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March 09, 2010 - 68/365 | by ryan kitching
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March 09, 2010 - 68/365

After last nights shoot, I was a little worn out. I didn't get home till some ungodly hour… only to wake up at an even more satanic hour.

It really only kicked in that my friend had died.

I was rattled.

I met this man when I first visited Hollywood… he graciously put myself, Aidan and Haley up as we floated around the West Coast of the states.

He was, to me… a bi product of American life and culture. Well maybe not all of America, but definitely the folk in Hollywood.

As a young man, he was the "go to" guy… the guy people called upon… the guy that knew where the big parties were, the guy that knew the "in" people at the time through his set design studio.

He held, what I see as wildly sort after in modern culture as the infamous "celebrity" trophy.

As we used to sit and have many conversations… He began to tell me about how he was slowly pushed out of the scene, to make way for the flashier dressed mover and shaker that was doing the rounds back then.

He never really developed great eating habits, he consumed crap, and a hell of a lot of it. Aidan and I laugh about when he used to pour chocolate syrup into his cola flavoured drink. We, questioned his idea behind it, he said not to worry… that it was a diet cola.

I personally don't understand the level of mentality that comes with this…

To him, this is what he grew up on, this was what was around him.

He loved it.

Gene wasn't the healthiest person when I met him, he was quite large, and in my eyes, coming from Australia, built in America.

He began to get sicker, and the sickness was fucking Type 2 diabetes… A disease that he caused on himself.

I always asked about him, as aside from letting me stay in his house… as a stranger… he became a friend that when I was kinda a little bit lost, living in Vancouver at the time… I could call upon him… and he always had some random story that made me feel like, even in my shittiest moments… that there was a friend.

I went back to Hollywood last November to paint Audrey and Morgan's house… Audrey lent me her car and I went and visited him… by now he had lost a few limbs and I could of sworn he had lost an eye…

Every day he was transported twice a day to sit on dialysis…

He was a frail man.

His friends had given up on him… because I think in their minds… it was his doing that got him into there.

I will miss him.

I plan to make a trip in a couple of months and visit his grave and pay my respects then, but for the moment… all I can ask is why.

He was such an immaculate bi product of all the bad sides of American culture, shitty food, poor exercise… just bad lifestyles.

I am really pleased that the friends and cousin I have over there are really looking out for theie dietary intakes…(Audrey especially) because this was a young man… just over 50… who died unnecessarily.

I listened to The Used's - Tunnel on repeat all day.

 

"Cause we are, the light in the tunnel, we are the living and dying…. We are a light in the tunnel… that's all."

 

That verse made me think, that yes… we are just lights in the tunnel, but how bright we shine is what makes us who we are…

I think whilst in Gene's death… I am sad and frustrated and annoyed… I am also blessed that I got to know him… and like any human relation… I got to learn from him. Even if that means doing the opposite of what he did.

 

This shot is the shot I would dedicate to Gene, I remember being in Hollywood… I woke up early… he was in the kitchen making some heart clogging dish… and fully clothed, I launched into his pool. He laughed his guts out… So last night, Even though I was rather clogged down in my mind…. I decided that I was I going to walk into the shower… fully clothed.

 

Just for him.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Taken on March 9, 2010