No, nothing about D Cameron Esq, even if he may actually be a disguised lizard – of the human flesh-eating variety – if Charlie Booker in the Guardian’s to be believed. And why wouldn’t we believe Charlie? His world’s a sight more interesting than the usual one. No, this is about a guy called David Haslam and a dream, his and mine.
Mine first. Dreams, actually. About ten days ago, very vivid and about Canada. I lived there for several years and the dreams centered on Toronto, with an occasional segue to New York. The dreams stayed with me and I began thinking about my old friend David Haslam who I hadn’t seen in years although we’d once been pretty close. David had also had dreams, about producing movies and before that the first freebie movie magazine which was where I came in – as an acting and mostly unpaid assistant editor. Why? Because it was fun and because David was brilliant at weaving you into his dream. The magazine was called Marquee and even after I left Canada, David made sure I always got an airmail copy of the latest edition, until it closed in 2004. Like I said, we lost touch although I’d tried Googling him without success. This time, after the dreams, I tried again. Success – of a sort. I got his obituary. David Haslam had died a few days beforehand. . . around the time I’d been dreaming of Canada, which is not something I ordinarily do. Cue spooky music, which is apt because David had been involved with the X Files. With the Power Rangers franchise, too, but that had been a money thing. X Files he’d loved.
David was generous, single-minded, fair and quite ruthless when it came to Marquee. He was more like a New Yorker than a Canadian (originally from New Brunswick), with that same Gotham quick, sometimes savage, even Jewish humour. Back in the day we developed two comedy routines. One was about a new car designed for the ethnic market called the Black Panther, complete with whitey-wall tyres, crushed-pimp velour and a horn which went ‘honky-honky-honky’. There was more, but that gives the – nowadays probably distasteful – flavor. The other one concerned the few beggars who, sadly, sometimes froze to death during the Canadian winter. No details, but it was bad. Funny, but bad. So one time a writer came by looking for work, just in from sensitive Vancouver and we tried them out. He was not amused. He said, with a righteous contempt he obviously enjoyed, that there was no way he’d even consider working for Marquee. Just as well, since he was a crap writer and David found it hard to say no.
Now it might seem strange to celebrate a man’s life with such a trivial – and okay, dubious – episode. But I remember David as someone who could and would laugh at everything. I remember a friend who was always there if I needed him. Also someone who could exasperate the hell out of a saint. He was an original and one who stayed in Canada which didn’t happen all that often. Most of ’em used to end up in LA or New York.
Here’s the thing. If there’s anyone you were once close to, but now lost touch, seek them out. Might end up wondering why you bothered since people do change. . . but if nothing else you can ask why the hell they didn’t try get in touch with you. In this case, easy: far as David was concerned I’d fallen off the face of the earth. Damn. I can hear his laugh like it was yesterday.