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Mick, Mick, what's the trick.

He was an alien. That's what he said he was, anyway. And I believed him.

Mick O'Dowd was from Birmingham, England, originally. Between him and Nick Rhodes, I'm inclined to think that the place is some kind of landing site for a race of intensely creative and utterly bizarre individuals.

I think the first time I saw him, he was working with a Polish poet in a strangely compelling performance. The Polish poet would read a line in Polish and Mick would read a line (the translation, presumably) in English, in that fabulous accent of his. They read from pages that they would fold into paper airplanes and throw into the audience when they were through. I kept some of them.

I met him properly at the show memorializing the late Panorama Ray. (Mick was the last person to see him alive and the first person to see him dead--he dropped by to visit just as Ray was having a heart attack.) He inquired about the confetti I was still covered in (something had happened downstairs--I can't even remember that part clearly) and we struck up a conversation from there. When I gave him my phone number, he clapped his hands together, once, loudly, as if to say "Done!" He did that a lot.

He lived in a semi-decrepit house in Cabbagetown, back before the place had been gentrified to death. The place had originally been a boarding house and Mick said he could still feel the lives that had been through there. He remarked that he hadn't moved in as much as . . . infiltrated.

I saw him act in tiny plays and one low-budget film. He usually wound up playing villains, the way Brits in America tend to do. Clever but dangerous men.

At one point, I'm not even sure why it was brought up, we were comparing medications. He'd been given a prescription for Wellbutrin, but he couldn't afford it, so he didn't bother. "It's cheaper to be crazy," he shrugged.

I'd been wondering what he'd been up to. Fell out of touch. Read his obituary this morning. He'd been hit by a car. Just like that. Gone.

Fires like him aren't supposed to go out like that.

Rest in peace, Mick. Say hello to Ray for me.