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‘Beautiful havoc’: the film about the angel of death that lost its director to Covid

Steve Booth, former guitarist of scorching hot glammers Pink Grease, died before End Credits was finished. Our writer relives the Orphic odyssey that has finally brought his vision to the screen

The last time I saw Steve Booth was in September 2019, outside the Curzon cinema, where he worked, on Shaftesbury Avenue, London. We had met to talk about End Credits, a martial-arts short film we had written, and that he was due to begin shooting. But on that occasion, we barely discussed the film, drifting instead into life’s bigger business: his attempts to move out of his artists’ squat, his mum’s recent illness, my dad’s death. Moseying outside, still chatting, we agreed that art – and the struggles to make it happen – could fit in somewhere amid all of this. We just weren’t sure where. That slanted smile split his face and he gave me a hug. Then I sloped off into Soho’s bleary lights.

Just over a year later, Steve was dead, at the age of 44. He caught Covid in January 2021 and, after remaining nearly symptomless for several weeks, died suddenly overnight. His lungs were totally ravaged. He had a combination of what is known as a cytokine storm, where the body’s immune system attacks itself, and silent hypoxia. I was floored. It didn’t seem possible that this could happen to someone as exuberant as Steve. But I wasn’t alone in disbelief and grief. A few weeks later, those who knew Steve made space in their lockdown schedules for his Zoom wake. Cue several hours of anecdotes about the beautiful havoc and joy he had wreaked in life.

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