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Looking for Des

A writer friend of mine disappeared many years ago. After a sighting of him I try to track him down. But why am I doing this?

By prospect   September 2005

I am kind and I care about people—at least I like to think so. But I’ve come to realise that my altruism often has more to do with what frightens me than with helping others.

The story starts in 1981 when I was 27. I was in Bafta’s sumptuous premises on Piccadilly. A film I had made for the Arts Council about the Irish in Britain, Over Here, was being shown. As I drank at the bar, a man who might have stepped from the pages of an Isaac Bashevis Singer story introduced himself to me.

He was big-boned and…

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