Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Missing Friend

My friend Alan Templeton went missing four months ago this week; I have avoided mentioning his disappearance here thus far because I didn't think this was the place to speculate on why he went missing or on what might have happened to him while his family has been going through a terrible ordeal trying to locate him. Like his sister Kirsten, brother Callum and his parents Douglas and Elizabeth, I believe that Alan is still with us and there have been reported sightings of him in the past couple of months in both Aberdeen and Edinburgh, from where he went missing. He left a friend's flat on the 25th of November last without his wallet and passport and there has been no contact from him since.

I knew Alan for a couple of years in Paris - he was working in Stolly's when I arrived back here two years ago. He lived here for two years and I last saw him on the football field the weekend before he moved back to Edinburgh in early October, about six weeks before he went missing. A few people, myself included, knew that he had been depressed here, though we were nonetheless taken aback by his disappearance. It appears that he had been taking anti-depressants while in Paris and stopped taking them when he returned to Edinburgh.

Despite his depression - and the mood swings that often accompany such an affliction - Alan is a laugh, one of the funniest people I know, and a man with an ineffable ability to engineer a joke out of thin air. Early one morning a couple of summers back Alan managed to persuade the entire staff and clientele of a Parisian café to vacate the premises and give the place a Marie Celeste air to freak out a friend of ours when he returned from the toilet. Shortly afterwards the two of them, seeing the door of a refrigerated van open, stepped inside for no reason other than for a childish prank. Unfortunately their timing was awry and they promptly got locked in by the driver. Their efforts to get his attention resulted in them being greeted by the pointed guns of a police SWAT team, summoned by the panicked driver. There was also the humorous anecdote related to me by Alan about when he bought a ticket to see the only film on that morning in the Denfert repertory cinema, having arrived just as it was starting. The film was called Cendrillon and he knew nothing about it; he was surprised to see that he was one of the few audience members over six years old (and at 6'4" tall, he was a bit self-conscious about this), when the credits rolled, he realised he was going to watch Walt Disney's Cinderella dubbed into French. Ever the cinéphile, Alan stayed to watch the whole thing.

Alan's friends and family have set up a MySpace page in an attempt to alert people to his disappearance, particularly in Scotland and France, and Wales, where he went to college at the University of Aberystwyth. Though few people reading this will be from any of those places, please do pass the link on to anyone you know from there that might live there. It might help. We all miss Alan and would dearly like to see him again.


Kirsten said...

Thanks for this chick. That van story is one of my favourites. I'd forgotten about Cinderella. And I never heard the one about him emptying the café :)