Wednesday, 14 May 2014
This is a postcard - an image called 'Tarot - The Fool' by a boy called David Forecastle, published by The Camberwell Press in 1985. As far as I'm aware - I'm probably the only person in the world with this postcard. It was publish a few days before he killed himself by jumping into the Thames. David was in the year above me at college, it's a self portrait - and very recognisable. In the mid 80's everyone was very badly dressed - David looked different, he was a bit moody and intense - but also quite a bit more mature and intelligent than the other students, his work was also very different - more personal, fascinating, quite seductive. As far as anyone was aware - he's simply fallen out with his girlfriend and thrown himself off London Bridge one night - that's what the police decided. His girlfriend was equally fascinating, she looked like a redhead Bettie Page. Nobody ever really talked about it ever again. He was the only student at my college I liked, from a creative point of view, and also as a bit of a role model - he was a sort of hero, independent, a bit scary, very individual and distant from the other students who didn't like him much, he was too different - I just wanted to be like him. I would have been 18 and I really needed a role model. I have kept this card all my life - I don't suppose anyone else thinks about him - he's nowhere on the internet, I've looked - I imagine he had family and his girlfriend probably has some part of herself that still belongs by him - but to all intents and purposes - he's gone, except for this precious piece of paper.
The Stephen Sutton thing is heartbreaking for lots of reasons, but his death made me think about David Forecastle again today ( I think about him quite a lot ) - of all the platitudes and tributes - none of them really say what's on my mind - he was 19, probably the same age as David - and in the 6 months or so that he's been in the public eye - what really struck me - was how much he had changed, how much older and better looking he was recently - frightening how the body keeps working away, hormones released, facial hair starting, features thickening, getting ready for adult life - except nobody told his body that it was already dying - all that wasted life, all the things he could never have done, no matter how much he achieved recently - can be compensation for one single day as a grown, independent man. Like David Forecastle - all that waste - either boy could have gone on to be a hero, or just a nobody - it would have been their choice, it should have been.