Stranger 69/100 – Ben

100 Strangers - BenStranger 69/100 – Ben

While talking with Reggie (stranger #26), I noticed our next stranger walking by and had to approach him.

Meet Ben.

“I just got here. I was living in London so… I’ve been here before, and I liked it.”

Just visiting? “No, actually, I think I’m going to probably move here for a few months and then go back to London. Because, there, you’re only allowed to stay for six months if you don’t have a work visa, and I couldn’t get one.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That is tough. Wait to get married. Yeah, I got married too early.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Trying to stay in London. {laughs} Because my girlfriend bought a house there and… you can buy a house there, but you can’t stay there. So, we’re both working on getting our visas to stay. She’s going back to school. I’m a chef. They have a shortage of chefs there. I could get a job there easily it’s just the problem is getting a visa. So you have to be sponsored by the restaurant, and that costs a lot of money. And a lot of places have to be licensed in order to do that.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “Own my own restaurant. Have a rock and roll band.”

What do you play? “Everything. I don’t sing. That’s the only thing I don’t do. I can’t sing. Before I moved to the UK, I was in Philadelphia, and my girlfriend and I had a band. I mean we just used our computer and GarageBand to do pretty much everything and record.”

What kind of music do you make? “Myself, it’s more like early California death rock… little bit of Goth and punk in it.”

What kind of bands would be similar? “Christian Death, maybe early T.S.O.L.”

If you could put up a billboard in Charlotte, what would it say? “My dad always told me if you live long enough, strange shit will find you. I think that’s been very true in my life.”

Technical Notes: I interviewed Ben while we walked and searched for better light. We stopped here and there, took some photos and continued walking. This was one of the last pictures I took. I used a small reflector to even out the light on his face.


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