That was immense

I’ve always felt the fear of being abandoned. I remember the desolation I felt every time my parents went off to Italy and I was dumped with a grandmother or the neighbours. (I suppose it was just what my parents were used to, both having been born abroad and sent off to boarding school in England, my mum at 7 and my dad at 9.) My mum was just ‘unavailable’ – and knew no better. And being sent away to school at 13 just added insult to injury…

So I always feel – though I know as well that it’s CRAZY to feel – like I’m going to be abandoned. And with my marriage, of course, it happened, through (I thought) no fault of my own. I had a stroke, got depressed, killed myself (almost…), was abandoned…

Just to be working, in 1990, and notice something (that the computer made a noise like the Snap! record) and to say it OUT LOUD… And for someone actually to ‘get’ what I was talking about! That was (virtually) unique. It was trivial, sure. But on the other hand, to actually say what was on my mind – and have it confirmed by someone else… that was IMMENSE! And so rare.

My dad ‘got’ me, about 40s and 50s movies. At school, Marc ‘got’ me – until I realised that he ‘got’ EVERYONE. At the LRB, Michael, Nicky and Hugh all ‘got’ parts of me. Dermot ‘got’ me at The Good Times, from time to time. At Premiere John Poile ‘got’ me (I got him the job…) and Ryan came occasionally (ah, the floppy-disc years…). And then I pretty much stopped working in offices…

K – for all her virtues – didn’t really ‘get’ me of late. I’d occasionally say something about me… and she wouldn’t get it or – later – even HEAR it. She’d just carry on looking at her iPad or iPhone, and occasionally tell me about the problems she was having with her novel – which I’d try to solve…

Then Alex, in 2011 or 12, started listening to The Beatles and pop music, and in the car on the way to school we could ‘get’ it together. Going to Sigur Ros at Latitude in 2008 was significant because I put him on my shoulders (aged 5) and went up the front. It was so great! And K and James just stayed at the back and got bored. (Luke was at my parents nearby – the whole reason we went.)

Kraftwerk in 2013 was similar: I went up the front with Alex. I got chatting with a guy who was AMAZED I had seen them in 1981 at the Lyceum (he probably wasn’t born by then…). He was also, I remember, pleased because I gave him a set of 3D glasses (I’d taken a spare in case Alex lost his – a good father…).

5 days later I had the stroke…


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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