The biggest moocher in town, serial philanderer, talented landscape painter, brilliant guitarist/lead singer, qualified chef and (last I heard) currently married to wife number five.
He frustrates the life out of me. Everyone unrelated to Ian loves the pants off him (far too many literally). He has that easy charm and killer sense of the ridiculous that people are irresistibly drawn to. He missed his vocation as a stand up comedian, ask anyone - my big bruv' is a regular bonus to be around.
I love him dearly, but I have never invited him to visit us on the island. The last time I saw Ian was at our fathers funeral, over fifteen years ago.
Even that was hysterically funny (sorry dad, but it was). We waited as long as we could for him to show, but the vicar eventually had to ask us to proceed without him. Halfway through the moving eulogy, as everyone wept in to their handkerchief's, there was a crash as the huge wooden doors burst open wide, and a shrill, alien voice cut through the service to pipe,
"'Ere, are we at the right one, Ian?"
I could hear poor old dad begin to rotate (he'd disowned him years ago).
Ian and his latest floozy, sling-back heels clacking all the way to the front, finally took their pew.
Ian and I have shared a lot of fun times together, but every memory I have of them, it's always been me who's picked up the tab for it, and not just financially. When I bought my first place in London, he swapped wife #2 (or was it #3?) for my couch. A temporary arrangement that lasted a year.
I threw him out three times, but he had a spare key. It wasn't him I objected to quite so much, as the bevy of bimbo's rotating through my bathroom.
One of my agencies specialised in suppying contractual staff to the catering industry. I landed him several plum Head Chef assignments in London's West End. Unfortunately, he sailed past every interview, and breezed through these jobs like there were no tomorrow. Blessed with a sister in recruitment, he felt no desire to hold on to any single one of them.
In the end I felt too embarrassed to claim any blood-line to him.
It might have helped if he'd paid a little board and keep for his sins. As far as he could see, I was doing pretty nicely on my own. Besides, being family, it was the least I could do to help him out for a bit. His friends hit on me. They cluttered up the living room, spilt cans of beer on my carpet, and kept the neighbours (and me) awake with their frequent late night jamming sessions.
Not to mention cramp my style. I didn't have sex in my own flat for over a whole sodding year down to him and his friends. He had the bare faced cheek to WAIT UP for me! (Keep in mind, he slept on my couch.)
He gets away with murder because he always makes me laugh. It truly isn't all his fault he's turned out the way he has. Being the eldest, Ian had it the hardest growing up. For those few who don't already know, our mother was a diagnosed schizophrenic, and our father a very abusive alcoholic. Ian left home as soon as he was able, and soon learned to survive by his wits.
He's Peter Pan, he's never been able to grow up. And yet, he has SO much talent. His art has found a market, people pay good money for his paintings, and he is wholly self-taught, it's instinctive. He can't read a note either, but he composes all his own music, and can set some incredible lyrics to it. Every woman he meets wants to save him, and he always breaks their hearts. He usually breaks their banks, too. Most of them are doing pretty nicely when they first meet, gainfully employed with their own property and transport, yet by the parting, and vitually without exception, they are all left penniless.
Oh my, can he spin a tale! He's milked me dry more times than I care to recall. The last time I bailed him out, he had to leave town to avoid a beating from someone he owed money to. I allowed him to lie low under our roof for a week (by now I was married with a young family).
The mistake I made was to give him the cash he needed at the beginning of that week. He went out 'til the wee small hours partying every night, and happily blew the lot - only to turn on me, totally thunderstruck, when I refused to cough up what he'd squandered, before he left.
The fall-out was brief, his grand exit marred by him apologetically coming immediately back to borrow my car and jump-leads, to help him kick-start his broken down, old jallopy.
Yes, he is on self-destruct. He is also a functional alcholic, which is why I can't have him around me anymore. Something is broken inside of him that no one but he himself can fix, but so long as there is always someone out there ready and willing to save him, it's rather doubtful he will.
Most of his wives have been Nordic, his current one is Danish, and is fluent in five languages. These women are far from stupid, except for that blind spot for him. I hear tell they have just bought a house in Bosnia, and I really, really do wish them well - if at from a very far, safe distance.
I doubt I am alone here, perhaps some of you have also had to cast out a lovable, but shameless rogue, some black-sheep in the family you can no longer carry? It's a hard choice to make, but sometimes it's the only sane one left.