On 6 July 2002, just outside his home village of Waterbeach, Stuart Shorter was hit by the 11.15pm London to King's Lynn train, and was killed instantly. He was 33 years old.
Stuart, A Life Backwards, is a biography by Alexander Masters of his friend Stuart Shorter. It explores how a young boy, somewhat disabled from birth, became mentally unstable, criminal and violent, living homeless on the streets of Cambridge. Then he became an activist by helping the homeless, presenting a documentary on BBC2 and being the leading figure on the campaign to release Ruth Wyner and John Brock, the Director and Day Centre Manager of Wintercomfort for the Homeless. The book was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Awards in 2005 for biography, and the 2006 Hawthornden Prize. It won the 2005 Guardian First Book Award. Recently many secondary schools across the UK have included it in their higher education academic syllabus for English language.
It was made a movie called just like that, Stuart A Life Backwards starring Tom Hardy as Stuart Shorter and Benedict Cumberbatch.
This is one of the movies that most touched me, very deeply. When I saw it for the first time, in the end I was speechless, I cried, I felt hungry, I was so sad. This is the best performance ever of Tom Hardy, and the one that had me.
Never forget, don't judge people because you know nothing about their struggle in this life, in their mind. And don't look bad to others just because they don't fit in society regular standards, who are we to say what is right and not?
The best words from Stuart was that, besides all the bad things it did happen to him, he just regret the day he found out violence. And that violence was just to protect him, but, even that, he regret.
A life lesson. A brilliant disturbing performance of Mr. Tom Hardy. It blows you away.
Thanks so much for the book, thanks so much for the movie. And thanks Stuart, wherever you are, for your work as an activist for the homeless and for reminde us that we can fight back our demons inside us and give a voice to help others.