One of my favourite photographs I've ever taken is not terribly in focus, accidentally tilted, and definitely over lit in a few places. I love it because it's a photo that perfectly captures a very precise moment of time in a way that few other photos I've ever taken have done, and looking at it brings back a whole flood of memories.
It's a photo of my sister standing outside the entrance to the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool. It was her first visit to the city and we zipped into the venue just so she could say she'd been, but the heat and humidity in the basement club quickly forced us back outside. Amelia dutifully stood in front of the entrance for an average Beatles fan photo, only the moment captured was a mixture of half shock, half elation as she looked sideways towards the stairs coming up to street level.
What you can't see in the frame is Sebastian Coates coming up the stairs, nor the fact that not an hour earlier we had passed Andy Carroll on the street but were too stunned to say hello. The odds of running into one player out and about in town were quite slim, but to run into another later the same day? Surely the odds can only be represented using scientific notation or, in this case, visualized in my sister's facial expression.
Coates had with him a camera person and an interviewer and we presumed they were filming a clip for LFCTV since the Uruguayan had only just signed with the club three weeks earlier. Take him out to the major sites, work the Beatles into it somehow, the usual. He was slightly surprised to be recognized on Mathew Street, but had a nice chat with a woman who also happened to be Uruguayan. Despite our failure with Andy Carroll, we were still too shy to approach Coates even though he was literally. Right. There.
We left Coates speaking with some fans and continued to walk around the city centre while having minor heart attacks. Given its rather labyrinthine pedestrian-only streets, it wasn't all that surprising to run into Coates and his crew a second time and, emboldened by the fact that he was not trying to keep a low profile, this time we finally had the guts to ask for a photo. It's another high-quality image to add to the first, as I have a huge grin on my face and my eyes were firmly closed as I laughed at some joke our dear Seba made. We thanked him and wished him good luck on the season, and we all went on our merry ways (some more merry than others).
The video clip never did air on LFCTV, which I may or may not have checked regularly for a month afterwards. It wasn't until Christmas that I stumbled across it on Tumblr, recognizing myself in my Dirk Kuyt kit in the background on YouTube's default paused image for the video. It was a Christmas miracle!
Coates' Liverpool career to date has been underwhelming to say the least, largely due to lack of opportunity and now major injury. But I'll always have that moment right at the beginning of his time here when he was kind to two random foreign fans in the street, even though he was still probably not quite settled himself in his new surroundings. For this reason I will always have a soft spot for Seba, and very little that happens in the future could do much to change that.