I met him at a party a couple of years ago: if you never did, this may mean that the difference between you and me is that I admired his dress sense as well as his writing.
I remember being at the buffet, turning around and being immediately introduced to him. Did I have time to put the plate down? Can't remember. And I do know the conversation turned quickly to football, which meant therefore I was instantly bewildered, but he stopped me feeling lost. Funny thing: I talked to someone else there who I admire far less but who blanked me far more. It may have been how I was dressed, that affected how I was addressed.
So Anthony Minghella seemed a very good bloke, I liked him on the spot and I did not ask him a single question beyond "And which team is the Tigers again?" or the like.
I think I'd be shocked by his death regardless; his television work as much as his film, his writing and his directing. And he was just 54. But I'm reeling, and also feeling like a name-clanging prat for reeling at you like this: he was a friend of some friends of mine and the connection is enough to make me stagger even though I have no doubt he'd forgotten my first name by the end of my surname.