Once I made him so angry he threw a brand new kettle overboard. But sure you can't spend seven years on top of each other without one of you lobbing a small appliance into the ocean eventually. Before I knew it he was out the lab door and the damn thing was soaring into the english channel.
Colleagues then friends, something else entirely for a year, then simply essential to each other in that hectic existence. Crestfallen either of us if we bounded up the final flight of stairs to Deck 13 to find the lab door shut and the other not there. Yet we could torture each other. Once, he barely spoke to me for an entire world cruise. Thats three months you know. My favourite photo of him amongst the thousands is a faded tourist polaroid with a koala bear collapsed against his shoulder in the Whitsundays. Yet he was a right bugger that day. The bugger.
The corporate monkeys squeezed ever harder and the life got more and less unbearable in eddies. But we fielded everything they threw at us, and a fair amount we threw at ourselves. We had a system, I took things apart and he put them back together again. Occasionally we took each other apart. All notwithstanding the adventures were gargantuan. We taught ourselves everything we know. In no small measure we are both now in part the product of that friendship. The quietest moments were some of the loveliest. Pulling rank to slip off to, oh what was that bar on Arcadia, for a drink between sittings.An extraordinary photographer and the talent squandered, shame. He had a particular eye for clever detail. He'd shoot half a roll to my six full ones. But he made every frame worthy. I have two prints framed on my wall now, I've waited a long time to get them there and I still admire them. Details picked off a skating rink, a faded red line under the ice, a dash. Like evidence from some old murder still waiting to be solved.
I thought about him today as I ran on a spring evening in County Antrim. How he influenced my photography. And other things besides. There's very little of him in my new life. Some scratches of pink under old ice and the odd phone call.