What about Rob? - 13 April 2007

...and cut. Thank you very much. (2001-2007)

The mad Irish man behind that movie

184aEl DudesAll it was missing in the Fulham Broadway station that Thursday 12th of April was just a crew filming it.

It was on of those moments that make tough men almost cry in the comfort of the darkness of a theatre: Paulie saying to Rocky "this is the last round of your life" , or the Terminator deciding to kill himself for the sake of John Connor and the humanity.
Or even Luke watching the stars outside the Millennium Falcon and thinking about a way to save his old friend, Han Solo (you Lando! ).

Rob saying goodbye to LondonThe JoyOn the opposite sides of the station, two totally different (but somehow similar) friends, after 6 years of flat sharing in London were finally parting their way.
Going north-east, towards Victoria, to catch the bus to Bristol, Rob, with his last 6 years squeezed in 4 bags (and a laptop case).

Going south-west, towards Wimbledon, to spend a last afternoon with Lindsey, me.

The two trains arrived at the same time. I jumped on mine, Rob stayed on his platform, waiting for the right one to arrive.

St Patrick's DayRob, drunkI wanted to shout something memorable, but unfortunately the chaos of London kind of stopped me.
I sent him my last lines over a text message: "Lesbians, a lot of potentiality around me".

You wouldn't get it. After sharing so many years in such a small place, you kind of grow a secret language, made of references from movies we both saw, from events we both lived, from lesbians we both dreamed of.

Rob, wastedWe would laugh for something stupid, or make some of my guests feel embarrassed by our gross remarks, but I guess it's what it comes with such a long relationship between real dudes.

Once my train was gone, I felt like finally London was sliding away from my body.

It's a strange feeling. You live so long in one place, you get to know people and locations, and then a city becomes you.

Just last month Ian left , then Rob and only hours later would have been my fiancée's turn, Lindsey, (yes, it is happened!). And I was turning 30 only days later. Life changed in such a short time.

Writing screenplaysOn the setMe and Rob had our bad moments. Both stubborn and haters of the word "sorry I made a mistake", both someone living in lies just for the sake of it, both convinced of being the heroes while the other was the sidekick, we experienced some difficult times, mostly in 2005 (a terrible year), but somehow survived.
If any of us was upset at each other, we used the real men way: don't say anything at all and wait until Sunday's lunch to have an excuse to talk in front of food and beers, and then forget about it.

With papa LeoBut I'm personally grateful to him. He moved in a flat that was a mess and had the patience (or it was too lazy to move out, God knows), to shut up while I was improving it, a period that took almost 2 years.
He introduced me to so many films and especially TV series (Young Ones , Bottom , Blackadder , Futurama , the Office , Coupling , Seinfeld , Spaced ... damn, so many essential DVDs in any collection!) then after 2 years I could finally switch off the subtitles and enjoy the film in the original language. Without him probably my English would still be very basic.

Rob in FranceRob and MathildaIt was after a night watching with him some TV program about Bruce Lee then I joined the local kickboxing club, and I met Lindsey. He probably witnessed everything that has happened to me since 2001.

Now he has moved to Bristol, to fulfill his dream and vocation of making this damn film and be the filmmaker he was born to be.

I look now at the empty DVD shelves and when I my eyes stop at the third shelf from the top I see two home-made DVDs, my western short film (The Game They Play ), and his drama short (Catch the Moon) and I realize that, if you squeeze our 6 lives together talking about films, those two DVDs are the final results.

So, just as I did with Ian, I would spend my last lines remembering the highlights of 6 years spent living with Robert McKeown in London:

  • Learning English from the hundreds (and hundreds) of DVDs that rob bought over the year, especially from such classics as Bachelor Party and Seinfeld.
  • Driving hundreds (and hundreds) of miles in France , with Rob sleeping in the car, since he has no driving license. Getting drunk, smashing a car by trying to park with my rented vehicle, and sharing a bed with a snoring Irish (for 20 minutes)
  • Surviving 2005: the ceiling the flat crashed in the living room, Rob broke his back, I broke my leg, my cat died, the pope and Richard Pryor died too (there must be some sort of link) and many other annoying problems
  • The bastard world cup of 2002: never happened
  • The great world cup of 2006 : it's happened
  • Inviting dozen (and dozen) of my friends in London, with Rob hiding away
  • Jack Daniels and coke. By the bottle.
  • Bastards
  • Lesbians
  • Those Halfords adverts
  • Those youtube links
  • The time when I almost kicked Rob's face after he deleted pictures from my camera without permissions (but all is forgiven dude)
  • Lesbians secretaries and the Blair bitch project
  • The lucky bastard
  • Rocky VI and the tears. We waited so long
  • The bersaglieri's songs that Rob enjoyed so much, and the Prince 15 minutes solos that I enjoyed as well
  • Potential.
  • How did you do that magic you did?
  • Heart attacks. Panic attacks. Back pain attacks. Terrrorist attacks. Snakes attacks - on a plane. Asthma attacks. Hung-over attacks. Cockroaches attacks. Rats attacks. Rob's life in London in a long sentence.
  • Vincent. So never forgotten.
  • All those mp3s downloaded for him in pre-broadband era. Flash in the pan, Waiting for the train. Still gives me nightmares.
So long (farewell, Auf Wiedersehen goodbye) my dear friend.
Good luck with your career.