Friday, December 18


I love coincidences. This week I met someone at a first-aid course in London who knew the bookshop a friend of mine used to own in a small town in Somerset. It's like that connections thing where you are supposed to be able to link yourself to anyone else in the world through only eight people or something.

My favourite story goes like this.

Long long ago (I have just looked it up and think it must have been in about 1996 yikes!) I went to see the Belfast singer Andy White play a gig at a tiny venue in London. Andy had just released a new album, Teenage, which I really liked and which I had added to my collection of his other albums. At the gig I bought a T-shirt printed with his trademark doodles.

Some time later that year, or perhaps the following year, I went to Vancouver for a business trip, to see some of the construction projects that were being built over there. As part of the trip I went to see a new highway being built in Vancouver Island, taking the ferry to the island's main city Victoria and staying there overnight.

I decided that I would treat myself and take a seaplane back to the mainland the following day, so I went in to the office to book a seat. As I was talking to the woman behind the desk, a young man came in wearing a pilot's uniform. He started to stare at me and then broke in, staring at my T-shirt and asking where I had got it from. I explained, and he then told me that Andy White was his cousin! As soon as he said that, I could hear the lyrics of the song 'my gay cousin' going round in my head - the song includes the line 'flying high over British Columbia'!

I just love how so many elements of chance coincided to make that happen!