In 2006, the skeletal remains of a #London #Woman were found in a flat, where she had lived alone, and had died three years earlier, unbeknownst to anyone. Due to the body’s advanced state of decomposition, the cause of death was unknown, as was the woman’s identity. She had been discovered after her rental arrears had climbed into the thousands of pounds, and officials from the local council, from whom she had been leasing the flat, forcibly entered her #Home. The #Television was still on, tuned into BBC1, the channel she had been watching when she died; the unsympathetic world flickering unceasingly before her amaurotic eyes.
She was later identified as #JoyceCarolVincent, a 38 year old woman of Caribbean descent. And by all accounts beautiful, beloved and the last person in the #World anyone would have ever expected to die #Alone.
How could this have happened in London in the 21st century and to someone so young? Who was she? How had she lived?
The story fascinated independent filmmaker #CarolMorley, who decided to uncover more information about this woman via a #Film / #Documentary - Dreams of a Life
She transpired to be as enigmatic in #Life, as she had been in #Death.
London, where she had lived her whole life, is, paradoxically, both hyper- #Social and extremely isolating at the same #Time. You are surrounded by #People constantly, most of them strangers, all of them on the move, every hour of every day, unsettled and unsettling. You acquire the manners of a megacity dweller.
Joyce had been the consummate #City girl of 1980’s London, a place and a woman on the move. She’d had a high-flying job in finance and an eclectic group of #Friends. Most of whom remember her fondly. How pretty she was, how composed and elegant and how unthinkable it was that this woman with such gazelle-like grace could meet such a #Sad end.
She died the type of death that people joke about. Bridget Jones famously surmised that she would die alone, a spinster, and be found six months later half-eaten by Alsatians.
But not someone like Joyce - She had never been short of boyfriends or suitors. Two of her boyfriends who participated in Dreams of a Life recalled her in such a #Way that one was left with the impression that the lovely Miss Vincent had left an indelible mark on their #Hearts. This was someone #Unforgettable.
So how had she lain seemingly forgotten for so long?
It would appear #Pride
The details are hazy but the facts pieced together from before she died indicate that she had fallen on hard times. There were rumours of an abusive relationship: she had spent time in a battered woman’s home before she had moved into the council flat where she had died. Friends were incredulous when they discovered that this had been her final resting place. They could never picture her living somewhere like that. Not #Successful #Ambitious Joyce.
Ashamed of this and not wanting to expose herself or expose her weaknesses, she had shut people out. She’d drifted from place to place. No one knew where to find her. An old friend, during an interview in the film, recounted an incident where she’d bumped into Joyce in the street, she’d called out to her, and Joyce had purposefully put her head down and walked on, refusing to acknowledge her. “If that’s the way you want it”, her friend had thought.
We are caught up in the endless, rushing stream of life. Our lives tragically temporal, passing, ephemeral. We live, we die.
#JoyceVincent - Perhaps we all know her in some way.
Morley’s 2011 film #DreamsOfALife will be shown on #Channel4 Freeview #February7th 2013 at 10pm #PeopleAreNeverJustNumbers