For the third edition of ‘My Pet’, Wasuremono vocalist and guitarist, William Southward tells us about his former dog Olive. “Don’t Play With Ghosts (For Olive)”, from their debut album ‘Are You Ok?’, is a tribute to his old pal, where the Bradford-on-Avon based artist imagines passing on and joining her once again in the afterlife. Olive seemed like a generally legendary dog, she loved the pub for one! William speaks in loving and heartbreaking terms about his invaluable friend below:
“I’d always wanted a dog from a very young age, but my parents would always try and put us off by saying, we’d have to walk them and pick up their poops. I remember being taken to the RCPCA to walk dogs in an attempt to put me off, but I loved every minute. We also were taken to walk some guide dogs too, which was fun when we were kids. We went through multiple hamsters, guinea pigs and a lovely house rabbit called Molly, who used to lick my face.
After finally convincing my parents that we’d do everything that comes with having a dog, they spotted an advert for a puppy in need of a home on a pub bulletin board. She was at a farm in Shepton Mallet, so we got in the car and went to see her. We were instantly in love and decided to take her – the black patch over her eye inspiring us to call her Olive. I remember seeing Olive’s mum when we arrived who was really scruffy and quite barrel like. I thought that’s a funny looking dog, and funnily enough Olive ended up looking just like her mum!
She had a huge personality. For instance, Olive loved the pub and when you would say “pub!”, she’d dart to the front door, tail wagging. If you tried to take her on a walk past her favourite pub, she would sit down and wouldn’t move until you nipped in for a packet of crisps. She was good at tricks too, I taught her to roll over and do high-fives. Her favourite treats were gravy bones.
She was also a big fan of sunbathing, on walks she used to jump into cow troughs when she was hot; we ended up buying her one and putting it in the garden. She used to sunbathe, get really hot, then ask to be dunked in her own personal cow trough. Most of the day was a rinse repeat process of this in the summer months.
Her legend first spread beyond the confines of home, when we made her the face of a brewery I used to run with my Mum and Dad. I would Photoshop her face onto different bottle labels in scenarios like riding a motorcycle, playing guitar and riding tractors.
She went on to feature in all our early homemade music videos. My favourite one was ‘In The Garden’ where a puppet version of me rides on her back in the garden! Olive was such a good friend to the band, knowing someone excited was waiting at home, when you were on your way home from gigs, was amazing. We now return from gigs and reminisce of the times she’d be waiting at the door for our return. There is less to look forward to, coming back from gigs, now she has passed on. I wrote a song on the album called “Don’t Play With Ghosts (For Olive)”, which is about me passing on and joining her once again in the afterlife.
I can see why they sometimes prescribe dogs for depression, because Olive made me feel calm when she was around. When Olive passed the worst part was not just her not being there but how everything sounds different, the house sounds empty without her scratching at the door or the clitter-clatter of her claws on the wooden floor. That was one of the hardest things to get used to. I feel more stressed these days without her being around to stroke.”
07/12 – Thekla – Bristola
30/01 – The Castle – Manchester
31/01 – Hyde Park Book Club – Leeds
01/02 – The Bodega – Nottingham
06/02 – The Portland Arms – Cambridge
07/02 – The Hope and Ruin – Brighton