Genova (2008) Michael Winterbourne starring Colin Firth. Two children. Two Adults. One car. You know somebody is going to die, especially as there was a bit of rough-housing going on in the back. The children were putting their hands over each other’s eyes. Inevitably, the younger of the two, did the same thing with mummy. Instead of telling her off and giving her youngest a good old fashioned thrashing (this is for picking your nose in the back of the car; and this is for looking at me that way) mummy just crashed the car and killed herself. The adolescent daughter moped about this, but brightened up a bit when she found out about boys and how the family was moving to Italy. The younger, the mini-child killer, tended to have bad dreams and shout a lot for her mummy. I was thinking the film would pan out to the Don’t Look Now kind of territory.

No. Actually I was thinking about Geneva and how I once dogged the train into Switzerland. There were four of us. I’d heard them speaking English and told them not to bother trying to sleep in the train station as the police were checking tickets and flinging those without tickets out of the Paris stations. They asked where I was sleeping and I shrugged. I did a lot of shrugging in those days. Next thing we were like the Famous Five, only there were four or six , of us, I can’t quite remember or it varied. Anyway I was the hat man. That’s the guy that looks mean when the money’s being collected after the strumming guitars have been played. Well, in those days I’d hair which was a kind of skill in itself, though I didn’t know it at the time and I didn’t look so mean. I might even have smiled. There was another guy there with one arm. Actually, he had two, but one was useless, just hung there and the surgeons advised him to get it cut off. I advised him to keep it. Just like hair, you don’t appreciate these things until you no longer have them. I think we split up at Carcossne or something and some of us jumped on the train. I remember it getting just outside Switzerland and just as we thought we were in; the train running backwards. We thought we were caught. But then, miraculously, it crossed the border into Geneva. No tickets. No ticket inspectors. No border control, but it was a Sunday. I think we slept in a bandstand and a guy picking up leaves or something wakened us. It was cold. The amazing thing was he spoke English. The equivalent would be one of our bin men speaking German/French or Italian. I bet he was on the minimum wage of about £2000 an hour. Swiss people are rich.

Anyway, Genova, not Geneva. It was a happy ending of sorts. I never did make it as a hat-man.