This post counts as “occasional wittering” so if you’re expecting any film or tech then you should look elsewhere. I am using this as a memory dump to make sense of recent events and as more catharsis than anything. There’s some pretty serious stuff I’m about to write.

Still here? Ok.

I’m taking a bit of a social media break. I’ve sporadically reading Facebook but that’s about it. Here’s why.

Past week has been pretty stressful. I got a call from someone who usually never calls. He found that one of our mutual friends (in this particular circle of people) suddenly had RIP messages all over his facebook wall. Our friend has multiple facebook accounts and they all had these messages on them.

None of us knew. Nobody. This is how we find out, because I’m fairly sure others will have attempted to phone him and make sure this isn’t some sick joke. Sadly it doesn’t appear to be.

Now … this is the big problem. He was close to his mother and she passed away almost one year previously. They were close. One year anniversary and you can put the picture together as to what happened. This is totally unconfirmed but when me and my friends saw him last, he was in good health and he wasn’t that old either. The conclusion is distasteful but there’s no other option I can realistically come to.

RIP Paul. Goodbye mate.

Quick Paul story: Circa 2000 London had a big event to celebrate the coming 21st Century called the Millennium Dome. I was with a couple people who managed to get me a free train ticket and entry to the dome ticket and a fun day was had. On the way back north, the train at that time went through some very patchy mobile phone signal areas. So sure enough at that time, Paul calls me. The conversation is paraphrased but essentially went like this:

Paul: “Richard? You there?”

Me: “Yes mate, what’s up? Signals bad.”

Paul: “Can’t hear *burst of GSM static* Just calling to *more static*”

Me: “What mate? Can barely hear you on this train.”

Paul: “I’ve come out! I’m gay!”

Me: “Yeah mate I know!”

Paul: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well we already knew you were mate. Nobody thinks any less of you.”

The lesson here is twofold: a lot of people can actually be more accepting than you’d think and sometimes the obvious thing isn’t actually obvious to yourself but is to everyone else.

This leads to something else. Four years ago this year was my first ever JNUC attendance. The issue was that while I was there, I got txts during the conference that someone else I knew had also passed on in very similar circumstances. I’m going to leave out the pretty nasty details I was told, suffice to say some people ended up getting counselling of a serious nature. I couldn’t rearrange my flights back from Minneapolis so I was forced into a pretty untenable position of getting back to the UK, being met at the airport, getting home as soon as I could, showering, changing into my best suit and then immediately (with zero sleep) heading out to a funeral. I managed to make it through before jet lag really hit me on the drive back. Thankfully someone else was driving or I’d have been seriously remiss.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been down this road with people I knew but not knew well. Both times now you wonder things like, did they show any signs? Could you have done something to help? What did you miss? Did you potentially even contribute towards things?

The only thing I’m sure about is I didn’t do the last item. Everything else is up for debate.

Give me a week at least, and I should be back in one form or another. I just have to sort through and carry on in that stiff assed Brit way.