May. 8th, 2001

Tale of two Oxbridge students on Channel 4 tonight.

The second, studying Chemistry at Oxford, was from a country background, public school, called his parents 'Mother and Father' and had been whisked away to London to be a doorman. Weird to see the transformation, in his manner, his accent, in the short time.. what wasn't recorded is how his boyfriend reacted when he got back (or not that I saw). He was even caught ogling the ladies - was his homosexuality really something that helped him fit in in Oxford which he could abandon once in London, as the film seemed to suggest, along with his manner of speech and his history, replaced with a more North-East London version? Dangerous games filmmakers play these days.

The first was an English graduate from Cambridge, a famous journalist and writer who ended up on the streets after a battle with manic depression. It was hard to say whether his optimism and constant hope was street bravado, illness-induced self-deception, or genuine (inexplicable?) hope. To see him so obviously ill, and yet so determined with such tragic dreams.. and yet, why do I sit back watching that wreck of a man wondering if one day I'll go the same way? Of course I'm confident I won't, but then I bet so was he. Such contradictions. He's dead now, open verdict, terrible shock, family inconsolable, you know, they should have helped him earlier - but he had a bloody film crew following him around! I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this. A tragedy indeed, played out for the voracious viewers to feast on unfortune, but this was a fucking man, forgotten by everyone including himself - but not some film crew who charted his descent into - literally? - hell. Granted he ran away from them and from everyone to die. But something about it just feels so bloody wrong. People shouldn't be left to die like that.

I wonder about finding his grave, and just going to see. Maybe he'll talk to me. What should people expect from this life? To die, mentally ill in a hotel forgotten and alone, seems so inexcusable. Why should that ever happen?

And you know what?

I can't even remember his full name.




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