I must admit, on being booked to shoot with Guthrie and Alex I had no idea who either of them were. I was told that Alex was known around the world and Guthrie was “Britain’s best kept secret” and had toured with Dizzee Rascal among others. I looked on the internet for some more information to be prepared and get inspired for the photo shoot.
I was impressed. Very impressed, and was looking forward to the shoot.
We met up in Hackney at a photo studio I use often. Guthrie arrived first and we spoke a little while I set up my lights. Alex arrived shortly after, suitcase of clothing and suggested that they have a jam as he had all his live gear in the car from a show the night before. Guthrie was well up for the idea and I was of course eager to hear them both play. It would bring a natural approach to the shoot as I could tell neither of them was ecstatic to be posing for shots, but know it’s a necessary evil for promotion.
They jammed for about 3 hours. At times I had to remember I was there to be taking pictures as it was like a performance but just for me! Once our time was up at the studio, Alex suggested that we all grab a bite to eat together. I had bought some sandwiches to munch on the train home at the end of the shoot, but tossed them aside for this opportunity.
None of us knew Hackney at all, so we got as far as the nearest pub that looked like it had a food menu of some sort. We walked in and tumbleweed went past. It was dead in there. Our bellies spotted a hand written food menu which didn’t look all too appealing but we were there and the beer was there so we sat down.
Guthrie ordered a beer and beef burger meal, as did I. Alex ordered a chicken burger meal and was told by the chef after he umm-ed and ahh-ed that he had in fact never cooked that before but assured Alex it would taste nice. Our eyes popped out of our heads and we tried to hide our sniggers. You can tell it’s only going to get worse.
As the “chef” wandered off I noticed that he was holding one hand out of sight and when he opened the swing door to the kitchen his hand was covered in a blue plastic bag! I told Alex and Guthrie of this and we waited eagerly. Our meals appeared in quick succession, but only one at a time. It was clear there was a problem with the chef’s hand. Mine arrived first, and then Guthrie’s which almost landed in his lap from the clumsy chef. Finally the elusive chicken burger arrived, with an apology that he couldn’t be faster as he had a “gammy hand”. We turned as he went to the kitchen, minus the blue bag this time and what looked like a sock covering his “gammy hand”.
We didn’t know what to do, so being the polite English that we are (?!) bravely ate the food hoping the beer would kill any germs or even numb the pain if the food was bad. Guthrie pointed out we should all let each other know that we got home ok and give updates of any suspicious stomach incidents that may occur in the following days.
The pub incidentally was The Crooked Billet, and thankfully sock hand man didn’t poison us either.