A bit of hunting around found that the Times has the same information although presented with less enthusiasm. The BBC even caught up eventually.
Made late for work by the need to check this wasn't just hysterical rumour and then the need to tell people, I have spent the day in a fug of puzzlement. I was never close to Kevin, in fact I hardly ever saw him after he moved into his own flat - in spite of his regular encouragements to come and see his TARDIS. He came to Edinburgh because of someone I never got on with, which put him at a disadvantage, but it became clear to me after a few weeks that I had far more patience for his sort of behaviour than most. The broken and the needy make me go all maternal.
For a while after getting into his new place people would try to invite him out to socialise. We would say "Come for coffee, we're just around the corner"; about 1am would then come a reply, "Sorry was asleep. Come over for classic Peter Davidson eps?" His erratic sleep cycle and apparent fear of external socialising meant that the only people he saw were those who could fit into his schedule and many, I think, gave up after a while. Occasional tales of him breaking down in tears when with relative strangers gave me pause for thought, but no matter how much effort I made to include him and get him to do things, I only ever saw him on occasion when bumping into him on the street.
Instead, our communications were electronic. Every few weeks, if I hadn't heard anything from him, I would send him a (mostly tongue-in-cheek) message, "Just your monthly Kevin's-not-dead-is-he? checkup," which he seemed to take in good humour. During one of his bad spells I fielded calls and Facebook chatting from 11pm til after 1am, eventually putting my phone on silent as he kept trying to convince me to visit despite all of my protestations. He was never easy to be friends with - unless you were up for late night benders at short notice on a school night.
About three weeks ago he called me, from a new number, and asked if I wanted to come over for a Peep Show night, saying it was like a dry run for getting people round when the next Dr Who special was to be on. I told him I probably wouldn't make it; I wondered if he actually had any friends in Edinburgh who would be up for it.
In the weeks since then I kept thinking that I should get in touch, usually as my bus passed his house, and yet on a couple of occasions when I was not in the mood for lengthy distractions I consciously closed Facebook when I saw he was online because I didn't want to risk being caught up in late night dialogue. Guess who feels like a proper shit now?
It's some dark comfort to see that so many people are moved by this tragic, though not really surprising, death. I wonder if knowing the reaction would have prevented his actions, or perhaps encouraged tham? At writing, Facebook has had 40 comments on his last words (Kevin McGee thinks that death is much better than life), all but three of which have come since the news broke today. Once of his Facebook friends said "can't believe i was sitting there in you flat on friday night, now you're gone. better luck and happiness in next lifetime, hope to catch up with you then. x". On one site someone remarked:
his eyes sparkled when he smiled and he had mad hair that looked like it had never seen a brush never mind a comb. He always seemed happy doing whatever he was doing. Just goes to show, doesn’t it? His skin was milky-white and he had a wee little nose that made me want to squeeze it on the few times that I saw him. He dressed like he didn’t give a damn but impressed me with his own sense of style. He laughed at himself and never at others (as far as I know) and I wish he had stayed around.
He bought a puppy a few weeks ago. He was planning to meet a friend who was going to be in town later in the month. He was looking forward to Dr Who. People who saw him only days ago had no idea this might happen. I can't help but wonder if this was a sudden change in outlook or rather a horribly bungled cry for help. He had certainly done similar things in the past.
It feels almost surreal. My gut says that this is like someone deleting from Facebook or similar online communities only to return weeks or months later so they can get away from it and see what people say about them when they're not there. I have no belief system in place to explain this, but I can't help but suspect that somehow he is posthumously aware of the fuss.
I would never claim that I have lost a wonderful friend in this, for that would be unfair to his ex, Matt, who has backed out of his show for the time being, and Kevin's mother who was very close to him. But I do feel terrible for not having tried harder. Might-have-beens can't bring him back. Let's learn from this and be more attentive with our friends, especially the fragile ones who deserve our care.
For want of a lesser cliche, rest in peace Kevin. I can only hope that it was worth it.