the country, which didn’t phase Arnie one little bit. Like Tyson he seemed to love all creatures great and small, would sit and watch the birds, snakes and rabbits that came by without batting an eyelid. He even befriended a Magpie game enough to come and say hi. What a wonderful sight that was, Arnie one side and Maggie the other side of the same bowl, regularly sharing a meal and each other’s company.
Eventually at twelve Arnie passed away, and in my joint mourning of these two wonderful souls I composed a memorial that can be heard here on Bandcamp: http://michaelcannon.bandcamp.com/track/one-old-boxer