MORECAMBE FACES: A PORTRAIT OF MORECAMBE
“Eric used to come out of the house wearing yellow gloves, top hat and tails. We used to take Mickey out of him but he came off best big time!”Roger Obertelli, 2020
I’m a hoofer! says Roger Obertelli, who has lived and worked in Morecambe his entire life. “People might know me as the ‘tippy-tappy man’, the old bloke who goes about tapping his feet at music events in Lancaster and Morecambe. It’s not tap dancing though. I can’t tap dance as daft as it sounds, I do it mostly on the ball of the foot, so I’m actually what they call a hoofer”.
The Obertelli’s came to Morecambe from Italy, he tells me. “My Grandad came to this country at turn of the 19th Century. When he got here, he went to Blackpool first, but then decided on Morecambe”. They had an ice cream shop on Marine Road in the early 1900s and a cart selling ‘Obertelle’s Genuine Ices’.
He clearly loves the town, but misses parts of his old stomping ground. “When they pulled the Empire building down, I think it was a big mistake. The Beatles played there when they first set off. Morecambe’s coming around again now though what with this new Eden project. That should make it again. It should be really good”.
“I was brought up just up the street from Eric Morecambe. When we were kids we played all sorts of games on the street, but Eric weren’t allowed to play out because his mother used to drag him in and take him to the Plaza studio – learning to dance. He used to come out of the house wearing yellow gloves, top hat and tails. We used to take Mickey out of him but he came off best big time!”
N.B. As I photograph and talk to each participant, I ask them to suggest someone else for me to photograph.
To see more on my Morecambe Faces: A Portrait of Morecambe project visit my portfolio page.