Remembering The Man

When you read a book you always think you know the “voice” of the narrator. You think you know their cadence, their intonation. By projecting aspects of your own life, and the voices in your head, you think you KNOW them. But it wasn’t until I saw the documentary, “Remembering The Man” on Thursday night, as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Film Festival, that I actually got to hear Tim Conigrave’s voice for the first time.

It’s over twenty years since I first read the book, “Holding The Man”, his memoir about his relationship with John Caleo (who he met at school), and their subsequent deaths in the mid-1990s from HIV/AIDS. Along the way, there’s also been a play, a feature length movie, and now a documentary about their lives and their relationship.

What’s different about the documentary is you actually get to hear Tim’s voice. At the centre of the film is an oral history made in the month’s before his death. Thus, Tim is not only the focus for the documentary, but also the narrator, similar to the way in which the voice of Peggy Guggeheim, the art collector is used in Peggy Guggenheim, Art Addict, which I saw a few months ago.

As someone who has spent most of his life consciously aware of “the voice”, I found it fascinating to hear Tim speak. To my ears, he had a lovely voice. An “actor’s voice”, in some ways. In the pieces of audio selected, he spoke clearly, in “proper sentences”, and with some confidence. He also spoke with honesty and with humour. “That’s enough, isn’t it?”, he said at one point (or words to that effect) to the person recording his story.

Over the top of Tim’s voice, there’s a wonderful collection of photographs. Though Tim and John were several years older than me, and spent their lives in Melbourne and Sydney, whereas I spent most of my earlier life in the country, there were so many photographs which I felt I could relate to. The parties, the gatherings, the lives of young people growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, and then, sadly, having to confront their own mortality in the 1990s.

There are also some really wonderful interviews with their friends, many of them amusing, and many of them moving. And there are some re-enactments of moments from their lives. In my view, the re-enactments were sometimes very powerful, but at other times a little superfluous. Nothing’s perfect.

“What did you think?”, my friend Graeme whispered in my ear as the credits rolled. “Really good, a really honest, heart-warming film, and about the right length. Though they’ll undoubtedly cut half an hour from the film by the time it makes it to television, this was close to perfect for the audience tonight”, I told him.

3 thoughts on “Remembering The Man

Add yours

  1. The Caleo-Conigrave story is possibly the most documented in recent Australian history – thanks, surely, to the synchronicity of the book and its adaptations with the golden age of the blog.

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but I hope James Waites, Conigrave’s interlocutor for the oral history tapes, is decently acknowledged.

Please leave a comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

A Scandi Life

A lifestyle blog about all things Scandinavian

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

A Gentleman's Lifestyle

Men's Fashion, Inspiration and Lifestyle blog.

uniquely north coast

Exploring interesting corners of the Northern Rivers

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Needull in a haystack

Selected. Sorted. Shared.

Απολύτως Διαλλακτικός

Logical stories of everyday madness

Newzo

Moon moon

The Swedish Kiwi

A Swedish lifestyle blogger, bitten by the travelbug.

TravelUpdate

A fresh and unique perspective on travel.

David M. Beecroft

A work in progress

The Pursuit of Food Perfection

A Sydney Food Blog | Restaurant Reviews & Food Guides

freespiritfood

Spirited food from far & wide

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

inte fan gör det det

Alla säger:det ordnar sig....inte fan gör det det..

Graeme Aitken

Writer, Reviewer, Reader, Bookseller

welcome to andyville

Food, books, shows, writing, travel and the other stuff that life is made of.

XPLORE

"The Landy" Out and About having fun

The Nomad Notes

Adventure and Travel Blog

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

Catherine Croll

Community Cultural Development Specialist

backpackerlee

Backpacking (and eating) my way around the world!

Twist In The Dark

Grant's personal observations and experiences...

The Best Judge

"Allow me to be the best judge of that"

Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

... about nothing in particular, because "Candid photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". Photography by Lignum Draco, "The Wood Dragon" since 2013.

transcendingbordersblog

A TWINKLING STAR- BRINGING A DASH OF HOPE, INSPIRATION AND LOVE IN YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE!

59 North

Travel, Food, Music, Art, Culture

matthewschiavello

Just another WordPress.com site

Neil's Commonplace Book

The modest successor to the "Floating Life" blogs

Redsultana

Redsultana is the personal blog of Cellobella. Welcome!

LYNNE SANDERS-BRAITHWAITE

from the ELDERWOMAN in the WORKERS' COTTAGE. THIS WAY HOME .

Paint later, a painter's blog.

Just another painter's blog

%d bloggers like this: