Proud (Heather Small) - day 32

Recently Chris and I discovered a comedy gem television series from Britain called Miranda, whose main character is a lovable buffoon that’s in on the joke and a cast of characters one wackier than the next. Miranda’s best mate and shop runner, Stevie, has a life size cut-out of the face of pop singer Heather Small, and during her pep talks to her towering friend she adopts Small’s voice and shout-sings, “What have you done today to make you feel proouuuud?” And you can’t help but laugh.

Well, many episodes into the series, I decided to research this pop singer and hear the referenced song for myself. I was astounded at the first video which populated on Youtube; it was the song Proud, for sure, but the video was a clip from the early 2000s cable series Queer As Folk, which was something over which Vincent and I obsessed. Turns out this song was used in a pivotal scene from the start of the series, and I had no recollection of that whatsoever. In the clip, Brian Kinney (Vincent) and Michael Novotny (me) were standing on a rooftop, daredeviling near the edge. I was instantly brough back to the moments, so many of those moments, with Vincent. Here I was, researching a newfound song, and suddenly I am transported to a moment in time with my dear friend who was always living his life in tandem with the character of Brian Kinney, as much as I was grappling with being the comic book nerd Michael. We were those characters; they were us.

And then I listened to the lyrics of the song and understood the connection - empowerment, friendship, hope. Vinny lived his life relentlessly and proudly, and I always stood in the shadows, his shadow, envying that of him. He died too young but maybe he felt like he lived it the best he could and that was enough.

I have played this song Proud often since first discovering it on Miranda because Heather’s vocals are indeed memorable and emphatic, driving home that message of empowerment and friendship and hope. I hear the song and feel so many things, but mostly a sense of fulfillment and presence, grounded and proud of the things I have done and seen, because of and despite Vinny’s shadow. And above all, even still he beanstalks me from beyond as promised by delivering yet another cardinal in the form of Heather Small and Miranda.