My friend, James Izzo, took a nap yesterday from which he did not wake up. I met James at Hopatcong Middle School where we bonded early on via our love of computers. James was one of the few people I knew who also had an Amiga, and we would share software and knowledge regularly. As we grew into young adults and started discovering film and music, our friendship grew stronger.
James and I (along with other friends, of course) exhausted the local video store’s supply of horror films. Once we ran out of those we moved on to more “indie” and “foreign” films. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James there would have been no Fucked Up Movie Night. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James I don’t think I would have become involved with the Sunday Night Film Club. If it wasn’t for my friendship with James I doubt my interest in independent cinema would have been piqued enough to go full-degen at the Independent Film Festival of Boston every year.
James became an electronic musician, starting the band Thread as well as side projects such as The Boy Without Hands. He worked with musicians such as Neotropic and Jarboe. But before all of that James and I discovered electronic music together. My love for artists (electronic and otherwise) such as The Magnetic Fields, Coil, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher were all kindled in one way or another in his basement in Hopatcong. Some of those artists I discovered, some he discovered, but we were always very excited to share a ‘new find’ with each other.
Over the past decade I had grown distant from James for a number of reasons. We remained in contact, but it became much more infrequent. The impact of our friendship on my life, however, is immeasurable. I learned to think critically about film and music through discussing it with James. I learned to explore new artists with James. I learned to dig deeper with James. My world just got a little smaller…