all embracingQ. What was the inspiration for ‘All Embracing’?

A few years back I’d ended a relationship and was waiting in Liverpool Street Station watching people meet and greet, hugging each other affectionately. It was Christmas and there were large groups gathering and embracing and I was suddenly struck by a huge wave of envy. What would it be like to never hug or hold somebody again? I wondered what would you do if that was true and I saw two groups of friends meeting and exchanging hugs and cuddles and wondered if I could sneak in and get one. Of course I didn’t, but I did the next best thing and wrote about it. By the time my train journey home ended I had got the first draft down. I read it to a writers group I went to, and afterwards there was a long silence, almost shock and sense it was a bit spooky. I could tell it was quite powerful so I worked on it.

Andy Love, a filmmaker friend of mine, was keen to direct a short. I showed him the story and a few months later, there I was with Andy and twenty other people re-enacting the hugs in Liverpool Street Station. It took a lot of takes and after an hour and nearly a hundred hugs or more everybody was a bit high and nobody wanted to go home. They just stood there grinning, wanting more. It made me laugh. And just at that time St Pancras was being refurbished and had unveiled the embrace sculpture – it’s huge near the Eurostar platform. Well, we went and filmed that and sneaked it into the film.

It’s been in a few festivals and it always gets people talking – is it sad or silly, impossible or tragic? It’s up to the viewer and reader. That’s lovely, that a small piece of my writing gets a response like that, and I never thought it might become a film. Oh, and by the way we got back together again, so that’s really good.

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