Monday, January 7, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Re-Visited

 On this blog, in 2008, I wrote about my first year of blogging and tied it in with something that happened in my first professional year of photography 30 years ago. So, to start off 2013 and celebrate a full 30 years of carrying around a serious camera, I'm recalling that post and adding some additional paragraphs to update it - it at the end.

.....Way back in 1982, I was sent, by a picture agency, to cover the launch of a British TV 'soap' called "Brookside", at the modern, Liverpool housing estate in which it was set and filmed. I was, in every sense of the phrase, a "fledgling" freelance photographer and felt totally out of my depth, surrounded, as I was, by photographers from almost all of the British national daily papers and large circulation magazines.

At one point, during the day, I turned up a bit late, to photograph actors Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston (who, incidentally was brought up in the small town - Prescot - in which I was born and raised) who were posing as "man and wife" outside the house their characters "owned" on Brookside Close. I was fumbling with my camera so much that all of the other photographers in the press pack had finished shooting Ricky and Sue, before I had even taken my first photograph. I stood there, forlornly watching the stars walk away from the set, when (I'm not sure how) Ricky Tomlinson noticed me, and called across to his co-star "hey Sue, this lad hasn't got his pictures, come back and pose again for him, please" which she did, most graciously.

I've never forgotten that small, random act of kindness from Ricky Tomlinson. I didn't really thank him properly at the time, but I do make sure I mention it to friends, whenever I see him on TV - usually in the hit show The Royle Family (which also features Sue Johnston)......

(additional notes).....I was recently visiting my father at Christmas time, when we decided to go to a local pub for lunch - with my son and my partner. We arrived in the middle of a jam-packed pub, to discover that a Christmas party was being held for a local old-age pensioners group, and the place was in full-swing.

At first, we thought that there would be no tables available for us, and left the pub, heading for the car. We were called back by a waitress, who was outside on her break, and who suggested that we should go back inside as a table would be found for us (another small random act of kindness). We went back into the pub and a table was quickly found for us. My partner and I went to the bar to order food, and I was studying the menu when she almost shouted...LOOK WHO'S HERE!

I turned around, to see non other than Ricky Tomlinson standing right next to our table. He was the invited guest of honour at the party.

I went over and introduced myself and told the subject of my long-told story, the long-told story of his own random act of kindness to me. We had a chat, he thanked me for remembering his own kind actions, and he aksed me if I was still a photographer. unfortunately, I had moved too far away from Liverpool to be of any real assistance to this now very famous actor. He said hello to my family and  called me "kid" as we talked (which is a real term of endearment in Liverpool) and wished me well with my future work, before he left.

That chance meeting has brought my own encounter with him full circle and I'm delighted and amazed that it happened.

I hope 2013 will bring you lots of good things, both in your professional and personal lives and if you do encounter a random act of kindness - remember it. You never know when you'll get a chance to repay it - or just thank someone for it - and it could take 30 years! 

p.s. My father died on 13th March 2016. This is one of the more pleasant recent memories I had of being in his company.