As part of his A level art, Paddy has chosen photography – a smart move given his mum’s profession and her proclivity for helping others and especially her young.
Like most students and probably almost all boys, Paddy likes to leave things to the very last second to complete and submit any tasks required of him.
“…that’s why they’re called deadlines, dad!”
The atmosphere in the house is further strained because he has chosen homelessness as his topic to explore via photography. Suitably worthy, earnest and on message but not so easy to record.
Photographing homeless people is not straightforward for the myriad ethical issues it throws up. At the very least it is intrusive. Even exploitative and especially so when the ‘photographer’ hails from a nice(ish) home, which is warm and comfortable if a little untidy and in need of a general spruce.
And dangerous, given that Paddy insisted on venturing out alone with his eminently stealable smart phone. Homeless people tend to congregate in the shadows and secreted areas where drug use is an option and other nefarious activities associated with people in such dire straits.
I digress a moment because I am reminded of my friend, Gary Colman; comedian by night, doctor by day and specialising in palliative care for the homeless. Followers of The Brothers Trust will know we support a charity in Detroit called The Empowerment Plan. An organisation providing jobs for homeless/abused women to make coats/sleeping bags for the homeless. They provided us with some coats to create online content after which we found suitable recipients for them. One man, no older than my sons, is homeless close to where we live.
In a green room at a gig, I was telling Gary about this, and I explained how disappointed I was to see this young man again shortly afterwards but without his coat. I asked him about it and he explained that he had loaned it to a mate.
Gary shook his head ruefully…
“Dom, he’s not leant it to anyone. He’s sold it. Better selling a coat than his arse to some bloke in the park.”
A chastening chat and put things firmly in perspective as I headed to the stage to be funny.
Paddy’s first excursion on to the streets was not a success. As we had agreed, Paddy sought permission first and unsurprisingly, everyone he approached refused. One person requested food as payment which Paddy duly provided but then she revoked her permission and he returned home with nothing.
And with his deadline looming… and his parents’ repeating pointless observations about getting things done ahead of time only added to the maelstrom and dilemma.
What if the photos were staged or choreographed?
Mmm… this is definitely a possibility, albeit perhaps ethically dubious. But needs must. The deadline is tomorrow.
‘I could pretend to be homeless.’ Paddy suggested but Nikki quickly scotched this idea.
We haven’t needed to buy clothes for our boys since Tom became the ‘Tom Holland’ and as a result, our boys tend to lounge about in desirable clobber and shoes.
‘No, Paddy, you’re not doing that. And you can’t anyway, not in your cool clothes. You’ll never pull it off. You need someone scruffy. Someone who looks lost and down on his luck…’
At this all eyes turned to me.
My regular readers will know that throughout my stubborn career I have auditioned for many roles, even for some famous life changing gigs: Frodo Baggins for Peter Jackson (well done Elijah) and ‘Eddie’ in Eddie the Eagle (well done Taron) plus many others without a sniff of hearing ‘action’ but finally, here is a role I am a shoo-in for. Well within my skill set and I have the look for even without my lockdown beard which I am persisting with for now.
But you will be pleased to read that I refused the role of Paddy’s homeless stooge.
As much as I am onside with helping my boys, I draw the line at hitting the streets with a sleeping bag.
My well-honed moral code is at play. But also, a part of me worried that the person assessing Paddy’s project might recognise me and not that he might rumble Paddy’s ruse but that he might conclude that Dominic Holland really has become homeless. From a TV favourite to life on the streets, proving the maxim that we’re all just a few wrong decisions from falling through society’s supposed safety nets.
As usual, Nikki weighed in and off they went to get the images he needed. I stayed home with Tessa and watched telly. The best place for a dad with some abilities but only within an extremely narrow gauge.
The Empowerment Plan is just one of the many charities supported by The Brothers Trust – all of whom can be discovered on our website.
To watch me reading this blog head over to my YouTube channel.
Takes on Life Vol 2 will be published on May 1st and the first podcast of Takes on Life is scheduled for April 5th.
I have now booked five stand-up/literary gigs based on Takes on Life between May and the autumn. Details will be announced on this website for those readers who are local and would like to attend. The first gig is 6th April in Padbury, Buckinghamshire @patrickscottmorris on IG for tickets.
5 thoughts on “Not hitting the streets…”
If Paddy still needs to/ever tries to take photos again. He may want to bring sock, underwear, bras, and clean needles. Those are VERY needed and may help build some trust. If nothing else, they get a necessity even if he doesn’t get the photos in the end.
Thanks for sharing this blog. Wishing the best of everything to Paddy as he starts on the next part of his life. I have seen some of the artwork he has posted on Instagram and he is very talented.
Hats Off to him too for the choice of subject for his photography course. Raising awareness of a very sad situation whilst honing his skills and all done with empathy and kindness regardless of the eventual result.
I’m very glad that he was able to team up with his Mum and complete the assignment, even if it was by the skin of his teeth!
I have noticed that your Lads share/swap clothes amongst themselves. I think it’s lovely and just how it should be. I’m sure there are some gifted and outgrown bits as well as a fair few ‘l’ve borrowed this because the owner is out of the country, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if he knew….’ things too! Ah well, boys will be boys.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and peaceful weekend. And Happy Mother’s Day to Nikki, Granny Tess and Granny Tina. 💐💐💐
Great blog dom .
Thats a hard task! Hope he does well. Thank you for the blog Dominic!
Great blog today Dom! Paddy is braver than I am because my photography professor decided to have us go take photos of strangers for our next assignment. Wishing I had some of his bravery for this assignment 😅