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  • Writer's pictureKate Clarke

We're All Idiots

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

I've been going through some photographs, looking for something.

There are hundreds of them, all carefully archived and dated - Terry had a camera in his hand more often than a guitar.

There were so many trips and holidays, so many beach walks with these beautiful dogs, so many completely unguarded conversations, so many smiles - photographs make it all look so easy.

I like this not-very-good shot Terry took of me unwrapping this incredible book of photos by Sammy Davis Jr. He knew I would be delighted by it and he wanted to capture my expression when I saw it. He tracked it down and had it sent over from Canada, for Christmas.

And there we are, in his files, in Liverpool, Glasgow, Paris, Stratford-upon-Avon, visiting Jack Vettriano's Heartbreak Gallery in London, and the Gaugin exhibition at the Tate.

I'm noticing, going through his archives, how many photos he took of me without me realising he was taking them: I'm stepping into the sea, or making ripples with my sparkly shoes in the Lake of Menteith, or asleep on the couch with Sunny, or looking sandy and ragged after a day of sunbathing, or making a fire, sowing seeds, or feeding the birds in our yard. Some of these are grainy shots, taken through a grubby window or patio door. They wouldn't win any prizes.

Those photographs tell a story I had forgotten. No, that isn't true. It's worse than that. Those photographs tell a story of something I under-appreciated.

I thought I was the one who was always watching him. You know how obsessive I can be. But I had his attention, too. All the time.

And in those later years, how much time did I spend feeling insecure and doubtful about myself and about us? I undermined myself quite badly.

I'm not going lecture anyone about living in the moment. What do I know about anything at all? but I didn't always do it and I should have. Heaven knows there was nowhere better for me to be.

But how many times did we smile at each other through a camera lens and mean it? Hundreds, maybe thousands.

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