David Haag

My dear friend David Haag died on Monday. When I lived in Erskineville in the early 1990s, I’d ride my bike past his place. I didn’t know him then, but I’d look at 25 Knight Street and think, someone interesting lives there. They certainly did! It was David Haag, whose “job” was to be ill. He had HIV, Hep C and emphysema and he’d fallen off a cliff in his 20s and had been in a coma for weeks. Illness was his day job and he managed it very well, taking the complicated combinations of pills that would keep him on the planet for longer than anyone would have expected. I never knew him before he was ill, so I missed the years when he was a drop-dead gorgeous male model, a Berkeley activist, a caterer in the film industry. I got the more contemplative David, the one who loved literary fiction and loved to talk about it, who painted prolifically, who loved his three legged dog Andy, who could talk and talk and talk and always, always, be interesting. Bit by bit I got more and more of the back story. It was like a huge jigsaw puzzle, with the bits including high school and college in California in the 1960s, a brother in jail, gay life, a loving aunt, friends that went back 30 or 40 years. Every now and then I’d see how some of the bits fit together. I wished he’d write it all down, and he did, bits of it. He gathered people around him. He had a distinctive voice. I can’t believe I won’t hear that voice again, that laugh, that wit, that American-style heavy-duty swearing and cussing that he was pretty good at. Life was hard and he told you about it but he never stopped being interesting. He never stopped being David Haag. Until the other day. I’m scanning pictures and putting them up on my website at

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