I knew I knew him. I just didn't know that I had actually taken a picture (or two) of him. Correct that...I knew him as the guy in the picture but didn't put it together that he was the same guy that became famous until two years ago. Name was the same...but my brain didn't connect.
When I was starting out as a rock'n'roll photographer in Vancouver, I went to and shot most of the concerts over the year and a half I stayed. And this guy was also at most of them. He was a writer for the hip paper known as the Georgia Straight. He reviewed the concerts. He was hot...had an accent...did I mention he was hot?...and a bit full of himself. I guess that's a useful attribute in becoming famous. (I need to work on that.) I got along fine with him. We chit-chatted at shows. We weren't best friends or anything, which is probably why I didn't give him a second thought when I left Vancouver.
A few years later I got know him the same time and way the rest of the world got to know him. As a rock star. I listened to his records. I saw his pictures in magazines. I guess when I saw his pictures I just thought he looked like a rock star I'd already seen pictures of. I didn't give a second thought to actually knowing him. Why would I? The guy I knew was a writer for a music rag in Vancouver. How would he all of a sudden be on the same stature as the kind of guys he wrote about? And I guess when I left Vancouver, I really left. And then got swept up in the struggle of creating a life for myself in L.A. Without the ability to work.
He must have left Vancouver shortly after I did. Hey, maybe he left because I was gone. Yeah, right. When he left he went home. To where his accent came from. And joined a band. And became a rock star. And then became even more famous for his philanthropic life. I left to become a struggling artist far away from home. And even though I've done a couple of things that created a minor name for myself, I'm still a struggling artist. Maybe I should have gotten to know him better. Maybe I could have learned a thing or two or three. Maybe I should have given my kids weird names. I dunno.
I know one thing for sure. I was really stupid not to put two and two together and realize the rock star and the writer at the local music rag were the same person. It's not like it took him ten years to become famous. It was more like five minutes. Maybe it was brain damage. From the serious bout of spinal meningitis I had right before I left. That's a good excuse.
Still, I feel really stupid. Hopefully claiming my stupidity will help me deal with the fact that it took a statement from one of the record reps I worked for to cause the dominoes to fall. It was a couple of years ago, when I was trying to finish up the writing on my book. I was talking to him about how I was figuring out the dates for the concerts I shot. I told him I found a scathing review of the T-Rex show I shot from the Georgia Straight. His response was, "It was probably one of Bob Geldof's." Click, click, click...in a nano-second it all fell into place. Bob Geldof was Bob Geldof. Holy fuck.
And now two years later, he pops up in one of my neg sheets. Working the same music press junket thing I was working. Me as a photographer. Him as a writer. Peers. Once upon a time.
It was this picture that I saw first. I recognized him immediately. Even though I couldn't see his face. I probably saw that gesture a hundred times before...
This is a reminder that it's time for me to get off my ass and do something greater than I've already done. Watch out, Bob Geldof, I'm gunning for you.
I have no idea as to the identity of the other people in this photo. I expect they could be the musicians Bob was writing about. If they only knew then what they know now. Like me.
On further thought, I will continue to self-deprecate over this stupidity. Writing about it today will make no difference. I just realized I wrote a shorter version of the story on my blog on May 16, 2007. And it's still bugging me two years later. I wonder if having the pictures this time will help.
And look what I've done now...this was a post to announce that Stephen Wardill correctly identified Bob Geldof in the photo. Stephen...please send me an email and let me know if you want one of the prizes...unfortunately you're across the pond so the postage is abusive. But I'm happy to look it up and let you know the damage.