After the release of Good, I got quite used to speaking publicly about ‘my’ movie. I had talk screenings of it in Norwich, Harwich and Essex University, the latter to screenwriting students. I also – somehow – got in touch with Shohini Chaudhuri, Essex’s senior lecturer in the department of literature, film and theatre studies. She was writing a book (later called Cinema Of The Dark Side: Atrocity And The Ethics Of Film Spectatorship) and she wanted to pick my brains, as a screenwriter who’d wrestled with such things. I went along to Essex Uni at dusk and with the 60s buildings it looked almost like an Antonioni movie, lit from within.
The book came out in 2014 and she emailed me to say: would I like to ask the questions at her Q&A in a lecture theatre at the university? I replied with words to the effect that I’d had a stroke and wouldn’t be able of think of any questions, let alone articulate them. She sent me a copy of the book, suitably inscribed.
My wife and I went to the Q&A on the night before I moved out; she and Shohini had done a course together, or something. The next day I moved out of the family home into an annex in the garden of a woman down the hill; the annex was in fact a converted garage.
I only saw Shohini once more, at the station while I was waiting for the minibus to take me to Headway, the brain-injury charity in Colchester. (I also went to the Ipswich Headway, bad, and Headway East London, fantastic. Headway is an umbrella term, you see.) In Colchester they’ve got good people but it’s all undone by the building, an 80s bungalow at the end of a long road thru the derelict site of Severalls, the old town mental asylum. If you weren’t depressed going there, you soon would be. It had a distant view, across an empty field, of the municipal football ground.
Shohini reverse-commuted to London, I seemed to remember; she’d got off the train and was getting a taxi to the university. I still wanted to kill myself.
I didn’t say hello.