I recently got a chance to go home to the UK and see my family. Having grown up in US and lived in both Los Angeles and New York, I call a lot of places home, but if home is where the heart is than my dad’s house is home to me.
It’s the same place I got brought home to from the hospital when I was born and, once my mom and I had moved to US, it’s been the place I return to during summer breaks from school and later on stop-overs during European skate trips for work.
Here’re a few of my favorite things, and people, from my latest homecoming.
It’s impossible to put into words how I feel about my dad, I can only liken it to the warmth of the sun or being pushed on a swing. He’s always had my back, he’s always been so supportive of my good and bad ideas. Even when I got arrested he didn’t judge me, he replied, “It could have been any of us, but you got caught.” When I gave up money for fulfillment, he applauded.
He makes me happy to be his kid. He makes proud of who we are, The Flemings!
On this visit we revisited our language that we’d established when I was a kid. Imagine a Scottish bear, who thought he was a pirate and was excitedly telling a story – that’s what we sound like. Frankly since how I feel about my pops is impossible to put in words, talking like a Scottish Pirate Bear is probably as close as I can get to verbalizing it.
In addition to being the best friend ever, my dad is one of the best photographers to ever hold a camera, and that ain’t bragging, that’s a fact, He’s interested in everything, and that’s helped him to live a very interesting life. His latest hobby, which I have written about at length is iaido, the japanese art of the samurai, which I fucking LOVE. I know we’re wizards, because I feel it in my bones, but now we are wizards with swords, so back up. On this trip, I had the honor of assisting my dad on a photo shoot at his dojo, which is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I got to shoot him with his classmates and with his sensei, who was surprised by my dad’s sword collection. My dad has six or seven swords, as many kimonos and other samurai supplies. I explained to his sensei that we don’t exactly dip our toes in the pool of life, we Fleming’s are nothing if not enthusiastic and we jump right in.
A dinner party was prepared and held in my honor by my amazing friend and step-mother, who’s a world class chef. On the menu -boeuf bourguignon, home-made pate’, crepes with toffee apples and vanilla ice creme and cheese, fruit and biscuits. The guests of honor were my two godfathers, my dad’s two best friends, who are also brilliant photographers. These gentlemen are the real thing and their visit gave me aching muscles from laughing so hard.
Dinner was amazing, the conversation was great and my dad dressed up, wearing his samurai socks:
My little sister is much taller than me and she is actually living in the UK on US time. She arrived home no earlier than 6AM every night I was in town. I was relieved to know that my wilder times are in fact genetic, and I need not take any responsibility! My fondest memory with the girls is either A) getting in my sisters bed with her and my step-mom to watch a revolting reality show called “Embarrassing Bodies”, which left us squeemish for the remainder of the trip, or B) wearing my sister as a backpack at 6AM, up 4 flights of stairs as she pulled a muscle while doing the splits in exchange for a jager bomb. She is 100% my sister.
Another person I was excited to see is my lovely friend Sophie, who I used to wait tables with in New York in the ’90’s. I always loved that she could say the rudest responses to customers dumb questions and never get called out, because of her disarming English accent. We had a couple of great meals and even went to the National Gallery to see some Monet, Manet, Da vinci, Caravaggio and Van Gogh.
When we talk about art in the streets in LA, it’s entirely different than in London:
In addition to seeing Sophie, I got to see the Curtis family, which includes my godson. Now that I’m frickin’ Yoda, hardly seems like a risky move, but he’s four years old now, so they really were going for it when they bestowed that honor on me! I didn’t get to shoot him because when I came in he was on the crapper, then he ate dinner, which was a production and I didn’t want to interrupt the fragile flow, then it was bathtime and I’d have been quite pedo to whip out the camera, but trust be he is pretty frickin’ cute, loud as a banshee, smarter than me, and destined for greatness. His parents are tops too.
In addition to friends and family, my other favorite’s include:
and roast beef, roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding:
In short, as much as I have enjoyed some of my tropical island trips, I think I’m gonna stick to visiting my home island. ARRRRR AARRRRR ARRRRRR!