The photographer arrives.

“I’m sorry that I’m a bit early,” says the Photographer.

I assure him that everything is all right. When you are taking part in a photo shoot it is very important to get on the right side of the photographer and convince him of your professionalism etc. so that you do not start off on the wrong foot and give him ideas that he might want to make you look an idiot.

“It’s just that I could hear you shouting ‘arghhh! arghhh! Oh fuck he’s coming!’ down the phone, when I rang for directions,” the Photographer continues.

I smile weakly at him. I must have forgotten to replace the receiver properly.

I make him a cup of coffee whilst we discuss creative direction (nb technical term.) Given the title of the book, he is keen to do some shots with me holding an electric guitar whilst pretending to play bowls. I also have some strong ideas. We discuss them for a while before finalising the concept: I will hold an electric guitar and pretend to play bowls. We walk out to his car to find a location.

“Isn’t part of the book to do with a period of time when you were a househusband?” he asks. “Maybe you could wear an apron and perhaps have a basket of washing as well?”

We get in to his car. I do not take an apron, nor a basket of washing.

Five minutes later, I am standing in a muddy field beside the main road on the brow of a hill. I attempt various poses, waving the guitar about and in the air and things whilst pretending to play lawn bowls. A man drives past in a manure lorry and sounds his horn laughing. I lift my foot in a heavy metal guitarist pose, which is wankery enough when you are resting it on an amplifier, let alone a bowls bag.

“Can you hold the guitar right up in the air by the neck?” the Photographer asks.

I hold the guitar right up in the air, and look moody at it. The Photographer snaps away. There is more hooting. The LTLP drives past, a startled look on her face.

We complete the photo shoot. There are all sorts of pressures upon creative artists such as me; I am pleased that I have retained my dignity.

15 Comments

  1. It may have looked wankery but look on the bright side, you could have given up a career as a proctologist. Just imagine what those pictures could have been like.

  2. Still disappointed there were no chickens involved. Camera hog.

  3. You could have, had you thought of it, pretended to bowl with a chicken rather than a ball. The colour would have helped offset the guitar too, I think.

  4. It is alarming how much our respective definitions of “dignity” differ.

  5. A hill? In Norfolk?!

  6. But your book already has a cover, Jonny. Look – it’s right there in that little Amazon ad further up the page. It already has bowls in it, and the tattooed arm is a fairly effective proxy for the guitar, so what do they need a picture of you for? It can’t be to increase sales, after all.

    Personally I suspect blackmail in the offing. Either that, or the so-called cameraman’s pikey mates were ransacking the cottage while you were out. The fact that his “camera” was made out of a fag packet with a toilet roll tube sellotaped on would have been your first clue, there. Good luck finding all your stuff on eBay…

  7. Well, you could have tried wearing JUST the apron as the finishing touch. . . but without the horribly unfashionable shoes!!

  8. Picture this: you’re wearing an apron, sitting on a pile of dirty laundry in a washing basket, you’re playing your guitar, one foot resting on the bowling ball.

  9. And you can Photoshop this and place it anywhere…in your backyard, surrounded by the chicken, on the bowling ground, the green it’s called, isn’t it? You can be at home, in the pub…

  10. Jonny I think you should hire Guyana Gyal as your image consultant / stylist. You’re clearly famous enough to need one now that you’re starting to get ‘papped’, and Guyana Gyal is good!

  11. Diana – I vetoed the shoes idea as well…

    This is excellent creative direction, G-G. I could put a chicken in there. And Short Tony, who does not get the credit that he deserves.

  12. Or not, thanks. It has not gone unnoticed that you do not actually have a tattoo. This could quite easily be rectified under pub-anaesthetic any Friday night. Ideas for designs welcome, preferably including girls’ names.Or boys’.

  13. Like “Jedward”.

  14. Thank you [I used to work for one o’ them big international ad agencies so the habit is still in me]. I’m doing this for free to save the chickens from the hot pot.

  15. If we’re selecting tattoos for application to Jonny’s unconscious form, ST, I vote for a My Little Pony on his arse. Maybe with a scroll underneath saying “Ride me, cowboy!”. That way he combines the universal street-cred of ink with images suitable for his toddler. Win-win!

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