Every so often, Hibs run tours of Easter Road Stadium, otherwise known as the Holy Ground or the Leith San Siro. The tours are run by a really nice gent called Tom Wright, the curator of the Hibernian Historical Trust who have done great work showing off our club’s history around the ground. I went on a tour about a year ago on a grey January afternoon and I enjoyed it immensely. Being in one of my favourite places on the planet and getting to see behind-the-scenes was an absolute pleasure. During the tour, though, one of Hibs’ PR guys kept getting the group together for a photo. One of the photos duly appears now and then on the Hibs Twitter and Facebook feeds, as shown below, with me on the bottom left. I should explain that I tried very hard not to be in the photograph and had to be cajoled to be in it and right at the front too.
I hate getting my photograph taken. I am quite self-conscious about my appearance and in most photographs I tend to be either gurning or have a bright red nose. Last year I was in the local paper for a Bookbug session I had delivered and not only was my nose bright red, my smile was wonky and the paper got my name wrong, to top it all. There was a group photo taken when Langside had its 100th anniversary and I am probably the least comfortable looking one there, by smile and general demeanour. A couple of times recently, though, I appeared on Twitter delivering a class visit to primary school children at Langside, one of the photographs surprisingly quite flattering as I was focused on speaking to the group of children massed in front of me, my face pale and hair slicked up and not at all out of place, a very rare event indeed.
A high percentage of photographs taken of me in the last few years involve me in a costume or with someone in a costume. An exception is the photograph I have of me and the Scottish Cup, taken after our game with Dundee United in October. In our living room is a photograph the day we went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I don’t think I have ever shared here my deep love of Wallace and Gromit. Indeed I drink out of one of two mugs in our house. One bears the image of David Gray just having scored the winning goal in the Cup Final, the other has Wallace and Gromit and the legend ‘It’s Like No Cheese I’ve Ever Tasted’, which I think can pretty much sum up my outlook on life. Anyway, the photograph shows me standing next to someone in a Gromit costume. Other photographs exist of me dressed up at various museum events, as pirates, vampires or as 1960s people. I say they exist, hopefully they have been expunged by now.
The first time I saw the tour photograph, I was slightly bothered. Now I am not at all fussed, even while I was quite spotty in the photo concerned. It’s like speaking to a group. The first time makes you nervous, the hundredth time is familiar and comfortable, just another bit of business, well, mostly.