A raconteur, according to my online dictionary, is someone who tells anecdotes in a skilful and amusing way.
Dave Kinnear was not a raconteur in the usual meaning of the word.
True, he would tell stories at great length – and who knows how many weird and wonderful stories he’s related over the years – and true he had a kind of storytelling skill – if converting a straightforward story into a complex mix of diversion, cul-de-sac and red herring is a skill, and true he would be amusing – albeit in a baffling kind of ‘Help, I’ve lost the plot, Dave!’ kind of way.
But more than all this, Dave was an urban myth, a legend in his own story life time – and the legends he is part of, are legendary.
Once, there was this fella who reckoned that he had been part of all his families stories – even though he hadn’t been born when they’d taken part. ‘I know these things!’ he’d say, mystically.
Once, there was this fella who persuaded his ill brother to let him drink his medicine – to stop this brother getting into trouble.
Once, there was this fella who had such a deft little wrist shot on the squash court – that his opponents would find themselves on court red faced, high tempered and fuming at the innocence of that squash shot which always had them running the wrong way, or left them flat footed or left them just looking plain silly.
We – his squash mates from Everton and Bootle – met Dave over 10 years ago at Everton Park squash courts – quite how, we can’t quite remember although Dave would have known…
We got playing together on Wednesday nights and before too long we had been signed up to the Thursday night league, complete with so called training on Sundays – again, quite why and how is fuzzy – but Dave would have remembered.
And before we knew it there we all were, driving around Merseyside over many cold winter Thursday nights to play at clubs we had difficulty finding in the squash league schedule – Burscough, Birkdale, Xaverien – pronounced for some reason that Dave would have explained – as SFX.
Dave, with his storytelling, anecdotes and explanations provided the social glue for our team.
Once, there was this fella who told stories in such complicated and detailed fashion, that his audience frequently turned to stone, complete with puzzled expressions across their stony brows.
But what his audience didn’t know was that Dave knew stories of before he was born, and consequently had so many stories to get out to his family and friends – and had so much to say – and so little time to say it – that he couldn’t be wasting time with the craft of telling his legends – so just got on with it, talking to everyone, conversing with everyone, remembering everyone and everything – and becoming a master raconteur to us all.
Dave, you’re a bit of an urban myth in our eyes – thanks for holding us together.
Bootle EP Squash team
6 March 2006