Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Down For You

When I lived in Milan from 1998 to 2000 I had the flat below a guy named Cameron Green. I first met him when his music was too loud at about midnight one evening, and I nipped upstairs to ask him to turn it down a notch.

We met a few days after that in the corridor and he apologised again, introducing himself and shaking my hand. A tall guy of well over 6 feet, very thin and good looking. Turned out he was a male model and had just recently flown to Italy to become part of a boyband put together from international models via agencies. The band were called Down 4 You and were appearing on Italian TV about twice a week doing the popular daytime and early evening talk shows.

We became pals and hung out together sometimes. Cameron liked a smoke and would wax lyrical on the holographic universe and the power that could be obtained by being able to control it.

One day I arranged to go jogging with him and when I got to the flat at 10am there were two guys wearing guns in the apartment. Cameron was looking pissed off and worried and it turned out they were cops who'd come to bust him after someone had grassed about the cannabis plant he had growing on his windowsill. The cops told him he had to go to the immigration office the next day to sort out his residency, as well as pay a nominal fine for possession.

I offered to accompany him and the next morning was woken at 6.30am by his stereo blasting out into the courtyard and him yelling out the window to piss off whoever had told on him to the fuzz. 100% certain he was attending in order to get thrown out the country, after 6 hours of waiting it turned out that the cops had been true at their word and all he needed to do was sort out his papers. He had them stamped, paid the fee and walked out, still not quite believing that he hadn't been bundled on a flight back to Canada.

When Down 4 You's first single was released I saw it in the local music shop and rang him to tell him the CD was on the shelf. He asked me to pick up about 10 copies and he'd reimburse me later. I leisurely made my away home and had a total of 5 phone calls from Cameron wondering where I was and when I would be coming back. As I got to my apartment he was stood outside and I was like "What's the big deal?"

He replied "You don't realise. You're the first person to have seen this. All the rest of the band plus our manager are waiting for you to get home."

He then rang them one at a time to say that the cover looked great.

The song was however, shit and they folded within a few months. Cameron moved back to Canada, I moved back to the UK and we lost contact for many years.

Then, about 6 months ago he cropped up on Skype, asking how I was. Now pushing 40 he was still good looking and was living with his father. We had a good long chat about old times and remembered the stories and then promised to stay in touch.

Then today he messaged me to say that he has aggressive, terminal leukaemia and has between 3 and 6 months to live. He was typing to me while sitting in hospital awaiting bone marrow transplants. I offered my sympathies and he replied "It's all good, life was pissing me off anyways".

Two months ago I decided to move on. Selling, giving away or storing my worldly possessions and go travelling. I always intended to remain in Plakias, Crete, Greece with my Dad until after his birthday and then go exploring. I've got drunk, procrastinated, felt sorry for myself, lamented Theresa May being British Prime Minister, and hated all the bad memories in my life. I've slept in till 1pm some days. I've nursed hangovers so bad that I could barely get out of bed the next day. I've fallen over, worried about my beta blockers and fretted over money.

I'm in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and due to my unspoken belief in my own immortality,  I've done only about 40% of the things I could have done. While it hasn't been entirely static (I hired a motorbike for 2 weeks and put a lot of miles on the odometer. I also learned to fish, went snorkelling and did a day trip with some pals).

But there was always that "I can do this another day" mentality that kept me from actually going the whole hog. From jumping in with both feet and savouring the feeling of new experiences.

I have lamented my own middle age, and my inevitable death whenever that may be. I always believed that while the wine glass is neither half full nor half empty but refillable...I never took into account that the bottle will one day run dry.

Cameron had the world at his feet. Young, handsome and intelligent. Now he's dying in hospital. The sands of time have almost run out, and so has the wine.

I think this might just be my final wake up call.


  1. All my love brother, now and forevermore. Highest regards. and many blessings.


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