|Still from the film DOPPELGANGERDYSMORPHIA by Matilda Thomas|
Matilda is like a little bird. I don't know her well enough to say whether she is bird-like all day and every day. But my guess is that she flies and flits about and then she notices something interesting, something that will feed her intellect, satisfy her curiosity and make her laugh and she pecks at it and turns it over and pecks at it again and then she takes a camera of some sort (she seems to have many sorts) and films it and then sits down and scratches out a script on the back of the Evening Standard or a fag packet (do they sell Marlborough any more?) and then she records her words and it comes together in a little film like this. Her films are seriously wonderful little gems. They are like songs which catch you delaware and europrise you - I mean, what was Perry Como thinking when he recorded that song? That song that my sister and I would sing together but no more because she is dead. I think she would have liked Matilda. Matilda would have liked her. Yes.
She sought me out. She wrote to photographers who had photographed me asking if they could pass on the message that she wanted to talk to me about making a film. We met in a cafe. Did she have a cup of tea? I can't remember. What struck me was her enthusiasm. For everything. It was infectious. I became infected. I am like a little kid - if anyone says "Let's do..." I am with them all the way. Sometimes, I run on ahead and afterwards, in the cold light, I go back over what I have said and wish I could press a delete button - a retrospector delete button. Let it be. Why the hell did they get him to produce it? Because they did. It is "Let it be" and nothing can change it.
So, I rolled up at her studio/bedsit/place and I sat on a table and slurped fruit and milk in my suit and not in my suit. Then we had a second shoot at this deserted shop in King's Cross. In between, I went home before her film. Another delete moment. She was so kind that evening, so very kind. She was a little merry on her wine but she showed "Mr Merryweather" to a collection of poets whose slightly muted applause rang in my ears as I hurried home to apologise. What was I thinking?
We met at King's Cross - now anyone who meets Matilda Thomas at King's Cross is in for a pleasing surprise. I don't know if she will wear the sheepskin coat when she meets you but she was wearing it when she met me. She looked like something out of a French New Wave film - chic, pretty, cool. Not French but that is a whatever. She took me round the corner, well several corners and, as I leaned against wall in black and white and smoked a Gitanes, she collected the keys and let us in to the deserted shop. We looked around. It was so cool this place, Peeling striped wallpaper, a sink on a wall, an old wardrobe, a bed, threadbare carpets. A shop half filled with sculptures with willies (well, some of them) made by this guy Jim Geddes. We reshot some scenes in my suit and out of my suit and I slurped and swallowed and spat and dribbled while Matilda said "Yes!" and "Great!" in the secure knowledge that she could edit in or out afterwards. They sat on the floor and bottom danced to Françoise Hardy singing "Comment Te Dire Adieu". I said adieu. I said it in English.
Then I ran all the way home, skipping over the cracks in the pavement, squashing the dark red berries below the trees and my mother opened the door and I didn't stop talking until I had told her EVERYTHING about my day. If anyone asks me if I had a happy childhood, I shall answer "Had??"
Matilda is............comme un petit oiseau. Elle est très jolie, très intelligente et très drôle. I have pressed the delete button - did you see me do it, children? We, or rather, I have talked about making more films but I'm not sure we will. I am not sure that I shall ever see her again. But then, one never knows with the Movies............
Matilda on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user19278176