Back in he day when hand printing was the norm and longevity was a lot more certain, a man known simply as Len would deliver paper, chemicals and the odd can of air. A lovely chap full of life and always a guaranteed twinkle in his eye. The twinkle was probably due to his wife who was twenty years younger, incredibly attractive and Spanish... Often we would chat over coffee and the smell of sulphur and he would tell me which photographers he liked best and if it was at all possible to get a signed print from the likes of Tezza O'Neill or maybe Dazza Bailey. Not surprisingly Len did often obtain quite a few signed prints, and this was simply down to being just plain nice.
The last time I seen Len was about ten years ago when he told me he was taking early retirement and moving to Spain with his wife and young daughter. He'd had enough of London and just wanted a quite life with his lovely missus drinking sangria on a Spanish rooftop.
Imagine my delight (and surprise) when the paper delivered to the darkroom today was in the hands of my old chum Len. It was however a little sad to see the man who told me "Bailey's not a Twat hes a C**t" looking so frail and old. The twinkle had gone and he was but a shadow of his former self. He went on to tell me that his wife had almost destroyed him and turned out to be quite the dark eyed physco, hence the move back to London and his former job..
After chatting about the olden days and reminiscing a wee bit we said our goodbyes and I have to say I really felt for the fella. But just as I was about to go back to the darkroom those old familar words called out; "Got any signed prints I can have off-a-you govnor?" It was just like old times and within five minutes Len had an original Doyle fresh from the processor. He took his print, thanked me and winked as he said goodbye. The twinkle hadn't gone, it had just lay dormant...