Monday, 8 June 2015

An Odd Coincidence.

I received an email recently from a former student, who is now a successful award winning creative director and screenplay writer.
The emails are authentic. However,  I have changed the names of the people concerned.

From Ben to me:

Hi Tone

The reason for my note is because of a really odd thing that's just happened to me on the stroll to the station.
I live in Greenwich. Me and the missus have noticed a bloke sleeping rough in a shop doorway down the road to us a few times in the last few weeks. And we haven't felt comfortable with it at all.
Anyway, I saw him this morning. So I woke him up and asked him if he was alright. He had nice clothes on, but they were a bit scuzzy and he was sporting a catweasal beard.

We got talking. He told me he's an ad creative. Then he tells me he went to Watford. 91/92. His name is  Freddie. He asked me to say hi to you.
Bloody hell. Do you know his story? Did he have problems back then?

 I'm wondering what I can do to help. He reckons he lives in Kent and comes up this way to see his sister, but she's not always at home.
He says he has an old rugby injury and he gets black outs.
I gave him cash and my email address. So hopefully he'll get in touch.
It's certainly humbling and saddening to see a contemporary in this position. Fuck.
I'll let you know if I hear from him.
Cheers mate. Hope all is good with you. 


From me to Ben: 

Hi Ben

I remember Freddie. He was on the course 23 years ago.

He had a drink problem.

He was sleeping in the bushes in Watford and hanging out with the local tramps. His Watford year group and the college did all they could to help him.

But he was pissed all the time. 
And under the influence of  denial.
He left the course. 

Seven years later, in 1999, I was walking down Watford High Street and this dirty figure covered in piss emerged from an alleyway at the back of Iceland.. It was Freddie. 

He said he was still putting his folio together and he would come to the college and show it to me when it was ready. And I would help him. He never showed up.

I'm surprised he's still alive to be honest.
Give him my best when you next see him.

Take care, TC.

Ben replied:

 Ah, that's really sad.
He did let slip his history when he told me about the time he had a 8am meeting with John Hegarty, and decided to sleep rough in the doorway in order to be on time!
Blimey, it makes you think about what went on in someone's childhood if they have tramp tendencies in their twenties.

like you say, it's surprising he is alive. but apart from the catweasal look, he didn't appear to be that decrepit, actually.

My step-dad died of alcoholism aged 52. 

And you're right, there is fuck all anyone can do for people who don't want help.

Take care mate. see you soon, hopefully. 

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