Saturday 3rd December 2011, Shoreditch, London
I met Leroy in a busy bar in Shoreditch on a Saturday afternoon. Outside, it was already dark. I'm still struggling to get used to how early the light disappears from London days and how it drains my energy. Earlier, I'd stumbled across the Pure Evil gallery and enjoyed chatting with the owner. He'd produced a gig poster for The Kills. They were playing that evening and I planned to go, so I bought one off him for 40 quid. He was chuffed to have some beer money for the gig and promised to buy me one later. I didn't tell him I wasn't drinking.
N had known Leroy for a while and the conversation was flowing, but I couldn't concentrate. I'd just taken delivery of the WAL invites and I was keen to test them out. I'd already done 30 propositions but the excitement hadn't diminished one bit. I stuffed an invite into Leroy's hand and readied my camera. I wanted to grab some shots right there in the bar as he digested the proposal.
Leroy looked shaken, but that quickly turned to elation. He hadn't seen his father for 7 years and begun to jabber excitedly about the possibility of a reunion. We celebrated with a curry and then headed down to Brixton to see The Kills. It was the first time I'd watched a band stone cold sober, but they were great and I was looking forward to the novel experience of driving home after a gig. The lights came on and we made for the exit...sliding past the Pure Evil posters on sale for 20 quid.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
Initially, anxiety. Once I understood it, happiness, realising how lucky I was.
The sort of joy you get when you've realised something very good has just happened for no particular reason. And then anxious again, wanting to make it count. And then happiness again, when I knew what I wanted to do.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
I want to fly my father over to me. Spend some quality time with him, face to face. I haven't seen him for a long time and I don't know when I will be able to again.
3. What are you hoping it will achieve?
The restoration of our father/son bond.
4. What does good mean to you?
To me, it's whatever produces the best consequences.
5. Did you think about spending the money on yourself and what difference the money might make to your life?
Not at first, but now I have. I will take this luck and do good. I will put some aside and use it to buy new tools. Teach a man to fish. I have come across round holes and square pegs. They don't fit.
6. Why do you think we feel good about doing something for others?
Probably because that feeling of being able to do good for someone else pushes aside our own feelings of anxiety and stress. Depression even. It's no wonder that watching someone open the Christmas gift you bought for them often feels better than opening the one they got you. Especially if it's crap.
7. What, if anything, have you learned from this experience and has it changed how you feel about giving?
That an open hand can both give and receive. So best keep it open.