By Bob Ames
I just love this job. As some of you may be aware I have been going in to Boston on weekends to photograph Spenser's offices and neighborhood. The following happened on a Sunday in the late spring of 2002.
I got off the MBTA at Kenmore Square and fought my way through the scalpers around Fenway Park who were intent on shoving tickets into my pocket (I had five bucks and a token to get me back home so it wasn't much of a temptation. Boston lost to the Devil Rays anyway but I digress.) I walked up to the corner of Mass Ave and Boylston where Spenser's second office would have been. Took some fairly decent shots and continued to head east to the Prudential Tower for some aerial photography. From the Skywalk 50 stories up I could see the Common and noted that it was very crowded; there had to have been several thousand people gathered. I had no idea what the occasion was but figured I'd circle back that way later in the afternoon and find out.
Keep in mind that I'm basically a hayseed, just a hick from the suburbs catching the trolley into the big city to take pictures and stare up at the tall buildings. Clueless 'r us.
I was going to head for the theater district next to capture where his first office and the Combat Zone used to be (it was torn down years ago) but I angled in the wrong direction and found myself walking deep into the South End. As I strolled along I detected a definite party atmosphere. A few side streets were blocked off and live music, barbeques, and a bit of reveling was taking place. Pretty well organized too, although I still didn't know the cause for celebration.
After a bit I found a sign that explained it: "Boston Pride." Hey, thought I, that's a great idea. Out in the sticks we just sorta take it for granted that our hamlet is something to be proud of and don't go making a big ruckus about it but these people live in a world-class city and if they want to show their pride for Boston well then go for it I say, party hearty.
It was probably another ten minutes before the details began to sink in. There were an awful lot of young men wearing leather heading in. I don't mean biker leather; it was snug leather pants and very few shirts; I thought one guy with glitter on his chest looked quite festive. The final hint was two guys in leather pants, one of whom had a leather vest. He was holding a leash attached to a dog collar around the neck of his companion. Finally the coin dropped.
I can only imagine the impression I made: an older dude in jeans and a polyester shirt wandering around politely asking where I might find the theater district. I happened to be standing next to a motorcycle cop and he pointed me in the proper direction to continue my photo tour.
And the kicker is, I never once thought of taking pictures until I was over by Jake Wirth's and back on the job. One of the largest celebrations in the city that year and I was concentrating on where Spenser used to get his sauerbraten (no pun intended.)
I didn't even get a light saber or balloon animal made from inflated condoms that the crowd on the common were carrying away when I finally got back there.