A few years ago—so many years ago that I don't really understand, now, the person I was back then—I lived out of town. I'd drive in early to beat the traffic, lock the car, throw my book bag over my shoulder, and take myself and my dear old G3 to a café just off the market square. It was so early there was only ever one other person there. He was a thin chap in round glasses. He looked like a little bit like a young William Gibson: or at least, what William Gibson would look like if he'd gone to Cambridge. His name was Alexander. He was terribly preoccupied with writing something. Piles of paper. Press clippings. Notebooks. Old school stuff. After a decent interval of several weeks of nods and hellos, I asked him what he was writing. "I'm writing a biography of a homeless guy I used to know' he said. "He's dead now. His name was Stuart".
I remember thinking "Sheesh. Good luck with that, mate" and tip-toeing back to my Great and Glorious Work, The Thesis, feeling a tiny bit sorry for him.
My thesis was abandoned.
His book wasn't. And there's a dramatisation of it on tv tonight.