John Dunlop (J.D.), at The Niche across from Fidos. This is right before it turned into Island Perk. 2010 or so.
JD was a kind man who did enjoy his ladies and rum. He found odd jobs on the island but focused on interior painting. He hung out downtown with his best friend Richie Woods, who passed within a week of JD. We all believed it to be from the mourning the loss of his best friend.
He painted the inside of Coconet Internet (now Pelican) He and his buddy Richie Woods hung out on the bench out front telling stories to the tourists. A very sweet man who hurt no one. I remember one time I was very busy and he was bugging me for some money for food. I snapped at him, finally gave him some money and minutes later I saw him sharing the food with a stray dog. That's how good he was.
One of JD's first ventures was a bike renting service. He had a Dutch partner. It lasted as long as the bikes did !
I remember JD coming to Wet Willy's to sing! White wedding...
He was one of the 3 amigos (remember? JD, Richie, and Bruce?). Smart guy, funny, and actually a very very kind person.
He and Richie would flag folks down iin front of the internet for a ride and usually $5 lol. They were a pretty entertaining pair.
An excellent house-painter - he took it to a whole new level. Very fussy about his jobs - in a good way.
Notes from his son...
J.D. was my old man. My name is Kristian Dunlop, his eldest boy.
In case you were wondering about his past, which I've no doubt knowing him he would've kept hidden.
His actual name was Ernest John Dunlop, and he was actually Scottish. He was put into an orphanage and moved down to London, so you'd never know he wasn't from Hastings, where my brother and I, sons from his second marriage grew up with mum, Janice Dunlop. Padge was our family nickname for him but everyone else called him J.D. and he was quite well known in our town being that he was a taxi driver. It's sheer coincidence I came across this pic today googling pop's name for no reason, but I'm glad I did. I won't lie the image of him took me aback quite a bit. He looks so...withered and ghostly. I did heard that he liked the booze over there in San Pedro but that picture is as far from the Dad I remember as could be. If there was one thing he wasn't it was a wino, I want you folks to know that. In the 20 years I was with him before he left I never once saw any alcohol cross Dad's lips- always had a cig in them but never the drink. Not only was completely teetotal but he was strong as an ox and nothing like the person in the image presented here. Dad was very respectable family man. He was always a little skint but boy did he do right by us kids and was the best pop you could ever imagine. Never let us down, not even once. And as you know him as a good laugh so was he the same back in England, friendly to everyone and absolutely beloved by many. He was extremely kind, almost to a fault at times which would irritate mum at times but I always cherished his kind soul and hopefully the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree in that sense.
My best memories of him were us all sitting around the telly and him making my brother and I cry with laughter at his comments during the duller movies we all watched together, and him taking me out to the local cafe for a cup of tea and an egg sarnie when he was running the taxi rank. What I'd give to have inherited his social skills, but despite us not sharing a love of football and my being a shy boy he always accepted me for who I was. I at least got the singing voice passed down, and it doesn't surprise me to hear he liked the karaoke box as he certainly loved his Elvis and the guitar. Had no idea he was into Billy Idol though, lol! He was also an incredibly street cookie in his way with a love of history and nature and a great tradesman; he converted the entire top of our house into a flat all by his onesies, the plumbing, painting, furnishings, electrics, the lot- all by manuals long before the days of YouTube tutorials.
Mum and him would often lock horns unfortunately and though he was a great bloke that could always make you chuckle I think she resented the fact that she had to become something of the breadwinner to get the mortgage paid (and the other women in his life didn't help) and so they parted ways when I was twenty. Dad used to say things like he'd move abroad one day, and he was sort of fascinated with pirates and the yo ho ho lifestyle and I think he had fantasies of being a buccaneer- and so it came as little surprise he upped and left to Belize when he did. I really respected that attitude, just do it and to hell with the consequences and all that. We never had much chance to communicate once he left and the next thing I know I'm 30 and getting a message from my sister that he'd passed away. Of course we had no idea he was in such dire straights otherwise we would've all chipped in and gotten him home at least for a while. If he did have any faults it was his stubbornness. I do strongly believe it was probably losing my mum and as a consequence us boys that might've driven him to drink as much as he did. If only he'd known how much we loved him. Sadly he was such a tough old bird that we always thought he was doing alright over there. Had absolutely no clue he was homeless and drinking himself to death.
Well I'm 43 now and hopefully carrying his torch. People tell me I'm the spitting image of him-- and I can only hope I also inherited his other traits, his honesty, his chivalry, his way with people, and his independence.
Finally- I'm hesitant to ask as I've heard all sorts of rumours- the daftest of which being some sort of complication from the necrosis he got from a spider bite- but do you have any idea how he died? If it was a gammy leg he left to rot then I hope he didn't go too painfully, poor old sod. There's a part of me that wishes he'd headed back to England and gone on the dole instead of the way he chose to lead his life at the end, but ..ah not a snowball's chance in hell of that. Stubborn as a muel, was old Padge. I am very glad that he had this Richie fella with him at least, he sounds like a gem himself.
Thanks for listening to my ramble everybody, have a good one.
Photograph by Coleen Creeden
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