Sorley Macdonald

There was no chance to say goodbye. There rarely is. The last time I saw him wasn’t under the best of circumstances. He had come to a meeting of Germinal to say he couldn’t handle the strain of slogging for yet another grant and he wanted to give the project to BFI. It was difficult for him to say this since he didn’t want to hurt our friendship, but once he got it off his chest he seemed to relax a bit, especially as I tried to tell him that it didn’t matter, that he should do what he thought was best. Perhaps he thought he’d let me down. And now, somehow, I think I let him down by not pursuing it – by not trying at least to make it clear that we were still friends and that nothing had really changed. It was just another project that hadn’t got off the ground and that was that. Yet I had picked up certain vibes, a certain rawness of emotion that seemed to me even more than I had come to expect from Sorely – who could, at the best of times, be dour and slightly ill-at-ease (but always with an overlay of humour). There was something clawing at him that made him distant at times. He was always on the move, always rushing from here to there. Delivering things that didn’t need to be delivered. And yet, so many of us are like that, aren’t we? We never peer into the depths of a fellow mortal’s soul – into the darkness and horror - lest we, ourselves, succumb.

There was no chance to say goodbye. Goodbye my friend. Farewell. You will not trod this earth, not here, not now; but perhaps you shall again. Again with the other dinosaurs. And then we'll meet and share once more a bottle of the finest peat-filtered whisky that you had so generously offered me that evening at Stone Terrace when we were young and the world was full of hope and promise.