Can’t stop thinking about Keith Flint

I can’t stop thinking about Keith flint. 

It’s weird. I didn’t know him personally. We never shook hands. But I had been in the same room as him. There were a few thousand other people there too, but it’s fair to say we partied together. 

But for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about this man.

He had a huge influence on my musical life growing up. For our GCSE music final, we recreated Poison and Their Law. Surprisingly, it was the only exam I dropped below a C. Regardless, we had a hell of a lot of fun trying to recreate the sounds. For our end of school prom/party, I bought a litre of wax and twisted every strand of my hair to be like Keith. I thought I was cool anyway ;) 

And I think this is where my fascination with dance music and later drum and bass, grime and base style music came from (that and my love for rap... but that’s another story I think!). I can still remember raving away at the Rivermead venue in Reading with a couple of friends when I must have been about 17, watching Keith float out into the crowd inside some weird inflatable bubble thing. It was epic!

But I don’t think it’s just the music that has me thinking of him. It’s the mental health. Obviously I don’t know the man, so can’t tell you how he was. That would be fake of me  to pretend I did. 

But, something I can relate to is that he partook in Parkrun. That doesn’t make me closer to him, but, in the days before his death he smashed out a personal best at his local Parkrun. And that’s the bit that’s got me thinking about him. 

You would have thought that someone that just sprinted out a very respectable time across a 5km Run would have to be in a positive state of mind to help themselves achieve that goal, right? But obviously he wasn’t. 

And that’s where I’ve struggled with losing the master of the dance. He seemed ok on the outside, but, now, was obviously battling demons on the in. Suddenly he was gone.

I think I’ve also personally struggled with it because I met someone recently who was in a very dark place, and he’s been playing on my mind ever since. Wondering if he’s ok, if he’s gone for help. This poor guy lost is wife in the Grenfell Towers. And I listened to his story. Looking him in the eye, you could tell there was some horrible pain. The fact he wandered into our group, sat down and just wanted to talk probably said something about his state of mind. This poor guy was suffering. A very long story short, I listened to him for about two hours then we called him an Uber to his moms. Just being a pair of ears for him. I’ve since learned this guy has gone for his first run. I hope it’s a step in the right direction for this young man. I can’t stop thinking about him either and I think that’s why I can’t stop thinking about Keith Flint. It makes me incredibly sad to think in some cases people don’t know where to turn to for help. That they are in such a state of mind that help seems to far away.

I know from our own group of RunPals that some struggle with mental health. Some have confided in us that they really struggle. However, talking about it is a first step. It’s the first step in helping one help oneself. And seeing our own pals break through the other side of their dark states of mind is inspiring. Seeing them smile, laugh and get involved. Seeing they have a break from their daily lives when they don their RunPals shirt, inspires me. I hope it inspires other that are currently struggling as well.

My point? 

I can see how running (or any physical activity in reality) has helped people right in front of us. I can also see how just being a pair of ears to a pal is all someone may need sometimes. 

In our community, RunPals has brought people together as a community to offer support, sometimes to complete strangers, to cheer, to motivate, to be there. Sometimes without even really knowing the positive effect a simple pat on the back can have for someone. The simple act of asking “you ok pal?” Can brighten someone’s darkest day, even if they don’t respond.

And ya know what? We all have bad days. We all have good days too! But it’s important to know that on any given day, anyone is welcome at RunPals. Anyone can reach out to us. Anyone can come along for a jog and say not a word if they don’t want to. If they want a pal to jog with, at any pace, we have them all at RunPals. 

So apart from offering people more qualified phone numbers or people to talk to if they need it, please tell your pals or your local community, that they will always have a friend at Runpals. If they just want to get out of the house and go running, we are here. 

Share the love RunPals. Ask if that person next to you is ok. Listen if they talk. You could be the person that changes the rest of their lives. 

Matt Coyne