This week we have transcribed the Just Say Hello webinar with Mike CEO of Reliving and founder of Just Say Hello Duncan Raban.

This post is for those of you who prefer a quick read rather than to watch the video (which is linked here).

 

Without further ado, here it is…

 

Mike

So thanks to everyone for joining this talk today. I’m Mike Beck, the CEO of Reliving.

We here for this talk today about kindness, something that we can all benefit from. I’m joined by Duncan Raban who has been a photographer for the past 40 years and passionate about people and life. And Duncan’s essentially been there and done it. I’ve known Duncan for the past year and a half, and he’s met the likes of Bob the penguin, Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Elton John. But in 2004, I believe Duncan, you kind of decided that you wanted to dedicate your life to the ordinary people, the ordinary people that become extraordinary and really spread a lot of kindness, happiness, promote communication and just really make a big difference to people’s lives. I’m a big, big believer in what Duncan’s doing. He’s the founder of Just Say Hello, who has a huge following around the world.

So welcome Duncan it is great to have you for this talk today. It’s probably going to be a bit wild.

 

Duncan

It’s not going to be wild. It’s just my first time talking into a screen, it’s a bit odd. But because I’m normally talking to people, yeah, so it’s a bit odd.

 

Mike

Just so everyone is aware, today’s talk is going to be quite a relaxed conversation about kindness, get an idea of Duncan’s backgrounds, some stories and generally just discuss how we can all be a bit kinder. And we’ll also go into Just Say Hello, what Duncan’s plans of the future, and how he’s going to potentially meet Mark Zuckerberg.

 

Duncan

Oh, yeah. But yeah, we’ll talk about that. Why not?

 

Mike

But throughout the conversation, there is a q&a box at the bottom. Ask some questions throughout. And I’ll try my best to ask Duncan those. So, Duncan, I’m going to start with the first question I have for you,

What does kindness mean to you? What is kindness in your own opinion?

 

Duncan

Giving time to others. Well, it’s lots of things, isn’t it? But it’s, for me, it’s giving time to others because we’re all too busy. Most of us spend about three hours a day on these phones, when we could be out, maybe being a little bit kinder talking to people. The thing is, everybody, all of us, especially me, we’re all walking around. Every day we get up. We look in the mirror and go err, and we put some stuff on. We put our mask on and we go out but all we really want is people to recognise us and love us and tell us we’re great. That’s what humans aren’t we, just want to be loved, if you can say hello to someone with a compliment like I try to do several times a day. It could really change people’s lives.

 

Mike

How many times a day do you say hello to someone Duncan?

 

Duncan

It varies, today about four, four different people. I made a video about two hours ago of a lady I said hello to. Yeah, just told her fabulous she looked and then started filming her.

It’s a bit like that TV show Little Britain. He kind of wears his people up and goes 123 you’re in the box.

 

Mike

It’s amazing how it works so I’ll give a quick story, we were having dinner once in London for a catch up. And then you saw these two ladies out the front of the restaurant and you said Mike, wait one second. And you quickly got up. And within five minutes you had them cat walking down the street. I just thought I thought this is amazing. How can you do that?

 

Duncan

There’s a lot of stuff going on before I do that. If I see someone that I think needs celebrating, and I’ll just go and tell people that are fabulous. That’s it, but I’ll use enthusiasm. Yes, people don’t go up to people and say You look amazing. I mean, people don’t. It’s not great. It’s not that common. Not many people come up to me and say, Hey, you look good today. Or I like your hair or something. And when you do go and tell someone that they look fabulous, it’s a bit of a shock. Especially if you do it with a lot of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, you’ve got to genuinely mean it and look in their eyes and be enthused, because it’s a funny thing being human, and we’re all just people, society’s made us all feel inadequate.

I mean, one of the questions someone asked was, how do you cope with anxiety, and I’ve had lots of anxiety, depression, I’m on some medication. I’ve been on it for about 25 years only a low dose. Anxiety is a horrific thing. I think if you’re more comfortable with yourself who you are, and you can, it can help, but I’m not a psychiatrist.

 

Mike

How do you cope with anxiety personally?

 

Duncan

That’s a good question. I’m not the person that everyone thinks I am. I’m kind of like two people. That’s the truth of it. I’m actually probably a quite shy awkward person. If you read that book by Susan Cain called Quiet, it’s about the power of the introvert. Got it here, the power of the introvert by Susan Cain, and it’s all about the power of introverts, who are introverts? I think I was quite introverted or I still am really, but people don’t think I’m introverted, because all this stuff and celebrate all that stuff.

But I am kind of because my dad couldn’t show me any love and I was a single child. And I was crying out for him to take me out for a bacon roll, to take me out for a pint and just talk to me, but he never did. I did all sorts of things to try and get him to do it, so I think, although that’s very sad, he couldn’t speak to me and he was a very kind man, he was a Wing Commander. But I think because he didn’t do that he gave me a gift and the gift that I had to create an alter ego.  I wish I could put myself in an MRI machine and your personality comes out you know, your strengths. But we don’t want to know our strengths. We want to know our weaknesses. I’ve got loads of weaknesses. It’s just I’ve created this character that can just say hello. Yeah. And it’s easy. The thing is, the truth of it is really easy. We all walk past people every day. When this finishes, we’ll walk past people. If you catch a glance of someone, you know that second you get off the tube, bus, train, you know, you just catch that glance. For me. I think that’s, that person’s heart wants to talk to your heart. So that’s what I tell myself.

Then I think, well, maybe I’ll say something, and then 99.9% of people are thrilled to be talking.

Mike

A gentleman’s watching now called Anthony, he’s just asked that question. If you’re shy and reserved how do you actually speak to people? How do you bring yourself forward?

 

Duncan

if you want to be a good hairdresser, or a good sculptor, or a good golfer, what you have to do?

 

Mike

Practice?

 

Duncan

If you’re shy, you’ve got to practice. And it’s hard, don’t think it’s not hard, but you can do it. And I don’t just go up to people and just say hello. I say something like, wow, or I comment on something they’re wearing, and I kind of do it in a way that sort of throws people a bit sometimes often something a bit funny, but it’s just again, it’s practice. It’s still practice. We can all do it. Why don’t people say hello? Why don’t we?

 

Mike

A lot of people just don’t know how to say hello I think. They don’t know what to say and its confidence. Big thing is confidence. They’re afraid of rejection I would say.

 

Duncan

That’s it. It’s rejection but rejections a myth, it’s just a myth. You’ve got to take risks in life, you know? I mean, if you walk past someone- I do it all the time. I see people thinking I’d like to shut up. I was in a cafe two days ago and a guy walks past and I thought, wow, who on Earth is that, he looked like he come from another planet. He looked fantastic. And he went off and it was about three minutes, and I was with someone, and I thought “ohh I should have..!”, and I just said I’ve got to go! I ran out of the caff, I ran around the corner, ran up a road and chased after him, and I said, “Excuse me Sir. You look absolutely amazing.” And that’s what I do a lot. “You look amazing. I just had to come and tell you how great you look.” And that’s my sort of way of saying hello, but I don’t do that all the time. I might say something funny to people. But I’m not the best person in the world at saying hello.

 

Mike

We’ve just had a question come in they said, we can see bare legs. We hope you’re wearing pants.

 

Duncan

No, I’ve got nothing on!

 

Mike

He’s got shorts on.

 

Duncan

I’ve got shorts on!

 

Mike

And there’s another question. Can you tell us about the three owls behind?

 

Duncan

Yeah, well okay.

Now this is Henry the owl and he’s one of my best friends. Okay, so to cut it short, 10 years ago, I went into a DIY shop at six o’clock at night to buy some paint, the guys shutting the shop up putting the shutters down, and I was just waiting for him to get to give me some change and I saw this owl on a shelf up there. And he said yeah mate it’s been there for years actually to help the bird scare. I said, can you get it down and he got it down this owl. And I said, I really like it. It was something really nice about it. There was something I saw in it. I wiped his face it was all dusty and I said, can I buy it? And he went, well, yeah, alright mate a tenner? So I bought this owl, left the shop and he goes, where you’re going? I go, well, this owl from the sound has been living up there for 10 years listening to humans, maybe he would like to live the life of a human. And I was kind of joking. Anyway, a little mad. I got in the car put the owl on the seat next to me. It’s a plastic owl. As I drove off, the owl fell off the seat. I Stop the car, put the owl back on the seat and put a safety belt around him and then pat his head and said you can be my friend. And then I started thinking of a few names and I said you could be Henry. I said, Henry, let’s go to the pub. So I drove around. It’s raining. It’s a November night, pouring rain. Six o’clock, I go into the pub and I’m holding the owl.

I walked into the bar and a woman goes Oh, what’s that? I said, Oh, its Henry, I said he’s had a really difficult life, he’s so kind can’t kill mice. So he’s gonna live with me learn to live of a human. And now I sat down with two pints one with me, one with Henry and two twiglets. And people started coming over saying what’s that owl?  And then the conversation started, people started talking I thought nothing of it. Went to bed, get up the next morning to go to Soho London to meet a Korean friend, and Henry’s by the front door and I thought I’ll take Henry. I’ll put Henry in a satchel you can just see his head. I got to the station -telling you this is quite good story. And part of my Hello thing and I went to buy a ticket and the guy goes, “oh what’s that owl?!” I said that’s Henry the owl! He’s living a life. He’s going to London, his first time out. He says, Oh I’ll be kind, he takes out ticket gives Henry a ticket first class, a little country station. We get on a train, I put the bag opposite me with Henry in it and it was raining again and I thought that’s a good picture. The blur of the train window so took a few pictures, get off the train. What’s that owl, what’s this owl, what’s that owl, all this started happening. I went to Selfridges, people asking to be photographed with Henry. So it’s very, very powerful -and I didn’t really realise at the time-  and then I went for lunch in a sushi restaurant and met this great friend and I put Henry in a seat opposite. And the manager goes, what is this owl? I said he’s Henry, but he doesn’t like sushi, he won’t want any. He’s living the life of a human. And he goes, we’re giving special lunch, they did a beautiful plate. And got some Japanese sticks and did some pictures of Henry with that. And then that led to me taking Henry out. Three, four days a week for three years.

And I’ve taken 60,000 pictures of Henry living the life of a human. But I told you that because if you took Henry out -anyone watching this anyone anywhere- if you’re brave enough to take Henry out or other characters like this in a bag, you will meet so many people, because people will come up to you they will say, what’s that owl, you just say it’s Henry, and it allows people to be children. I’ve met the most unbelievable people with Henry. And someone said why is there three owls? After about nine months I’ve got 10 of them because Henry’s friends found out how good it is living a life of humans. So, taking Henry out is also a way to test your photography to practice angles. So I take Henry out on my own for a whole day. And I’m looking for situations to place him in to build a set and put him in doing the most ordinary thing. For example, you might be reading this book on birds, and then I’ve kind of set it up and it makes my heart glow. I’m actually happier taking Henry out or Bob the penguin, I love doing more than anything.

 

Mike

Yeah. Someone just asked, can you tell the story about the 10 owls that got lost in Madrid?

 

Duncan

Yeah, well I took 10 hours to Madrid. With a chap that impersonates a posh friend of mine who’s a chairman of a company. He goes to me, do you want to go to Madrid? And I said, Yes. And I said, Yeah, we’ll go and be silly. So I took 10 owls in a suitcase because this was about 2011. So by then I had 10 owls, and I’ve taken 10 owls around Scotland for a week, and all sorts of stuff happened. And then I took them to Madrid. Yeah, but we had a fantastic time. I mean, honestly, we had 10 owls in a swimming pool teaching them how to swim in a swimming pool with a suitcase. The guy that asked is probably a guy who is a very charming, beautiful man who is a little bit troubled like we all are. He’s a tiny bit of trouble, but he’s a very special soul.

If you take 10 owls to an airport and get to check-in, and you put a suitcase on, and they go, Oh, that suitcase is light because they’ve already said, What’s this? I said, Oh, this is Henry. And they go, Oh, I said, Yeah, he’s going to Spain, but his friends and all his cousins are in that suitcase, and then you unzip the suitcase and there are 10 owls in there. The stuff that starts happening! You get to check-in, then they go, wheres Henry? I go, he’s here! Where is his friends?  And then you get on the plane!  When I went to Scotland they announced Henry’s on the plane. Stewardesses come down getting drinks. Everyone starts talking. The pilot said, can you bring Henry into the flight deck? So it allows people to be like children.

I think it like a dog. But this is it’s so powerful is unbelievable. So if you want to Henry, it quite hard to get, but I’ve got 15 of them here at the moment.

 

Mike

Someone’s just asked are you looking to do a UK tour? Or would you like to do a UK tour?

 

Duncan

Yeah, yeah.

so I was going to do a tour in 2012. But what actually happened is in 2004, I got this call from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital out of the blue. And that led me to see 10 children who had been given a new heart and the second I went into the hospital it turned my life upside down.

So 10 children are waiting for a new heart, and then they wanted to have an awareness campaign. And I said, let’s turn celebrity on its head. Celebrities, the real superstars are the cleaners, the nurses, the doctors. They let me in the hospital, and I found my thing, which was making people laugh with a camera and saying hello to people. And so I went all the way around Great Britain on my own for the next five years, and then in 2012, I was going around Britain on my own making people laugh in the camera, I went all over the place. Sometimes I would just get a map, close my eyes open the map, I’ll go there! It could be some little village up north.

 

Mike

Is this with the Rover and getting people on the bonnet and taking photos?

 

Duncan

Yeah, that’s another thing. But I did that brilliantly, then that led to I’m coming to the tour of Britain’s thing. So by doing things off the world really different and going out and saying hello, meet all these people took these pictures of people laughing around Britain and celebrating them. And that led to the Sun newspaper, giving me five double spreads in the Sun for a whole week. It was like “Celebrity photographer gives up to celebrate the lollypop lady, the doctor, the nurse, the disabled person.  Everyone was going, god what is celebrating everyday people with Sun? We were going to do a tour of Great Britain in a motor home and go around Britain with like a red catwalk, get people doing stuff, but then the hacking thing started and the editor left and then it wasn’t the right. It wasn’t the right time.

But as the question, yeah, I do want to go around Britain, just saying hello, and I just haven’t got my act together to do it. I mean, I’d like to do it in a motor home. And just stopping, you could let people know sometimes you’re going to be coming here to just say hello and you’ve got a motor home, probably with an exhibition that pulls out people can sit down, have a cup of tea, biscuits and just say hello, have badges on. Then get some of the older generations come in to get on a catwalk. You know what it’s all about. It’s just all about making people feel great. The whole thing, that’s all it is.

 

But the truth of the matter is, I was in this entertainment world for 20 years go around the world, private jets, backstage, lots of sexy stuff. We look sexy, and it was sexy, but I felt empty. I couldn’t communicate. I couldn’t communicate with all the people around it. Listen, I spent a bit of time with some megastars, you know, a day in the life of them. And they’re great. The people around it, I felt empty. I couldn’t communicate. I think it’s because I’m probably a bit of a higher thinker and unless I can have a meaningful conversation. I mean, I don’t want to talk about the tip of the iceberg thing. I don’t like chit chat. Now, when I was 15, I used to go to a pub and the farmer used to call me leafy. I used to go to the pub on my own, I’m always on my own, no one asked me out for drinks. Even now I’m out on my own. Because people don’t ask me out.

Mike

Well, I asked you, I’ve asked you a few times when it means to be travelling from Wales.

 

Duncan

But you’re, you’re 200 miles away.

 

Mike

Yeah. By no means. That’s it. I think social media is probably the biggest problem.

 

Duncan

Social media is amazing. No doubt about it. We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing without it.

 

Mike

It has its pros and cons.

I think we spoke yesterday. And you nailed it in one sentence. I think you said something along the lines of people are more connected than ever. But they’re more lonely than ever.

 

Duncan

Yeah. And we know that. Yeah. Because these tools Facebook, Twitter and Instagram they’re all designed to hold you in, to keep you there. And then you look at one thing, and then you go to that thing, we’ll do it. I do it. Although I’m pretty rigid now with when I look at Facebook, and I don’t look at it much. Maybe once a day for 20 minutes or 45 minutes I sometimes answer all the comment and messages from around the world and stuff now, which is really nice, you know, people opening their hearts.

I think what we were talking about yesterday, was about loneliness. And the reason I want to meet Mark Zuckerberg, for whatever you think of him, he did devise this thing called Facebook to connect people. But I’d like to know a different type of an app, an app that connects people but makes people go out and just say hello, and I’ve got lots of ideas. That will make people go and say hello and get rewards and merits and all sorts of stuff.

 

Mike

Yes, absolutely. That’s kind of part of what we’re doing as well at Reliving, you know, it’s all kind of tied in and it’s so important. And as I mentioned before, a lot of people just don’t know how to. You have this gift of being able to speak to people.

 

Duncan

Okay, I kind of got a gift but you see this thing, a camera, the camera. The iPhone is your magic wand to say hello, it’s a great tool if you can become competent with this. Good with it. Again you’ve got to practice your soul out. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.

You know, I took 60,000 pictures of an owl for three years. But that’s more practice of using a camera and being more confident with it. And it helped me that’s what I mean. It’s funny thing photography that there isn’t much photography, it sets my heart alight.

 

Mike

People may or may not have that confidence could speak to strangers but speaking to their family or loved ones, that’s a lot easier to do. I mean, for instance, I probably didn’t speak to my grandparents enough. Maybe I went a couple of months without speaking to them at some point.

But I think people can do more by just speaking to their loved ones more often. And that in itself may bring you out of your shell. You may learn a lot more from them. And then give you the confidence to speak to other people.

 

Duncan

Yeah, you can’t be just saying hello to an older person.  If you see an old person going down in a supermarket or down a street, and you forget that that person is a walking bookcase of stories. If you’ve got a bookcase going on the street, you’d go and pull a book out wouldn’t ya? Well, that’s what old people are, the older generation, they are bursting with stories and they want to tell you. All you got to do is go and compliment them and they open up like a sunflower. The stories I could tell you.

 

Mike

What’s the most fascinating story you’ve heard from just saying hello to someone from the older generation?

 

Duncan

I’ve got lots of them but there was an elderly couple in cafe Nero. And it was 11 o’clock on a Monday morning and I’m sitting there having a coffee and an older couple come in, sort of like crouched over. These kids on the sofa, sort of sucking milkshakes. I said kids, it’s time to get off the sofa, the superstars have arrived.

And I got them and I said, you can sit here and they said oh Blimey that’s very nice of you, mate. So I said, can I get you a coffee? Oh, Blimey. Who are you? I’m Duncan what’s your name? My name is Borris. And what’s your name? My name’s Anita. So they sat down, got them a coffee and a Danish pastry. I said, that’s a gift from me. And I said, you just tell me one thing. What was the second you’ve set eyes on Anita? And Borris goes well, that we’ve been married 74 years. And I said 74 years? So when did you meet? He said, Well, he said I used to work in a Spitfire factory in 1939. And after I used to go and meet me mate Billy once a week. So he went to a bed and breakfast at half five to meet his mate in 1939 for a pint. He’s waiting in a bed and breakfast for his mate to come home from work. And this lady came in the waiting room which was Anita. Then he says, we started chatting. And then I took her for a walk in the park because they were getting on. And they walked around this park for an hour and a half. They came out of the park at seven o’clock. And he opened the senior service pack of cigarettes. And he wrote in pencil, I think I love you. Will you marry me? Six weeks later, they got married in London. She became the first woman apparently working pilots on Spitfires. And those stories are everywhere. But you’ve got to just say hello with a compliment. How often do people go up to older people? It should be a national ad campaign.

The government just spent more money on an ad campaign to get people to just say hello. It would save billions off the national health and that’s part of the design of this app. I have designed this idea for an app. And I’d like to think it would transform the National Health Service

But as I said, we can all do it and anyone watching this and thinks but I’m a bit shy. I get messages every day from around the world saying I’m shy. I’ve got social this and that and I accept all that but you can get past that. But it’s just like I said earlier, it’s practice, its practice, its practice it is hard to do like a good haircut. If you see a good sculpture, you go in a museum you go Wow, it didn’t just happen. Michelangelo was cutting stone from the age of three to become Michelangelo. And it’s the same with just saying hello. It’s the same with drawing, we can all do things.

 

Mike

I think what the Next stage for Just Say Hello in my eyes is to have ambassadors that are trying to create that movement and doing exactly what you’re doing, going out saying hello. And I think I mentioned to you before, everyone has joined today. If you’d like to become a Just Say Hello ambassador, I’ll send out a link for you to register your interest and we’ll get you linked up with Duncan and maybe we can organise meets and then start putting some kind of movement together.

 

Duncan

Do you remember when the Olympics run in Great Britain in 2012. Well in London they had all these people walking around with jackets on welcoming people everywhere. They were everywhere. Every tube station, bus station, young people were going Hi Hello, hello, hello. Hello. That’s all they were doing. And the government was shut down for a couple of weeks with no Parliament’s so people were more relaxed. It wasn’t all that negative news coming out. But there was a joy in the air, people’s hearts worked. It was good news coming because it was the Olympics and these people were everywhere. So what countries need and Great Britain needs are kindness ambassadors on every High Street. In every village, every town and the councils could pay it, you imagine, get a rota of people going around just with a certain type of brand or something.

 

Mike

Everyone message in the q&a box, if you’re interested in being part of that.

 

Duncan

I can’t see that.

 

Mike

I’ll let you know if people start saying yes, I’ll be part of it and organise it that way.

 

Duncan

It’s if we add kindness officers on every street, you know and they got to be known as kindness officers, or just say hello offices they were just having a chat, have a chat with someone. Maybe take them for coffee- an older person-it would transform the nation. It just would get people more confident and it would help mental health, emotional issues.

It’s easy me saying this, but you’ve got to start somewhere haven’t ya? And I did a massive drawing on the wall a few years ago. I drew a map of England and all the things that could happen. We just saw it and I said, We need ambassadors on every street. I mean, whoever’s watching this, or even you might, you might know something. Okay, but then you have a rota.

Yeah, so yeah, it can be great.

 

Mike

Someone’s just asked actually has COVID given society a bit of a reality check?

 

Duncan

Yeah.

 

Mike

Because I spoke to you about this and you think apart from the disaster of losing people, in terms of making people rethink their personal values gone.

 

Duncan

If you go on the radio for anybody on to the BBC Sounds there’s a big thing called Rethink going on. Lots of conversations about rethinking and to me COVID has been- of course, we’ve lost people and that’s terrible. But you know, but it’s resetting- the world is going to reset. If I was the Minister of shopping, I’d flatten the retail parks and I’d put a kindness Community Centre on every retail park with a cafe, a just say hello kindness place where people can come talk openly.

I’d flatten and shut all the shopping malls, but it might be up in a couple of days in the week if they’re lucky. I’d bring back, compulsory purchase 10 shops in a row and I’d create a butcher, a fish shop, haberdashery, you know, and a conversation place and a therapy place. But as for COVID, I’m talking quite fast, COVID has been to me, it’s been a godsend.

Listen, forgive me. There’ll be people listening or could be listening and they’ll go You, you, you know, they’ve lost their dear loved ones. But overall, if you look back in maybe 20, 30 years, 10 years’ time, hopefully, it’s a reset of the world to make us kinder.

Listen, all that clapping for care workers and nurses. That was the biggest advertising campaign the NHS has had in since it was devised. Now people care about truck drivers, road sweepers people think a bit more than without these people.

I personally think that the man that created the universe, Mr Universe, I think every 50 years he meets Mrs Nature. So he gave us Earth he met Mrs Nature she said, I’ll make that planet Earth into a nice beautiful place. So she did that over millions of years, and they meet her every 50 – 100 years. And about six months ago he met her and he said how’s that planet Earth? And she said well, as you know, it’s very beautiful but the humans there are taring it apart, they’re ripping it apart, they’re raping it. They’re doing all sorts of things. And he sort of said You know what, let’s just teach them a little lesson. Let’s shut it down for a while.

And of course, there are lots of people losing their jobs. The truth us we don’t need so many shops? We don’t need restaurants. We don’t need all this stuff to be happy. But we’re told to go and buy all this stuff. Because every night we go to bed, this buying dust comes down on us. Commercial consumerism, we want to buy more stuff. I’ve had all this stuff over the years. I’ve lost all my money. I’ve got no money at all, but this made me a better person, and I’ve hardly got any things anymore.

 

Mike

For me, it’s definitely made me think more about my family. Without a doubt. And it’s so strange. There is a lot of heartache but also, I think there’s been a lot of good that continually come from it.

 

Duncan

Listen.

I think what came out of it, the government decided overnight, but I’m mistaken. Yeah, they were gone. Within two or three days they were more or less gone off our streets. Three weeks later, they’re back out again. But that’s what COVID did, it showed that if the government want to, they can. The government can do so much. But anyway, we need a new government.

A Just Say Hello party, Just Say Hello government kindness with special ministers.

 

Mike

So today I want to hear from a few stories now. Can you tell me the story of how you met Lionel Richie?

 

Duncan

Yeah. Me and a friend of mine met in a cafe, and she’s a PR, a PR is someone a publicist for celebrities, but she would organise film premieres or, you know, if an artist has got a record coming out, or an actor is doing something, she’ll organise all the press interviews, TV, radio. We were meeting for a coffee her name’s Caroline, she said I’m so stressed! So I said well you’ve got quite a sexy life. All this stuff with artists. She said yes but it’s awful this weekend. I’ve got Lionel Richie coming in, and it was a Thursday. And I said, Oh, it’s nice to meet Lionel Richie, he’s a pretty cool dude. But no, no, he was meant to be coming in 10 days’ time, and they’ve now said he’s going to come in on Saturday night. And I’ve got to drop everything and I’m not organised.

So I said it’ll be all right. Don’t worry, Caroline.

He’s got one day off the news, launching a new album. And, you know, he’s got TV interviews, radio, TV, all that stuff. And she said that they want me to find something for him to do in his day off. And I’m just getting a bacon roll, right? And I said, see this bacon roll? Why don’t you let me take Lionel Richie out for a bacon roll? I’ll take him out for a day and I’ll show him London, you know, we’ll photograph him in a different way. And she said, do you honestly, honestly think that I’m going to tell Lionel Ritchie’s management- a record company, that some photographer is going to take him out for a day? And then I said, Well, yeah, why don’t you tell him? I said, I’ll take him for a fry up in a greasy spoon caf. And she said, it’s not going to happen, you know? Okay, anyway, we sat down for 45 minutes, she got up and as she went she kissed me and I said Caroline don’t forget to tell Lionel Ritchie’s manager. I’ll take him out for a day of shooting all for free. I’ll shoot like a fly on the wall. And I’ve done Tina Turner right. And she said that’s not going to happen then she left.

Saturday night I’m in a pub, my mobile goes right. And a guy says is that Duncan Raban? and I said, Yes it’s Duncan, his name was Barry. And he said, Caroline was chatting over dinner and this idea about taking Lionel out and I mentioned it to him and he’s up for it. I thought it was a wind up. He said Lionel is going to take the whole day off Monday. You’ve got the whole day with him. Go pick him up at 7.30 in his hotel suite. Right. And I said, I thought it was a joke. Anyway, the next day. I’ll bring up Carol she said no its true. So, this is Sunday morning and I thought what am I going to do with Lionel Richie, I’ve got to go and meet him. So I drove around London, near his hotel, looking for greasy spoon cafs and eventually, I found this really grim looking place but it was shut. Yeah, it was obviously a Sunday it was it was shut. And I looked through the windows and it had handwriting on the wall. And I thought that would be a good location. It was about a mile or two miles from his hotel. Maybe I can take him there. I don’t know if I was in another place. But anyway. So the next morning, I had no other plans. I just thought I’ll turn up at the hotel. Seven o’clock, I’m outside and I’m obviously nervous, in my 40s, 20 years ago. And so I’m getting a lift and I go up to his hotel suite. This is 7.30 and I go to this floor where the suites are and I knock on the door and there’s no answer.

it’s a windup I thought. So I knocked again and the door opened, and he says are you, Duncan? Come in! He’s in a dressing gown. He said help yourself to a coffee over there and he got back in bed some newspapers and stuff and then we had a chat with coffee. And that was sort of the beginning, then I shot him in bed, then I said Lionel do you mind me doing you in the shower, having a shave? And he went no, no I’m yours for the day, I saw what you did with Tina you can do what you want. And then that was about half-past eight and he said he got all ready. Got the jacket with the big hair, Gucci this, was all Gucci.

He said right, I’m ready. So where are we going? So I said we are going to a greasy spoon he said I can’t wait! The best bit is, we went downstairs and got in my really old Mercedes and drove to this calf right.  We turn up and of course, I haven’t actually been to this caf. So I went in, and as these two old ladies at the table and they’re pouring out mugs. They got all these mugs. They got their hair pinned back pouring their tea out. And I said, excuse me, girls can I have two of them Olympic breakfast? Can I have that table there?

Yeah, mate you sit down there mate.

And I’m going, no I just want to bring someone in, do you mind if we do some pictures?

She said, that’s fine mate, you sit down Maria will take your order.  I said, I want to bring someone in.

She goes, who you bringing in? I said, just got someone in the car. Honestly, I’ve got a musician in the car just want to bring in.

What sort of musician? Is this a joke show? And I said no, no, no.

And they go what you mean a musician who’s that then? I’ve got a Lionel Richie in the car.

Right and they went Oh, hey Brian, this geezer is bringing Lionel Richie in. He says, you go and get Lionel then go on.

So I went outside, open the door got Lionel, and he went in front of me and he opened the door and the place was like silent- you could hear a pin drop!

We were there for like an hour. It was just magical because we sat down and there was a boy in a corner with a hat on. And he was sucking chips like he had no teeth. So I told Lionel to sit with him and I’m going to do different pictures and it was just great. I was doing my normal thing you know.

Then I got him making some bacon and egg, pouring out tea. When I look back at it I wish we did a video but it was the early days.

We then we left there and took him up to the Kings row. He walked about there, we got on a bus went on to took him around, London took him to a really rough pub. He bought me a Guinness.

But the end of the day he said that was a day like no other, and he said will you hang out with us tonight and tomorrow? So I spent three days with him. But that all came really from asking and being silly you know, random.

Yeah, he’s just a human and it’s like I do look back at it. How the hell did I do it, but I could do it again. I might be meeting him again over the kindness stuff. I’d like to go back into entertainment and talk to people over a cup of tea about kindness. Talk to people, major artists about the things that you don’t see on the chat shows. The chat shows are vacuous they’ve got no purpose. They don’t educate that make you go out and just say hello or be kind.

 

Mike

Anyway, we’re almost at the hour mark now, but there’s another question that’s come up if you had one wish, what would it be?

 

Duncan

Well, I’ve got 2. One is that my wife would come back and she left me 4 months ago. She’s a big part of it all that I haven’t mentioned. There is a picture of her here. That’s my lovely wife, Louise. And she’s the girl that put up with me 35 years and made me a better person because I was in a bit of a bastard. She kind of gave me a rebirth. so I’d like her back.

And then I wish, I suppose a philanthropist come along and say, I want to help you set up a global movement to get people to be kinder and help loneliness.

Yeah, that’s what a native, a philanthropist who will help me do all the stuff I can’t do. And if we do go around Great Britain or we do go across America I’d like a film crew to come along film us how to say hello, and take say hello at a much bigger platform. And that’s another thing. All I do at the moment is do a video. 10 minutes, generally depends on an hour a few hours later, I’ll upload it to Facebook if I think it’s suitable, and it’s all shot on Apple phone. There are no microphones, there are no gadgets, I purposely just do it Duncan style because I want other people to go and video, video people they love. Anyone can do what I do. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice you want to be a good photographer you’ve got to take a camera every day for 10 years. Challenge yourself it’s the best thing in the world just I’ve met the most amazing people.

 

Look at this, [shows a picture] this man was laughing, he’s in a cafe. He walks in. I didn’t quite notice him. He’s walking and juddering. So get up and help him. Basically, he’s had a stroke and he can’t speak at all. And we had the most fascinating conversation with him in the end.

So many people around want people to say hello to them. If you could get the government at a national ad campaign bigger than anything. Newspapers, posters, a national campaign to get to say hello. I’m talking below a massive campaign, which is able to get people to just say Hello, it would transform people.

 

Mike

I think we’ve confirmed quite a few ambassadors today that they would like to help you on that journey. So I’ll make sure to send out some kind of form and get people to kind of apply more formally.

 

Duncan

And then we need an app and a website and I’m no good at that stuff.

 

Mike

You’ve got 80,000 followers on Facebook. A lot of people believe in what you’re doing, and I’m certainly one of those. It’s fantastic. And it all comes back to just being kind and that kindness and saying hello to people, especially the older generation because you’re going to learn a huge amount from that.

I actually I spoke to someone the other day and, and they asked me to do something and I’m going to ask you to do the same thing, everyone Listening, because I thought it was fantastic. What they asked was for everyone to get their phones out. Now think of someone that’s made a big impact in your life that’s still alive and someone that you haven’t thanked as much as you could have. And all I want you to do is send them a text to say thank you and thank them sincerely for their help and do that now, and it makes you feel a lot happier and then you’ll make them feel a huge amount happier.

 

Duncan

Personally, I think you should try and ring him first.

 

Mike

Ring them text them just thank them in whatever way you can.

 

Duncan

We’re not ringing people anymore. We’re all afraid of ringing people anymore. You know what partly reason why is because we know that our name comes up and we think we’re going to be rejected. You have to bypass that and just ring rather than this texting, but there’s nothing better than a conversation especially face to face.

But thanks for talking to me today.

 

Mike

No thank you. We’re so we’re pretty much bang on the time actually. And there are so many more stories that you could have gone into, you know, the Elton John, maybe we can do that for another session.

Thank you again for joining.

Just so you are all aware. Reliving is an application, we have the ambition to help people record their lives, not just their own lives, but their loved ones as well before it’s too late because unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think about it until it’s too late.

You can download your application it’s completely free to use. You can go onto our website, the UK Apple Store, and also the Android store. And feel free to download it then have a play about and preserve the most precious moments in your life. There is also an interview tool on there that’s got some questions that may help you just say hello in some kind of ways.

You can also like our Facebook page. And help us on social media as well. But

 

Duncan

We can all just say hello. You know anyone listening. Even if you’re shy, you can do it. Go up to someone a supermarket and just with a compliment, say something nice with enthusiasm. And so if you can say the word Wow, sometimes. Wow, you look good. You’ve got lovely hair. It will make people feel love. It’s all we want. We all cry out to be loved, recognised.

 

Mike

So next Thursday, at six o’clock, we’ll work it out. We’ll send out an I’ll send out an email to everyone. And we’ll make this a regular thing. And we’ll have a conversation. So thank you so much again, for joining anyone listening.

Duncan

Anyone listening – you beautiful humans. Remember, we’re always saying we’re all just people. We’re all just people and we can transform your life. Thanks everyone. Bye