On Wednesday I was in the other city, “Not-Sunderland” as the locals call it. It was my first time back in months after living there for a considerable amount of time. My motive was an all day screenwriting seminar at the Tyneside Cinema from a L.A professional.

I caught the train to the city just before eight, the platform was wet but it hadn’t been raining. As we passed through Durham I was reminded of all the recent deaths and felt a terrible chill. I thought I saw a childhood friend board at Durham station but it was a lookalike, some imposter, a dopplelgänger sent to trick me into glancing at them multiple times.

“The universe is playing games today.” I thought to myself.

We made good time. I arrived just after the rush of commuters so the city was eerily quiet. The city had been dead to me for some time so to see it as a ghost was fitting. A daytime drunk hobbled along the path from the station, spouting something about someone named Jenny and a missed bus. You’ve all seen the type. You know of the sorrow.

I met a couple of likeminded people at the Tyneside Cinema before the seminar and shot the breeze whilst trying to grasp at similar interests. We were the youngest there, being students of the game. Most other attendees were retired folk, probably seeking advice so they can add the final touches to that screenplay they’d been meaning to write for the last forty years. They just couldn’t find the time between work and kids but now’s their chance. Makes me realise I’m in a fortunate position with my degree choice.

The professional talked of secondary characters and by the end of the morning had provided me with the answers I needed regarding my feature length script. The day was already worthwhile.

We broke for lunch and went for a slice of pizza. My ex and I used to go there often and as our relationship declined so did the quality of the food they served. Yet on Wednesday the pizza was back on form, in fact I believe it to have been the most delicious slice I’ve ever consumed. Pizza knows things man, it’s operating on a higher level than most other food-stuffs.

Us young writers grabbed a coffee and talked of techniques and television. Psychedelics and protagonists. We had an hour to kill and filled it with words from our current headspace. Being around similar people who are walking the same path is encouraging on many levels, for the most part it’s a reminder that nobody is alone in this. Remember that.

The afternoon session included many clips on a VCR. I hadn’t realised that the industry still dealt in such formats. It was strange to see clips from Dallas Buyers Club flicker and dance as the machine tracked the content. The cuts between clips were violent and sometimes nauseating. Of course, the damn thing kept breaking.

Afterwards I went on a date. I was still hyped from multiple espressos throughout the day so I believe I was more talkative than normal. We went to see Naruse’s final film at the very cinema I’d spent the entire day in. In the same room and coincidentally in the exact same seat. Which I find more peculiar than mystic pizza. During the day I had chosen a seat at random yet the evening seat had been allocated to me. Had they been watching me? Who are “they”?

The train ride back was rushed bumpy, I felt as though the driver could have taken his time in some of the more scenic places. I crashed pretty hard from the espressos and thought I saw a different childhood friend across the aisle.

Another damned imposter, they’re all out tonight.