Lawrence Glaister obituary


My brother Lawrence Glaister, who has died aged 75 from problems of vascular illness, was a musician and entertainer. For many of his life he made his residing busking as a one-man band, taking part in on the streets of Britain and Europe. From 1977 to 2023 he lived and busked in Norway, the place he accompanied his enormous repertoire of normal and authentic songs with guitar, drum, harmonica and jew’s harp.

Lawrence was a hilarious and unpredictable man with many presents. He was a proficient painter, an enticing raconteur and a infamous teller of filthy jokes. He was additionally a humorous however typically merciless mimic. He would gentle up any occasion together with his songs: household favourites included a ingesting music devoted to Guinness, and his personal tragicomic Ode to Senile Dementia.

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Lawrence Glaister busking in Vigeland sculpture park, Oslo, within the late Seventies

Identified for his occasion tips and stunts, he would stroll on his fingers whereas taking part in the harmonica, run up an unsupported ladder and sway about alarmingly, or nonchalantly pole vault the washing line. In his 20s he acquired an outdated black cab and painted it psychedelic colors. He would terrify onlookers by driving it whereas mendacity on the roof and steering by way of the window. This reckless trick was as soon as carried out on Bent Hill in Felixstowe, Suffolk, the place his household was based mostly within the Seventies.

Born in Dorchester, Oxfordshire, to Jill (nee Crowley), a light-opera singer, and Oliver Glaister, a customs and excise officer, Lawrence attended Kesgrave secondary fashionable faculty, in Suffolk, leaving on the age of 14 to hitch the military as a drummer. He was swiftly discharged due to his flat toes. It was a lucky improvement: as a wild, anarchic spirit, Lawrence was unsuited to navy life, and he was grateful to regain his freedom on the age of 16, in addition to a great payoff.

Within the early Seventies, earlier than he began busking full-time, he moved to the Isle of Skye to work as a forester and scallop diver earlier than coaching as a psychiatric nurse at Craig Phadrig psychiatric hospital in Inverness.

Lawrence was married twice, to Cathy Calviac (1970-75) and to Stay Rud (1978-82) – each marriages led to divorce – and he had a number of different important relationships. He had seven kids, Daniel and Jennifer, from his first marriage, and Mitka, Luca, Gabriel, Ramona and Samuel, from different relationships. All have inherited his musical expertise and unconventional way of living.

Luca’s demise in 2017, on the age of 25, was a unhappiness from which Lawrence by no means wholly recovered. His six different kids survive him, as do 5 grandchildren, his siblings, Ginny, Andrew and me, and his mom, Jill.


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