Ed Sheeran is surprisingly good at table tennis and also loves toy swords. The British musician might have hit the big time now, but he is still the same guy he was when he was trying to make it. Photographer Christie Goodwin has worked with him throughout his career and can testify to that, explaining he really is an everyday kind of lad.

“He’s actually good at table tennis. This was backstage at the iTunes Festival – during that wait between sound check and the show,” she told Q magazine of a photo showing Ed playing the game. “You’ll always find him doing something fun, he always manages to find something quirky to play with. He had a sword somewhere. It was a toy rather than something to behead someone with, but I remember thinking, ‘How’s he going to get that through customs?’”

Although he’s a solo artist, Ed manages to rock huge venues, having played stadiums during his career. Christie has seen him in action many times and is in no doubt about why that is, explaining he has a one-of-a-kind bond with his fans. “The reason he holds a big crowd is he’s genuine. He doesn’t play for a character – I’ve worked with a lot of artists who have a stage persona, they’re quite different when you meet them in person,” she said. “He doesn’t do that, he’s just Ed. I always find it very brave of him to stand there alone and speak to the crowd, but he seems quite confident in doing that. People pick up that he’s genuinely speaking to them.”