Graham Weir and I hadn’t spoken in 10 years. When I heard of his death yesterday, I was shocked, devastated and so insanely mad. Even though our deep friendship and decades of collaboration had imploded at the same time as our greatest shared accomplishment, Noah of Cape Town, I still always thought we would get together and laugh; manically, crazily into the night. I am gutted.
Graham and I first started hanging out in Yeoville, Joburg, together. I was a fan and a contemporary. We often followed each other’s performances at the original Black Sun, the next Black Sun and even the last one. We both loved Nick and George and would spend hours at Scandalos. But we became friends and collaborators for real when Graham took over my job as bouncer at The Harbour Café for a while.
When I moved down to Cape Town in 1993 and created the first Theatresports group, we performed at The Dock Road Theatre that December, sharing a stage with Not The Midnight Mass. Soon after that, Graham moved to Cape Town and our creative collaboration became a long-term thing.
We wrote together; Noah of Cape Town, A Circus Sideshow, Songs of Hangings and Redemption.
I directed his and our work. Not The Midnight Mass (two incarnations at least), Songs of Hanging and Redemption, A Circus Sideshow, How Graham Weir Has Accidentally Managed to Stay Alive.
I edited his book How Graham Weir Has Accidentally Managed to Stay Alive.
Our collaboration also happened less formally. I read him everything I wrote, and he did the same with me. We looked over each other’s work. He played me his songs.
We lived in the same commune for a while. I helped him move. He helped me live.
Our fallout was harrowing, horrible and unfixable. We hurt each other. It started under the strain of work but bled into the deeply personal. And still, I didn’t think it would be forever.
We played horrible tricks together. We took useless trips together. We loved and hated things together. We fought dragons and demons together. We were each other’s +1 until both of us ended up in relationships.
Ultimately there is a sense of unfinished business.
I am looking at the painting his mother Mary gave me. It bounced off the wall the week she died. I lit a candle yesterday for Graham and it is the same colour as the painting. Time and space are gone. Go well Graham Weir. I am sorry we fought so long and hard.