Solid Air

On a hot July afternoon I stood with my father outside the Glasgow Film Theatre. We had just watched the cast and crew screening of Solid Air, based loosely on his experience of attempting to claim compensation for asbestos poisoning, the result of years working away from home in shipyards, refineries and power stations.

The screening was made especially poignant as, only weeks before, my father and I had attended my mother’s funeral; a wife, like so many others, whose married life was sundered by the demands of his work.

What compelled me to make the film was the heartbreaking revelation of how, in search of a witness to testify in court, my father contacted his former workmates only to find they had all died. All of them. Following his case closely, I eventually accompanied my father to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to witness the deal struck between lawyers and insurers that resulted in his derisory out-of-court settlement.

A man of few words, he offered no opinion of my film nor did I ask. Instead, at the entrance we held onto each other a little longer than we normally would. As he walked away, without turning, he said very quietly, “I’m so proud of you.” It was a moment worthy of a movie and one I will always treasure.

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Solid Air poster