Category Archives: Coincidence

Why sex got me on a bus in Edinburgh and what links Cilla Black to my cough

Three facts. They are not necessarily un-connected.

The title sequence from the original Surprise! Surprise!

The title sequence from the original Surprise! Surprise! show

– I have always had an irritating cough. Occasionally, I have been nicknamed John ‘Irritating Cough’ Fleming.

– I just arrived in Edinburgh for the annual Fringe Festival. I came up overnight by coach from London, arriving at 7.00am.

Cilla Black died yesterday.

So it goes.

The last and possibly (I have a legendarily bad memory) only other time I have travelled on an overnight coach was because of sex. Well, a sex channel.

I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago and I got a phone call from London in I think the early evening (I may not have mentioned that have a legendarily bad memory). It was a TV producer saying he could not supervise a voice-over recording session at 9,30am in Soho and asking if I could do it. I suspect he must have offered me a lot of money.

The only way to get there (I could not catch the last train to London) was to get an overnight coach leaving at around 11.00pm, getting into London at around 07.30am and then I could get to Soho for the recording at 9.30am and, about three hours later, go back to Edinburgh.

The voice-over was sexual.

Overnight coach journeys can be an eye-opener

Overnight  journeys can be a real eye-opener

If you watch the satellite sex channels (which I had not) then, between the programmes, there are 10 or 12 minute mini-programmes promoting the ‘real’ programmes. They are ‘voiced’ by sexy-sounding sirens aiming to titillate the tit-fanciers into watching more.

My producer chum had a contract to make these mini-epics and he had edited the pictures for this week’s and written the scripts but, at the last moment, he could not direct the voice-overs this particular week.

So I came down and, with the editor, I directed and he recorded the words spoken in husky, intimate tones by two professional female voice-over artists, one of whom had never done this sort of thing before. Well, I hadn’t either.

She arrived looking wary of both me and the editor, not sure of what her agent had got her into, but we soon settled down into recording and discussions of the surreality of it all. I think her last voice-over assignment had been aimed at encouraging housewives to buy vegetables in a particular supermarket.

This all happened in a basement in Soho with a robust ventilation system and the four of us having (I seem to remember) bacon sandwiches and tea for breakfast.

Anyway, the overnight coach trip down from Edinburgh was fairly civilised, which is one reason why I tried it in reverse this year. The other reason was that it cost £30.60p return and was worth it for the dry-humoured National Express coachman whose patter went way over the heads of the large group of Spanish students last night.

At Victoria Coach Station in London, I got chatting to a girl who was also waiting for a coach. She is studying stage lighting and sound in Lewes on the South Coast of England and she was NOT going up to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Victoria Coach Station in London last night

Victoria Coach Station in London last night

She was actually waiting for a bus to Aberdeen and was getting off at Hamilton on the way up because she was going to meet her father for the first time since she was born. She is 18 years old.

Cilla Black had died earlier that day and I simply thought: What a pity I didn’t meet you when I was researching stories for Cilla’s Surprise! Surprise! TV show.

The 18-year-old girl had a very bad cough.

“Scottish weather won’t help that,” I said.

“No,” she said. “It’s not that. It’s because I had measles when I was a kid and this was the end result. I’ve had it all my life.”

I have had my own irritating cough all my life and I had measles when I was a babe-in-arms. Well, my parents told me I had measles and very scary fits as a baby. I do not remember which came first. I had not yet developed my bad memory. I was a baby. I have that excuse.

So there you have it.

It may not be much.

But that is today’s blog – about how everything intermingles.

It does not get round the fact I am five daily blogs behind. But the joy of the internet is that I can fill in the gap retrospectively, remove this reference and, in the future, no-one will know.

Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat in the background + some occasional rubbish in the foreground

Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat in the background + some occasional rubbish in the foreground

It is a bit like performing at the Edinburgh Fringe.

What actually happens during shows – you get audiences of two people in a tiny toilet-like venue which seats ten – does not matter.

What matters is what people THINK happened.

FRINGE SELL-OUT SHOW! the publicity will blare-out next year and, in two year’s time, no-one will remember what a disaster it was.

They will be aware of what a success it was.

It is all about perception.

 

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Improbability factor of L.A. actress and a man at the Edinburgh Fringe, London

Charlie Wood(Underbelly), William Burdett-Coutts (Assembly), Ed Bartlam (Underbelly), Karen Koren (Gilded Balloon), Kath Maitland (Edinburgh Fringe), Anthony Alderson (Pleasance)

(L-R) Big 4 Fringe venue owners Charlie Wood (Underbelly), William Burdett-Coutts (Assembly), Ed Bartlam (Underbelly), Karen Koren (Gilded Balloon), Kath Maitland (Edinburgh Fringe) and Anthony Alderson (Pleasance)

Tonight, I am going to a London Fortean Society lecture by David J Hand on The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day.

Well, one happened last night when I went to the ‘Big Four’ venues’ Edinburgh Fringe launch at the Udderbelly on London’s South Bank.

I was with Rochdale-born, L.A.-based actress and producer Amanda Fleming (no relation). She was off getting drinks (that is what producers do) when I was accosted by two people – a man and woman.

“Where are you from?” they asked me.

It turned out they meant: “What do you do?”

They were theatre producer Jude Merrill and writer/performer Saikat Ahamed, plugging their new Edinburgh Fringe production Strictly Balti.

“We were told,” said Jude, “that the important thing to do to get publicity was to find bloggers.”

“That’s only,” I said, “because no-one knows what’s going on in the media now and people are clutching at any and every unknown straw.”

Strange results from a decision in Birmingham

Strange results from a parental decision in Birmingham, UK

Strictly Balti tells the true story of how Saikat Ahamed’s Bangladeshi parents in Birmingham – a family of lawyers, doctors and suchlike respectable professionals – did not want him to become an actor so persuaded him to take dancing lessons. The result was that he decided he wanted to become an actor.

At this point, Amanda Fleming (no relation) came back with drinks.

I introduced her to them.

They had a little chat.

Saint Ahamed, Jude Merrill and Amanda Fleming last night

Saikat Ahamed, Jude Merrill & Amanda Fleming (no relation)

Then Saikat Ahamed said to Amanda Fleming (no relation): “Have I met you?”

There was a pause.

“Did you stay in my house?” he asked.

I looked at Amanda Fleming (no relation).

I saw the sudden realisation on her face.

“Good God!” she said.

“I had a house in Ilford,” Saikat told me.

“You did?” I asked. “I was partly brought up in Ilford. Your house wasn’t 39 Mitcham Road was it?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

“That’s a pity,” I said. “I would have been an even better coincidence.”

“I was doing a pantomime,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation).

“Oh no you weren’t,” I said.

“Oh yes I was,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation).

From Birmingham, Ilford, Rochdale and London to this

From Birmingham, Ilford, Rochdale and Los Angeles to Edinburgh Fringe London launch

“We had a mutual friend, Lee,” said Saikat Ahamed. “You weren’t staying there long.”

“It was only,” said Amanda Fleming (no relation), “like two or three weeks, during rehearsal time.”

They had not seen each other for around 15 years and then only for a few weeks and he had accosted me randomly as I passed at an Edinburgh Fringe press launch to which Amanda Fleming (no relation) had also come. As she was temporarily not in L.A.

Tonight, I will be paying special attention to The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles and Rare Events Happen Every Day.

Who knows what may happen?

There is a trailer for Strictly Balti on youTube.

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A dog’s dinner in our very Fortean times

We live in Fortean Times

We improbably live in weird Fortean Times

What do you do if you get home late, don’t get enough sleep, then have to get up and leave home early, have a busy day ahead, no time to transcribe the two interesting chats you have had with people and have to write a blog before you leave?

You grasp at straws.

I had a quick look at some old e-diaries.

On 7th March 2004, I was in the Anglia TV region and their local news reported that a former Essex Chief Inspector had written a book about his career in the police force called Catching Monsters. He was signing copies of the book in a local shopping centre when he was attacked by a man who hit him about the head with a block of wood.  The man escaped. According to Anglia News, “Essex Police said the attacker could have had a grudge against the officer.”

The lateral thinking of the police constantly impresses me.

Professor Hand’s book on the probability of improbable things happening

Professor Hand’s book on improbability

Last night, I went to a meeting of the London Fortean Society at which Professor David J. Hand, the emeritus professor of mathematics and a senior research investigator at Imperial College, London, explained his Improbability Principle which, basically, explains why the most improbable things are statistically liable to happen.

He said that statistically, in order for it to be likely to have two people in a room with the same birthday (day and month) you only need 23 people. He showed a video in which a man walking along a street was struck by lightning. The man fell down, lay still for a few moments, got up, carried on walking and, around 5 seconds later, was struck by lightning a second time.

The London Fortean Society’s next meeting is called Fucking Strange: The Weird and Wonderful World of Animal Sex in which Dutch ecologist and evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen, based at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden and who also holds a chair in evolution at Leiden University will, the billing says, “invite the audience to join him as he uncovers the ways the shapes and functions of genitalia have been molded by complex Darwinian struggles” and “we learn why spiders masturbate into miniature webs”.

I remember, years ago, reading in the Fortean Times, about a road accident in which three cars collided. One of the drivers was a Mr Butcher, another was a Mr Baker and the third was a candlestick maker. Strange and so improbable as to be unbelievable, but entirely true.

I remember another article in Fortean Times years ago which pointed out the false logic of statistics often quoted in newspapers. If there is a 60-million-to-one chance of something happening, it is highly unlikely it will happen to you… But there are over 60 million people in the UK, so it is likely to happen to someone.

Yesterday afternoon, I met a woman behind me in a queue at Marks & Spencer. We got chatting. She was 38 and told me she had only been on an underground train three times in her life. She had never ever bought a newspaper until this week and does not watch TV news. Then I got to the cashier and could ask no more. I will never know how this woman had lived her life.

Last night, at the London Fortean Society, I got chatting to someone who had met Elton John. She told me he looked “like an ageing American housewife”.

This seemed a little harsh.

Life is a dog’s dinner of random events.

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Everything happens by happenstance… My mother re-meets my undead father

The long-nosed stranger of Strasburg in Tristram Shandy

The long-nosed stranger of Strasburg in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

Today’s blog is about how my mother met my father.

I have not read Laurence Sterne’s book The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which was published 1759-1767. As I understand it, the book is supposed to be the autobiography of Tristram Shandy and it starts off with his birth but – in order to explain why that happened – he has to explain about his parents and the background to his birth to such an extent that, after nine volumes, he is way back before his birth and has never started his autobiography. That is what my English master told me at school.

The reason I cannot read Tristram Shandy is because, in 1991, I was hit by a truck while I was standing on a pavement and now I can write books on computer screens, but I cannot read books.

It would take too long to explain.

I was hit by a truck because, one Saturday in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, I was rushing to post a birthday card to someone I knew in Norwich, Norfolk. She was not a friend, just an acquaintance of an acquaintance whom I had met by accident a few years before.

My mother and my father went to the same school together in Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Scotland, but they had not really known each other then. They were in different classes. My mother lived in the small village of Garlieston. My father lived in the Isle of Whithorn (which, confusingly, is a totally different place to Whithorn).

My parents re-met by accident in their twenties in the 1940s

My parents re-met by accident in their twenties in the 1940s

During the Second World War, my father was home on leave from the Royal Navy. He took a wrong bus and was walking down the main street in Whithorn. My mother was in the street with a friend who had gone into a jeweller’s shop. My mother looked up the street and was surprised to see my father walking towards her.

She was surprised because she had heard he had been killed.

“I thought you were dead,” she told him.

They got into a conversation.

“No, I wasn’t killed,” he told her.

A few weeks later my father, his sister and some other people went from the Isle of Whithorn to my mother’s village of Garlieston for a dance.

My mother’s family dog disappeared and she went off looking for it with my father.

The dog (a Jack Russell called Vick) eventually turned out to be asleep under the sink in the kitchen.

Me (aged 1) with father near home in Campbeltown, Scotland

Me (aged 1) and my father near home in Campbeltown, Argyll

I think my parents married in 1948. It might have been 1946. I can’t be bothered to check. It does not matter. It is in the past. The past is only what people remember or what people claim in writing happened in the past. The past does not exist, even though everything is interconnected by happenstance.

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Less than six degrees of separation for Malcolm Hardee, Ridley Scott, Stevie Wonder, EdFringe and Apple iPhones

Paul Wiffen knows how to use Stevie Wonder’s thumb print

I am interested in the concept of six degrees of separation, because it is usually an overestimate.

I had a drink again yesterday with the indefatigable criminal-turned-author-turned-film-producer Jason Cook, who is putting together a movie The Devil’s Dandruff, based on There’s No Room For Jugglers in My Circus, the first of his three semi-autobiographical crime/drug trade novels.

He has now teamed up with Paul Wiffen who, like Jason, is what Hollywood calls a ‘hyphenate’.

He is a director-producer-composer-sound designer-performer and even, much to his own surprise, appearing in a cardigan in the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

It turned out that Paul’s father was born in Chadwell Heath in Essex and Paul lives there now.

“That’s a coincidence,” I said.

It is the outer suburb of London where my parents briefly lived when my family first came down from Scotland. My teenage years were spent in nearby Seven Kings, where the perhaps one-mile long high road was lined almost entirely with second hand car dealers.

“This was,” I told Paul yesterday, “before the name John went out of fashion because of – I think – Alexei Sayle’s song Ullo John, Got a New Motor? making it a naff name.”

“That’s a coincidence,” Paul said. I was at school with Rik Mayall. I was in a school production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. I was Rosencrantz; he was Guildenstern and we also did Waiting For Godot, but I wasn’t one of the two leads: I was the guy who comes on as the horse.”

When Paul left school and went to Oxford University, he joined the Oxford University Drama Group but found others were better at acting, so he concentrated on doing the music.

“At the Edinburgh Fringe,” he told me yesterday, “I was in this terrible po-faced Oxford production of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. But, that same year, my friend Lindsay was musical director of a Cambridge Footlights’ comedy production at the Fringe which had Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Tony Slattery. Lindsay got food poisoning one night and I filled-in for three or four days.”

“Oh,” I asked. “Was Emma Thompson also performing at a venue called The Hole in The Ground that year?”

“I think she was,” Paul replied.

“Well that’s another coincidence, then,” I said. “I think that might have been the year when The Hole in the Ground had three tents in it – for Emma Thompson, The Greatest Show on Legs and American performance artist Eric Bogosian. My comedian chum Malcolm Hardee got pissed-off by the noise Eric Bogosian made during The Greatest Show on Legs’ performances – and Bogosian had made Emma Thompson cry – so Malcolm got a tractor and drove it, naked, through the middle of Bogosian’s show.”

While at Oxford, Paul also got an early taste of movie-making when he was an extra in the Oxford-shot ‘Harvard’ scenes of Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate (the movie which destroyed United Artists).

“I was three behind Kirs Kristoffersen in the awards ceremony,” he told me, “but I was cut out of the ‘short’ version of Heaven’s Gate shown in Britain, so I have never actually seen myself in it!”

By 1982, after he graduated from Oxford University with a Master’s Degree in Languages, he shared a flat on the Goldhawk Road in West London.

“I went to some party that was a Who’s Who of early alternative comedy,” he told me, “and somebody introduced me to this rather chubby bloke saying: This is Alexei Sayle from Liverpool.

“I got on really well with him cos I grew up in Liverpool and he said: Oh, we’re doin’ a music video tomorrow morning in Goldhawk Road. Why don’t you come down. So I stood in the background on a car lot on the Goldhawk Road about three streets away from where I lived and watched them shoot Ullo John, Got a New Motor?

Later, Paul was involved in five Ridley Scott directed movies, the first as sound designer on the Blade Runner soundtrack composed by Vangelis. The gas explosions burning on the skyline are actually, Paul told me, slowed-down timpani “because explosions didn’t work.

“Most of the first three weeks on that project,” he said, “I had no idea what I was working on. There was super secrecy. I thought I was doing a Coca Cola advert. I wasn’t allowed in the main room to see what was being projected but, once, I looked through the door and saw this space ship floating across with Drink Coke on it. After three weeks, I realised Maybe even Coca Cola adverts don’t go on this long.

“Then I went on to another Vangelis soundtrack which was The Bounty starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, directed by Roger Spottiswood. I didn’t do any work with Roger Spottiswood at all. On the final third of his pictures, Ridley Scott has the composer in the room with him – editor, composer, composer’s team and Ridley. Spottiswood wasn’t there.

“For The Bounty, we did the whole score on the 9th floor of the Hotel Pierre on Central Park in New York. Vengelis had the whole of the 9th floor because, he told me, he knew he would be making so much noise the hotel could not put anyone else on the 9th floor. It turned out the movie budget had also paid for every room on the 8th and the 10th floors as well, so Vengelis could compose the soundtrack on the 9th.

“The next time Vangelis called me was for a terrible Italian film called Francesco – the story of St Francis of Assisi with Mickey Rourke strangely cast as the saint. Vengelis always works evenings and nights, so we were there at 4 o’clock in the morning scoring this scene in which Mickey Rourke rolls bollock-naked in a snow drift – apparently St Francis used to assuage his natural urges by doing this. So we are sitting there watching Mickey Rourke rolling bollock-naked in slow motion in a snow drift and Vangelis turns to me and says: Sometimes, this is the best job in the world… but tonight it’s the fucking worst.”

That is a key scene in the planned movie which Paul hopes to make about Vangelis. He would direct the film and also play Vangelis.

“And he’s happy with that?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” said Paul, “I first suggested the idea to him about two years ago. The main thing is he wants anyone who plays him to be actually able to play the piano.

“The only other film I did with Vangelis was 1492: Conquest of Paradise. I was supposed to do some stuff on Alexander, but I ended up getting 30 seconds of my music in the film and nothing with Vangelis. I’ve done two other movies with Ridley, both with Hans Zimmer – Black Rain and Gladiator. I think I’ve done 17 films with Hans Zimmer.

“On Gladiator, I did a lot of the synthesizers behind Lisa Gerrard, who plays the zither and sings on that score. That was probably the longest project I’ve ever worked on: it was over a year.”

For the last four years, Paul has been developing a movie script with Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran: a feature film version of their New Statesman TV series with Rik Mayall.

“The plot,” says Paul, “is about how Alan B’stard is responsible for the credit crunch and all that money that’s disappeared – Alan’s got it all.”

Gran & Marks are also, says Paul, “developing their half-hour TV comedy drama Goodnight Sweetheart as a 90-minute stage musical”

Between 2001-2004, Paul told me, he “realised the music industry was dying on its feet and I wanted to get into the film industry. I reckoned the only job that could get me from one to the other was working for Apple computers.

“I did the first ever demonstration of an iPod in Europe. The original pre-release version of the iPod recorded sound, but Steve Jobs got so worried about the idea it might be used to bootleg concerts that they actually took the capabilities off the first iPod they released.

“As part of what I did for the next two years, I had to work on the beta versions of new products and they sent me through – in great secrecy – what they called ‘an audio and video recording iPod’. Do you know what that was?”

“What?” I asked.

“It was the iPhone. We just thought it recorded audio and shot video. It looked very similar to what it looks like now, but telephones weren’t that shape in those days. Another team was working on the telephone part of it.

“I pointed out to them that, when you scrolled, it took a long time to go through long lists because it stopped every time you took your finger off. I said, Why don’t you make it so, once you swipe your finger and lift it off, the menu keeps spinning like a globe of the world does if you spin it. So you can spin it and then put your finger on again to stop it where you want…. 2004 that was.”

“Great idea!” I said. “You should be working for Apple at Cupertino!”

“I lived in California from 1986 to 1992,” Paul replied, “and I told myself I’m only going back when I’m a famous film director.”

“Maybe The Devil’s Dandruff will be the one,” I told him.

Jason Cook smiled.

“If you want to get an American work visa,” Paul said to me, “do you know how to get one?”.

“Marriage?” I suggested.

“No,” said Paul. “You get Stevie Wonder to put his thumb print on the application and then they have to grant your work permit, otherwise they’re not allowed to keep the piece of paper with his thumb print. There are always people in the Immigration & Naturalization Service that are big Stevie Wonder fans.”

Paul worked for nine months doing ‘sound design’ on Stevie Wonder’s album Characters which had one hit single –  Skeletons – which was used in the limousine sequence of the movie Die Hard.

Movies, music, Malcolm Hardee, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Willis.

Six degrees of separation is usually an overestimate.

Or maybe Paul Wiffen just has his fingers in lots of pies.

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Several true inter-linked coincidences in Edinburgh, unbelievable if in a novel

Something fishy happening here?.. Just coincidence.

Normally the drive from London to Edinburgh takes me around seven to eight hours. Yesterday, we left at midday and it took me eleven hours – after two hold-ups caused by visible car crashes and five other very serious traffic jams. Eventually at Biggar, about 26 miles from Edinburgh via an up-and-down, windy road, we hit fog, which lasted all the way into Edinburgh. The only upside was that Edinburgh shapes look rather nice in foggy outline.

When we got to our rented place at the bottom of Morningside hill – the exact house address is 5a – there was no key waiting but, having sorted that out, we drove off at about 11.30pm in search of a pint of milk.

What I am saying here is that the exact timing of what happened was pure happenstance.

On the way to what I thought might be a 24-hour shop on Nicholson Street (it turned out it is only 24-hours during the Edinburgh Fringe), having changed the route I intended to take, my eternally-unnamed friend said excitedly: “There’s a fish and chip shop open over there!”

It was called The Codfather with a sub-title: Criminally Good Fish and Chips and proclaimed it was “100% Halal”.

Obviously, I could not resist.

While waiting for the fish, I saw a card for the shop lying on the counter. It said the street address of The Codfather is 5a. What a coincidence, I thought. We are staying at a 5a in Morningside.

Next to the Codfather card was a similarly-designed card for Assam’s restaurant in another part of Edinburgh, at the top of Leith Walk. On the back of the card for Assam’s in Edinburgh, were details of Assam’s in Glasgow.

In March, I blogged about going to a Burns Night Supper in Kiev (despite the fact Burns Night is in January). During that night in Kiev, I encountered a man who said he owned a new Edinburgh restaurant called Assam’s at the top of Leith Walk; he also owned a similarly-named restaurant in Glasgow.

I am up in Edinburgh for a meal tonight with Stuart McKenzie, the Scotsman who organised that Burns Night Supper in Kiev and who is Managing Director of the largest PR agency in the Ukraine. He is flying over for the meal. Last week, he decided to hold the meal in Assam’s at the top of Leith Walk.

“Oh,” I said to the man at the counter of The Codfather in Edinburgh last night. “Are you somehow related to Assam’s? I’m having dinner there tomorrow night.”

“Tell him,” the guy said, pointing to a man standing at the other end of the counter. “He’s the manager of Assam’s.”

“I’m having dinner there tomorrow night,” I repeated to the other guy.

“You have booked?” he asked me.

I nodded.

“Do you know a man called Stuart?” he asked.

“Stuart McKenzie?” I asked.

“Yes,” said the man at the other end of the counter.

“Amazing,” I said to the manager of Assam’s. “I didn’t meet you a Burn’s Night Supper in Kiev in March, did I?”

“No,” the owner of The Codfather interrupted, “that would have been my younger brother. He owns Assam’s. Was he with another guy, skinhead look?”

“Ah!” I said. “Yes. I remember. He was.”

“That’s his friend who owns some Subway food shop franchises,” the owner of The Codfather said.

And, indeed, I remembered having a conversation about that very subject with the guy in Kiev.

So, driving in the fog in Edinburgh, on a whim, to a non-existent 24-hour shop, we had stumbled on a fish and chip shop owned by the brother of the man whom I had a conversation with in Kiev in March – who, in turn, owns the restaurant in which, tonight, I am having a meal with Stuart McKenzie who has flown in from Kiev… and the manager of the restaurant was standing at the other end of the Codfather counter last night.

“If you have any complaints tomorrow…” the owner of the Codfather said to me.

“Yes?” I asked.

“That,” he said, pointing through the window, “is the chef at Assam’s.”

I looked.

A man standing on the pavement was staring in through the window at me. He looked surprised.

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Desperate Housewives and Fate


The hip bone's connected to the back bone
The back bone's connected to the neck bone
The neck bone's connected to the head bone
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Last night I accidentally caught the end of an episode of Desperate Housewives on TV: not something I have ever watched before.

Someone got shot in the chest at the end. As normal, there was red blood on the shirt-front, but no tear in the pristine fabric of the shirt.

Even in successful TV series, people cut corners to save money.

There was much voice-over pseudo-philosophising from his TV wife about how life can be changed in an instant.

But it’s true.

I have slept on my bedroom floor for the last two nights because my back has ‘gone’ again. If I move in certain positions, it is like someone stabbing a Samurai sword into me and twisting it.

It is the result of an accident in 1991 when I got hit by a truck while standing on the pavement. I was walking to the post box with a birthday card for someone I had accidentally met around ten years before; not a friend; just someone I kept in touch with.

If I had not met her and if her birthday had not been on a certain date and if I had not been going to get the last postal collection that day… it would not have happened 21 years ago and I would not have been sleeping on the floor and in quite a lot of pain the last two days.

Same thing with anything.

If the question is Shall I do this? or Shall I not? the answer should always be to do it. Because you can never calculate the ramifications. The more you do, the more possibilities there are.

Although, of course, there is always the danger of the being-hit-by-a-truck ramification.

But no-one can calculate the possibilities. At least if you try to do something, you know the outcome. You may fail, but at least you know the outcome. If you don’t try, you will never know and will always ponder on what might have happened if only… if only…

Ye Gods!

How do I have the gall to criticise Desperate Housewives for pseudo-philosophising?…

And where did I put that Chinese ointment which sometimes helps me?

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