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Monday, April 02, 2012


when you look like me you get used to people passing comments. look like me and carry a camera and you get used to questions. every now and then you get hit with something so left-field it just leaves you flummoxed. years ago i was leaving work with my pal paul. we made our way to the tube station; we may have been going to the gym or the cinema, we were glad to be out of the warehouse. waiting for the tube we were probably chatting some shit as to who was strongest thor or superman (look to some of us this is important stuff). as we continued to debate a bloke plonked himself on the end of the bench. he interrupted our fanboy flow to ask paul if he had ever considered becoming a bouncer because he had the right thighs for the job. there was an awkward silence after that. we were very pleased when the tube arrived. i was reminded of that incident today when i was questioned. i was standing by tottenham court tube station, chatting to a mate (hi rich) we were about to go our separate ways after having enjoyed some grub. my bag was slung over my shoulder in a jack baur or kwai chang caine style, depending on your cultural reference points. i was wearing jeans and a white suit shirt from marks and spencer’s, naturally it was worn outside of the jeans (tuck in? behave). as ever my arms were in a folded position, just resting on my rotund tum. i was blathering on about something or another. a hand tapped me and a voice said ‘excuse me’. i turned to look and was greeted by a very tall and built like a brick shithouse black guy. he was dressed in trendy sporting gear, unlike so many other, he and his equally large friend looked like they spent a fair amount of time in the gym. he continued: ‘can i ask? do you teach the martial arts?’ i really didn’t want to disappoint him but i had to be honest and said, pointing at my stomach, ‘i wish, but not with this.’ they both laughed and said something about senseis with large guts. we all laughed. we shook hands and he moved off. neither richard nor i could work out what had made him think i might be a master of the martial arts. i am now wishing i had asked the simple question: ‘what makes you think i am?’ i didn’t. no doubt my martial art teacher doppelganger could have taken both of them, me i was just chuffed that someone might have thought that i could impart the wisdom of the warrior to them – east london’s very own steven seagal (well we are both overweight). such is the stuff of legends, and ealing comedies, made of.

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