In memory of my friend Humphrey Davies –
I met you 15 years ago when I was a kid (barely out of school) in Cairo. You lived so generously, always — more even than the work the world has come to love, your translations, your life was a work of incredible giving and love. You gathered young, curious, smart, funny and weird people, encouraged us to take on interests and creative things, and to love the city that you knew uniquely and deeply. You stayed a friend over tumultuous radical changes in my life.
Just one odd short memory of Humphrey. I once loaned him a old copy of A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne bought in Azbakiyya. He returned it and said he was obsessed with something in it — i thought he meant a story or something in it, but it was an old photo i had found somewhere of a couple posing in the 70s used as a bookmark, which i scribbled frantic and probably ambitious lines of abstract poetry on the back (lol). He loved the weird lines, and thought maybe they had been written by someone connected to the photo. How he reacted has stayed with me for so many years and at the time made me write more poetry. I had plans to make a zombie film based based on old shadow plays with Humphrey in Siwa. He supported the weird projects of me, my friends in Berlin, and anyone he knew who had passion and good ideas.
He had a funny reserve, while being one of the warmest and best people I’ve been lucky to know. Thank you for being so interested, and thank you for the tea, the beers, the walks, the food, and for caring about the weird paths of others.
Love you, Humphrey, rest in peace