The MKB Four Candles of Advent – Candle Four – Love

Without wishing to ruin the ending,  the Fourth Candle of Advent charitable gifts is the Love Candle, otherwise called the Angels Candle.

We are making the charitable donation to Andy’s Man Club.

For the rationale behind the gift, below is a personal article by Steve Dawson, one of our Senior Partners

“Choose life.

Choose a job.

Choose a career.

Choose a family,

Choose a f***ing big television

Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers

Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance…”


As I write this we are approaching Xmas 2023. I’m 46 years old. Which means I was at University in 1995 to 1999. In Sheffield. 

The Gatecrasher era. 

The Britpop era. 

The New Labour era.

The “Things Can Only Get Better” era

The Trainspotting era. 


Like most mid 90’s student houses we had THAT Trainspotting poster on our front room wall, next to the Pulp Fiction one. And the line of beer bottles under it that we all thought was so cool to do. When really it was just an excuse to not tidy up. As we sat there in our hooded tops and our baggy jeans, debating whether Blur or Oasis were better, it really did feel like we were all entering a new world, and the possibilities opening up to us all of that era seemed endless.


Wind it forwards almost 30 years and I find myself, like a lot of men in their mid 40’s wondering where the past 25 years went, what I was thinking wearing those mid 90’s clothes, and what would the late teens/early 20’s version of me have thought of the 46 year old me. 


Let me lay it out. I’m not a traditional lawyer. I’m not from generations of lawyers, or silver spoons. I’m from an industrial village in the North East. My Dad worked in a factory. My Mum was a lollipop lady, amongst other part time jobs. I became a lawyer because I was gifted enough to have a half decent brain and work ethic instilled in me to make the best of any given situation. I only chose the Law because as teenager the bloke who had the nicest house in the village in my eyes turned out to be a solicitor. I never expected to co-own a Law firm. Some days I still cant believe I do!


So would mid 90’s me think 2023 me had done okay for us? I guess he would, all things considered. I guess it is fair to say I did, indeed, “Choose Life”.


So what is the purpose of this article, other than me waxing lyrical about the nostalgia that is the 90’s and having a very public bout of introspection?


Well, I think it’s in my head a lot lately as we rapidly approach Xmas. As well as the Law I have a background partly of studying psychology. I also have a brain that I describe as being like a bee-hive. It’s constantly busy, and its constantly buzzing. It’s a blessing and a curse. At times it feels like driving a Ferrari in a traffic jam – it’ll do it, but its really not happy and it really wants to let go and stretch its legs. And that needs channelling. You need an open road so you can put your foot down.


And I think in many respects I’m not alone in that. A lot of we folks in our 40’s feel like that. I think in the old days they used to call it a mid life crisis. These days we tend to not call it anything. We tend to, despite the passage of decades, not talk about it. As blokes we talk about football. Star Wars. Cycling. Anything but how we are feeling, or how we feel we are doing in life.


And it’s all come very much back into my head over the past few months and years. Since Covid probably. Too many of my friends from the mid 90’s are no longer with us. Feeling they couldn’t go in the modern world. It deeply pains me to write that, but like many of you who have stuck with me in this ‘article’ this far, at this time of year I sit and have a think about my friends and loved ones that are no longer here. Who felt they could no longer be here. Through the illness that is depression or poor mental health. Or just our ‘blokey’ lack of willingness to talk. I also find myself wondering how different things might have been if I’d just picked up the phone ‘that day’, or sent a text checking in. We all do it, the wondering. It’s natural. But still, we do it. And sometimes the world would still have some of these good people in it if, as blokes (and the ladies too, obviously) we would just talk to each other more. And not just about football, or Star Wars. Or who would win a fight between a Bear and a Shark.


That’s why this fourth Sunday of advent we are making the final donation of the MKB Advent Candle Charity donations to Andy’s Man Club. The fourth candle is the Angel Candle. It represents Love. The donation is memory of all the fallen Friends, Brothers, Sons, Fathers, Uncles and more that felt they couldn’t go on. That are with the Angels, with Love. And the donation is in the hope that more guys will just talk to each other about how they are feeling, what they are going through, and support each other. Even if just for ten minutes here and there, before reverting to conversations about whether Barnsley will have a good season or whether Han Solo shot first. It is also in the hope that as many of us as possible can continue to “Choose Life”. And collectively we can maybe usher in a new era for the next generations coming thorough to continue to “Choose Life”. 


Whatever you are up to at Xmas, please, talk to each other. Check in. Look after each other, and spread the Love. And “Choose Life”. Even when things might look dark and insurmountable – always choose life.


In memory of Martin, Bod and Andy. 

And in the hope I never have to add another name to this list.