The image of the television flickering over her decomposing body haunted me as I got off the train on to the crowded platform. In a city such as London, home to 8 million people, how could someone’s absence go unnoticed for so long? Who was Joyce Vincent? What was she like? How could she have been forgotten?
This story has always haunted me. I suppose it was the added detail that when her body was found, after being dead for three years, the television was still on (tuned to BBC 1) that really pushed it over the edge for me. I couldn’t figure out how it was possible that her electricity hadn’t been cut off after all that time … I guess I wanted to focus on the more mundane aspect of the story than the heartbreaking part: that a person could lie dead for three years and not be missed by anyone.
In any case, I have often wondered what became of this story, so I was quite happy to see that not only has Carol Morley pursued Joyce Carol Vincent’s story doggedly, she has created an award-winning documentary about it.
Joyce was in fact a beautiful woman with friends and ambition, which makes the circumstances of her death that much more puzzling. Much respect to Carol Morley for the light she has shed on Joyce’s life. I will have to see this film.