One of the first things I learned about Tommy is that he has a little Irish blood in him – I reckon that smile is 99% Irish blood ;).
Pretty much the next thing that I learned about Tommy is that he loves life – and again, doesn’t that smile tell the story ;).
Tommy is from Dunston (which is quite a coincidence because at the time I approached Tommy I was listening to AC/DC – whose lead singer is also from Dunston) but he’s long since retired as a bricklayer and when asked what he liked to do with himself I learned that he is a member of the Irish Centre – a private club that I myself belong to so I will need to keep my eyes open lest I see him again. He is a member of a local Labour Club as well and when I approached him he was waiting for his mate prior to enjoying the hospitality of the Percy Arms so I think it is safe to say that Tommy is making good social use of his retirement.
I struggled to hear every word he said (as did he struggle to understand me) but he liked to talk so I did little to guide the conversation. Dancing cropped up several times – he obviously greatly enjoys dancing (and did a wee shimmy by way of demonstration in the middle of the street on at least a couple of occasions) joking that it helps keep him young.
He told me a story about one time when he went to a function where it was £4 for a pint of John Smiths … "****** that" he thought and went and sat down but later when he got up for a dance he came back to his seat to find a pint sat waiting for him. A while later the same thing, up he gets for a dance and when he got back there was a pint, sat waiting for him. There was a wonderful twinkle in his eye as he related this story!
After a bit he changed tack and I thought he was going to say goodbye but instead he asked me what my name was and shook my hand again when I reintroduced myself – he was obviously intrigued by the project now rather than simply agreeing to a photo as he had done at first. When he asked how he could see the photo I handed him one of my cards as I had pocketed it earlier when he said he didn’t ever use the internet and he studied it carefully before asking what he needed to do – did he need to ring up to get it – I simply assured him that anyone that was familiar with a computer would be able to help him. I hope he does look at the photo and likes it – it makes me smile when I look at that smile ;).
Tommy, thanks very much for taking time out to talk to me today – perhaps some day I’ll get the chance to buy you a pint of John Smiths in the Irish Centre to say thanks.
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #88 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page