Tag Archives: street photography

Known to the Police

Four months ago, I had a strange confrontation late one Friday night. I was walking home (rather drunk) at 1am, photographing anything that looked interesting. I was almost home, and took a photo of a corner house just down the street from mine, because it had an interesting looking white box on the side wall. When I got around the front of the house, I noticed a student couple were sitting on the front wall. The guy asked me “why are you taking pictures of this house?”

“Because I want to. It’s what I do.”

“But it’s *her* house. Why are you taking pictures of it.”

“Because it’s what I do. Why are you sitting on that wall?”

“That’s different, it’s *her* wall. It’s *her* house. Why are you taking pictures of it?”

“Because it’s what I do. Why are you sitting on that wall?”

This continued a few times, then I walked off, as the conversation was obviously going nowhere and I wanted to get home. When I did, I printed out the photo, scribbled the words “and why not?” inside the
white box, and posted it through her front door (as you do).

I thought no more of it. Until tonight.

Gill has started working in a pub nearby. One of the students who drinks there was burgled recently, and tonight several of them were swapping local horror stories.

Somebody starts up… “one night we were sitting outside our house and somebody started photographing it. We asked him why and he wouldn’t give a proper explanation. That night, he posted a photograph of our house through the door, we were really scared so we phoned the police and gave them a description of him. The police said that the description matched somebody they were looking for…”

Gill said “that’s not a dangerous criminal, that’s my husband”.

King’s Road, Chelsea

Walking down the King’s Road at lunch time, saw an old woman standing on the very edge of the pavement, facing along the road. She was stiller than a statue, stiller even than a street performer pretending to be a statue. Her eyes were trained on the traffic at a fixed point in the distance, scanning the incoming data for a pattern matching that of a London cab. Her arm was raised to a horizontal in front of her, minimizing the time and effort required to lift it up 45 degrees once a taxi came into view. Arresting.

Luckily not arresting were the many yellow-coated policemen scattered in front of shops at intervals along the King’s Road. Obviously something big about to happen. Two of them, a short one and a tall one, reminded me of the two stupid policemen that used to crop up from time to time on the Young Ones making inane comments:

[Two policemen are standing guard.]

COP #1: ‘Course you see, I look at life like this. <TILTS his head>

COP #2: Why’s that? Problems?

COP #1: Yeah. Had a heavy bust-up this morning with my lady.

COP #2: W. P. C…?

COP #1: Dunno, I never could remember her name… umm… it’s got a four in it, it’s got a four, ’cause I remember, it was a round one, like that.  <DRAWS circle in the air>

COP #2: Has it got a tail?

COP #1: Yeah.

COP #2: <PAUSE>That’s a Q.

COP #1: Yeah?

COP #2: Yeah. Pretty sure.

COP #1: We’d been goin’ out ‘kin years.

COP #2: <PAUSE>How long?

COP #1: ‘kin years…I reckon if I played me cards right, I could’ve, you know…<BENDS his knee inward>

COP #2: Kneed her in the groin?

COP #1: No, the other one.

COP #2: Slept with her?

COP #1: Yeah.

COP #2: Yeah.

COP #1: I reckon I could have slept with her, if it wasn’t for something I said. But we had a row, and uh… I said something about the Pope.

COP #2: That’s a bit stupid, you know she’s Catholic.

COP #1: Yeah, I know she’s Catholic, I didn’t know the Pope was.

COP #2: Heh. That’s a laugh, eh, ain’t it?

COP #1: What?

COP #2: That noise you make in the back of your throat when you hear a joke.

COP #1: Yeah, that’s a laugh. <NODS>

COP #2: <NODS>

[The shot of the cops freezes and expands, as it becomes a photo on
the front page of The Guardian, which RICK is reading. The headline says, “POLICE I.Q. SHOCKER”.]