Have I got a Story to Tell - Famous Roy

Robert Watcher

Mu-43 All-Pro
May 2, 2010
El Salvador / Ontario, Canada
Well did I ever have a great evening as I decided to take the hour long drive into London (ontario) to shoot some city lights with my new E-PL1.

Walking along Richmond Row, I passed an older fellow who was singing to his hearts content. I had the compulsion to ask if I could shoot a bit of video of him - - - but chickened out. I carried along a ways shooting the street scenes and lights, and then decided that it was time to head back to my van and head home to edit the results into a short video clip.

Realizing that I would be running into the man again, I prepared myself to get up the courage to ask if he minded my taking some video. Upon doing so, his response was "What do you want it for". I replied that I just did it for my enjoyment and was not profitting in any way. He agreed to sing for me - and that is what I have captured on the video.


What I found curious with this man, were the 2 plastic grocery bags between his feet - that were filled a handwidth's wide each, with what appeared to be newspapers, paperback books and I didn't know what else. The purpose of these bags would not become apparent to me, until the song was completed.

On completion of the song, I was asked my name and was informed that this man's name was Roy - - - and that he was a poet and had been published in books and had articles written about him as well as videos. Of course my initial reaction was to take what he said with a "grain of salt" . . .

. . . . and that is where the 2 plastic bags came in. Within those two bags, were this man's history and proof of his accomplishments. One by one, he produced book after book with his likeness blazoned on the cover or back - and then magazines and a Playbill for a theatrical performance. It was quite astounding the success that this man who stood on the streets before me, in ragged clothes and singing for his living - - - had experienced in his lifetime and was proud of.

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I asked if he had always lived in London and after a positive response, inquired if he knew of a "John Boyle" or of the "Nylist Spasm Band" (landmark noise band of 60's London that John was part of). He said "well certainly and how do you know him?". My reply was that John Boyle (a well known Canadian and international artist, particularly during the 60's to 80's) was my uncle. We now had a common thread and he had a trust and confidence in me.

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During our discussion, Roy further enquired about my work and let me know that there were videos on the web of him (he gave me a hand written card with the Search Phrases to find him on Youtube). Also he informed me that there is even a Wikipedia article on his life. Of course as soon as I got home, I had to look these things up on the internet - and sure enough : Roy McDonald (poet) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . It was an ironic encounter as mentioned in the last few words of the video - and I may just have to search Famous Roy out on Richmond Row in the future to carry on with our discussion:

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-anLq3FkSM"]YouTube - Famous Roy[/ame]

I used my Olympus E-PL1 with the 14-42mm kit lens. AE was set to Aperture Priority with Exposure Compensation set to minus 1 stop (-1), with Focus accomplished with the C-AF TR (Tracking mode)

Stills were exposed at f3.5 @ 1/50'th : 1250 ISO - kit lens set to 14mm.



Mu-43 All-Pro
Dec 26, 2009
new york city
did some poking around at wiki etc , what an awesome encounter ,london Ontario
seems a cool place indeed

remindes me of the better half [or 5 percent] of nyc where such fascinating souls can sometimes be encountered

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