Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Michael 1

If i try to chronologicaly mount a series of my memories of meeting and knowing Michael it would go something like this.

Both being teachers at the London Mime School (him legitimately me not), working along side, but not with him, in the streets of London and later in the theatres, inconclusively sharing a bed and a woman on the way back from the Edinburgh festival, dropping him near his parents sport shop in Nottingham, watching him perform on stage in Manchester, admiring his films, sharing a pavement New Year’s Eve outside a flat in Notting Hill that he later accidentally burnt down with a joss stick, throwing and catching my young baby boy together, asking him to baby-sit my cassette collection when I went travelling, not understanding how he lost them, collaborating with him at the first London Comedy festival, meeting him in a London Park some years later, playing table tennis in the dark, writing together and playing.

The years covered there run from about 1981 to last night, there are many things missing from the list and their order and even their content may be contested but I believe it is accurate in the vague way most fond memories are.

The feeling of illegitimacy prevails, he was the legitimate teacher, not me, he is a film maker I pretend, and he writes better than me and understands cryptic crosswords when I can hardly do the quick one, he directed the show, I devised.

There is no pain; even the cassettes reappeared in a plastic bag years later and I have never shared in his suffering or his greatest triumphs.

Years ago we read that someone had established a “record” for successfully amassing a complete 52 pack of playing cards from individual discarded ones found in the street. The “achievement” took years and so we avowed to attempt the same but quicker. The enterprise faded one day in Germany when I discovered a complete pack strewn across a residential suburb and the task suddenly seemed even more pointless.

We possibly share a love for the weird and wonderful and unnecessary oddness, I must ask him.

That, and whether his heart is still in the chess inspired novel that he doesn’t realise we are writing together, but to which he continues to contribute.

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