Monday, December 19, 2011

Dreams of a Life, Fragments of a Person.

"Joyce Carol Vincent: How could this young woman lie dead and undiscovered for almost three years?" is an article chronicling filmmaker Carol Morley's journey to unravel the mystery of Joyce Carol Vincent's death and the quest to decipher the dynamics that interlay the misgivings of social comportment. 

Joyce, wildly intelligent and beautiful, lived a wonderfully social and at times expressly enviable life, but died alone in 2003 at 38 within her government subsidized London flat... her body not discovered until three years later.

Morley interviews those who once knew Joyce over the course of two decades. 

[Martin] described his gang of home-counties friends whom Joyce had hung out with in the 80s. "We were a bunch of blaggers. We did things way above our class. A few of us came from money, but most of us didn't. We used to mix with proper posh people and go sailing, go to glitzy nightclubs. Right poseurs we were. We used to make up names. Joyce called herself Rachel Prejudice." 
"We were always doing something," Martin reminisced, "racing at Goodwood, tennis at Wimbledon, classical music, opera. We liked restaurants too." Martin shook his head, baffled at Joyce's outcome. "She always wanted to improve her mind. Actually, she told me she'd had elocution lessons and she sounded – I wouldn't say posh, but you wouldn't know she was from London, she just sounded very well-spoken, almost BBC really." 
"The trouble with Joyce was she was very fanciable," he said. "Wherever she went and whatever she did, there were people trying to get her into bed. It was a burden that she was so beautiful and she was very clever, a lot more intelligent than she let on. I think she had several lives."
I showed [her Ernst & Young colleagues] the Sun article that started my quest. Kim studied the accompanying photograph of the bedsit. "The place she ended up living in doesn't tie up with her persona. I always imagined she lived in a really nice Victorian house, lovely furniture, nice things around her, everything immaculate and perfect. Not somewhere like that."
Alistair explained that Joyce never really talked about her life before she met him. "Have you ever seen the movie The Man with No Name? That's how she was – she came with no past."
While Joyce lived with Alistair she came into contact with many of the musicians he knew and worked with. "We had great times. We had Jimmy Cliff to stay at the house, Gil Scott-Heron and Isaac Hayes came for dinner. For her it was exciting, vibrant, thrilling. It was a good time." 
"She had a clique with all these City bankers – they didn't suit her, but she liked it," Kirk said. "I think she was on a search for something she wasn't going to find."  -The Guardian
No one thought to care.

I'm guilty of romanticizing the fanciful wanderlust. The dreamers. They're the men and women authors love to write. Ever elusive and layered, they're whimsical and ethereal, and engrossing and beautiful, and emblematic of everything we wish to be.

In 2009's  The Private Lives of Pippa Lee I pondered of the film's protagonist "Before marrying structure and retiring la vie bohème, Lee's life was so... free."

The blithe me, the protean me, the interested me, the astute me, the capricious me, has to be tempered by the wise me.

The fairy spirits I glamorize, their depth is often pitiable, often tragic. 

Factory Girl, a film of Andy Warhol's muse Edie Sedgwick's transience, marked a conversational exchange of similar sentiment. 
Edie Sedgwick: And what would I have to do in one of your movies? 
Andy Warhol: Just be yourself. 
Edie Sedgwick: Which one?
Carol Morley's docu-drama "Dreams Of A Life" poignantly portraits Joyce Carol Vincent, a woman who enlivened all whom she encountered, but committed to no one, nor one thing - accentuating the importance of indelible bonds and the endurance of those relationships. 

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