Robert, my flatmate for so many years, will be my first ever guest writer.
Olaf. By Robert McKeown
I actually got this email from Rob many weeks ago, while I was still in Italy. I don't know why it stayed so much on my "to do" list (well, Rob knows well about those neverending lists!) but finally I found some time to update this website, now that I'm in South Africa.
Here we go.
Olaf's written so much about the people that he met over the years in his blog. I just wanted to write something about the guy that I knew for six years.
When I first arrived at our faithful flat, I had no idea how long as was going to be there, six months was the plan, just to start the steps towards making my film. six months became a year, a year became two, etc.....
What I discovered over the years was just how giving Olaf is, when he becomes friends with someone he makes every effort to help that friend, I have lost count on the amount of favors I owe him. We hardly spoke in the first few months, because of his slight lack of English, so we used movies as a means of communication. My obsession for Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky bored him into learning the language and getting out of the flat and starting with Parson's Green.
Thinking that, I think the reason Olaf started all these sports was just so he didn't have to sit around the flat and watch those long, boring Russian movies!!
Living in the small space, I saw a computer geek, a perfectionist, a perfectionist to the point of being compulsive. I realized that although we were from different backgrounds and cultures, we held very similar views. Olaf is just more forthright about his views, whereby I would tend to try and keep my honesty buttoned up.
Looking at the photos of the Meister over the years, I see a naive, bewildered Italian, become a man. Meeting Lindsey, getting engaged, starting/planning a new life in South Africa, building his business sense, his feet always grounded in reality. Whereas I'm still trying to make this bloody film!
In fact, the last picture of him outside his car with the puncture, is a different Olaf from the guy I used to have Sunday lunch with.
Different all for the better.
I wish him luck with his future, that it is everything that he will no doubt plan to the smallest detail. I hope even more that he'll remember me and let me visit him and Lindsey and mooch off him when I pop round for a month or two. Ah, I can't wait for the mooching!
Whoever comes to this site to read these pages will know this man and have their own brilliant renditions of who this guy is, we'll all miss him and I'm sure we'd all want to raise a glass to knowing the dude named Olaf Olgiati, random Meister of old London town.
This was Rob, my old 6-years companion in London.