No, not McQueen. This is Tucker. Tuck. One of my favorite people in Berlin, this man eats, sleeps, breathes cool. He can't help it, and I almost feel cool just standing next to him. Straight out of a Kerouac novel, Tuck is Rebel Without A Cause in a wife-beater tank and suspenders, motorcycle boots, greased-back hair and biker chops, pin-up girls tattooed on his arms. A sexy old camera travels with him everywhere, and a Lucky Strike cigarette hangs from his lips at every moment. He is quick to laugh, up for anything – and lucky for me, also very photogenic. He even comes with his own vintage gas mask.
Originally from Gran Canaria on the 'wrong' side of the tracks, Tucker is not his real name. I know his name, but had to kill a man to find out. (I'll never tell.) He only feels truly at peace when he's riding his motorcycle through the night, or reading at a lonely, old, classic cafe at 2am, hidden from the world, jazz playing in the background. Coffee and rockabilly music are his drugs of choice. Tuck is a rockabilly fanatic – maybe one of only a handful in all of Europe – and loves collecting vinyl, talking about his favorite songs, sharing his favorite music with the world. His life is a soundtrack, which I will happily share below.
Tucker and I met at German school in Berlin. His English is only a little better than my Spanish, so it took us awhile to get past the language barrier. At first it took each of us a half hour to tell a short story, and jokes were completely lost on us. But we would get together and go photo exploring, or drink Spanish wine and talk about life, love, heartbreak, music, travel for hours in our broken Spanglish. His passion for life is infectious. I lose myself in his bear hugs, and suddenly all my struggles disappear.
This is my photo-ode to Tucker, my beautiful, tormented friend for life, who is now back on the Canary Islands and trying to make a permanent move to Berlin. Thanks for the inspiration, Tuck!
Photos: Tucker at the Kinderkrankenhaus, Berlin, 2013
• Vaugh Monroe, Ghost Riders in the Sky • The Rumblers, I don't need you no more • Rio Rockers, Mexicali Baby • Más Birras, Apuesta por el rock and roll • Edvard Grieg, Op.46, In The Hall Of Mountain King • Moby, Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? • Hank Williams, I'M SO LONESOME I COULD CRY • LUIS EDUARDO AUTE, SLOWLY • MUSE, Can't Take My Eyes Off You • Knock 123 - Imelda May, Love Tattoo • The Ink Spots, I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire • Montserrat Caballe, Un bel di vedremo • Enrique Bunbury, Sacame de Aqui • Miss Li, Plastic Faces • Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, Henry Lee