Someone has always been around to document my comic tragedies. Other than me.
In Prague, in my rent boy/homeless days, it was a filmmaker named Markku Heikkinen who made a full-length documentary called All Boys. My scenes were cut from that but Markku used that footage and made a short called Public Service. It’s included on the All Boys DVD. The name he got from a conversation we had about my “profession” at the time. I talked about that film, and my life at the time, here.
Lately, a cool British photographer named Joel has been following me around taking my picture. At Marie Curie oncology hospital, on the streets, in my ramshackle room in the musty slug-infested flophouse, on the Art Walk. He was tipped off to my plight from reading Sorrel Moseley-Williams’ interview with me on her blog and in the Herald. Thanks again, Sorrel.
Joel also been a supportive companion and a real morale booster for when I have to face the bureaucracy and the 7 AM in the morning doctor’s appointments, the 6-hour waits, etc. He was there when my doctor told me the latest bad news — that it’s highly unlikely that I can be cured. I glanced at him quickly at that moment to see his reaction, as I was a bit stunned myself. His expression was pained and his face was flushed.
Later though, I chided him for not stepping up: “That’s when you should have had your camera out!” I would have wanted to see what I looked like after finding out.
I often worry that he feels like he’s bit off more than he can chew with this little documentary photography project. Although, I suppose, if you set out taking pictures of someone with cancer, you have to expect that the worst could happen. I belong to the I Had Cancer social network, but it looks like I’m never going to be able to use that verb tense.
I’ve joked with Joel saying that he’s now my official biographer. In addition to letting him photograph me, I’ve also been spewing the details of my life. He’s listened patiently and asked good followup questions so far, but I think I finally rendered him speechless the other day with my tales of the rent boys of Prague. Luckily, a couple of liters of Warsteiner beer probably made the revelations a little easier to process.
Joel’s given me permission to share some of the photos he’s taken and I appreciate it. I look so skinny!