Archive for the ‘coincidences’ Category

Coincidence No. 403 – Flamingo Club

17/5/17 Parque natural de las Lagunas de La Mata y Torrevieja, Spain

My Other Half & I were watching flamingoes from a hide. They were white apart from under their wings which had the intense pink we know and love.

17/5/17 La Mata village, Costa Blanca, Spain

I was reading outside a cafe after our walk in the nature reserve. The book was Evelyn Waugh’s novella ‘The Loved One’. I came across this sentence (on p.78), not the most likely of sentences:

Now was the time to watch the flamingoes and meditate…

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Coincidences No. 401 & 402 – time & place

I leave Mint Digital’s offices in Farringdon to walk to the launch of Sheffield DocFest near Russell Square. I walk past a plaque marking the birth of “Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield“. This spot is 26 miles from Beaconsfield. I was working in Beaconsfield the day before at the National Film & Television School.

18193044_10155074839690867_4979884499563393200_o I’ve been working in Finland recently and kept getting confused by the two-hour time difference – my phone was on one time, my laptop on another. So I decided to dig out an old watch I’d had for years – an art deco style one with two faces so you can operate in two time zones. I got a new pair of batteries put in at Stockmann’s last week, the big Helsinki department store. I’ve been wearing it since. I bought it a long time ago in a small shop in Bedfordbury, Covent Garden – long since gone. It was called Simon Carter (after the maker of the watch).

As I turn off Theobalds Road (where the brown LCC Disraeli plaque is) into Lamb’s Conduit Street I walk past the current iteration of Simon Carter‘s shop. (One of the producers I work with has her office and home in its basement).

Coincidence No. 400 – of Paramount importance

I am heading over to Channel 4 for a meeting from Tottenham Court Road. As I come up to the Circle & District platform on changing at Embankment tube I turn round and spot my friend Scott from Aspen. He is in town for one day only on Paramount Pictures business, flying back to Colorado from somewhere in Northern Europe via London. We get two stops together and mainly talk movies. Small world.

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When I get to my C4 meeting – at The Regency Cafe, one of the best things about the Channel – I join the queue whilst waiting for my old colleague Thom to arrive. I notice just behind me in the line another Tom I know, the son of one of my old college friends. (He lives nowhere near there and doesn’t work in the area when last I heard.) Small town.

 

Coincidence No. 399 – Dictators

14/4/17 Screening of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ at The Barbican cinema, London to mark his birthday (16/4/1889):

Herring (based on Hermann Göring):

We’ve just discovered the most wonderful poison gas. It will kill everybody…

Adenoid Hynkel (based on Adolf Hitler, birthday 20/4/1889):

All right. Later.

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11/4/17 President Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer at his regular press briefing at the White House compared Adolf Hitler to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad

Sean Spicer (based on Josef Goebbels and/or a buffoon):

We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.

Adolf Hitler

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Chaplin and Hitler were born the same year, same month, same week.

While Hitler celebrated his fiftieth birthday in April 1939, backing and speaking at the largest military parade in history,  Chaplin celebrated his birthday working on the script of ‘The Great Dictator’ which included a huge military parade and an extended sequence of a ranting dictator’s speech.

Both Chaplin’s Tramp and Hitler’s dictatorial scamp wore a toothbrush moustache.

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Coincidence No. 398 – dreamlife

I am in a cafe in Kentish Town with a Syrian refugee film-maker. We discuss my helping her get some job shadowing type work experience. I offer to contact a colleague at a particular documentary company. Within 60 seconds an alert comes up on my phone lying on the table indicating an incoming email from the boss of that very company.

We have been talking about dreams, half-dreaming, out of body experiences and premonitions. I mentioned my interest in coincidences in this regard – the unexplained, the patterns behind the surface world.

I suggest the best way to make a film of this film-maker’s dream-like experiences (which is her ambition) is through animation and a viable way of creating those animations might be by collaborating with students or graduates of the National Film & Television School. We talk about her recent interaction with the Head of the Film School and that he wasn’t feeling well the day they talked. Within 60 seconds an alert comes up on my phone lying on the table indicating an incoming email about the boss of that very institution who is stepping down from his role after 14 years.

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Coincidence No. 397 – quintuplets

4/4/17

I fall asleep with the radio on and half-wake up in the middle of the night to a story on Up All Night (BBC Radio 5) where Rhod Sharp is interviewing a Canadian about his efforts to preserve the house where the first ever surviving quintuplets, the Dionne quintuplets, were brought up. I’d never heard of them.

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The Dionne quintuplets 1938

Later that day I’m reading my book group book, ‘It Can’t Happen Here’ by Sinclair Lewis. On p.73 I read: “…upon the impossible occasion of Bishop Cannon’s setting fire to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, kidnaping the Dionne quintuplets, and eloping with Greta Garbo in a stolen tank.”

Coincidence No. 396 – Telegraph

This is just a small one (but I liked it).

I go to the Telegraph’s offices for a meeting in Victoria.

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My Alter LEgo at the Telegraph’s offices, Victoria

I reflect on how different these slick new offices (two floors of a modern office building) must be from the grand old days in Fleet Street and their own building.

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Old Daily Telegraph building at 135-141 Fleet Street

I walk from the Telegraph meeting across St James’s Park to an evening gathering of scriptwriters in a basement club. When I pop to the Gents above the urinal is an old Daily Telegraph 1D ad on enamelled metal. Not a huge coincidence but a nice little throwaway one.

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This one was auctioned in Jan 2016 in Wiltshire

Coincidence No. 395 – Kilts

Saturday 1st April

I’m walking into Saracen’s stadium at Allianz Park, North London for the Sarries V Glasgow Warriors European rugby fixture. As we walk past a kilted Scotsman the Enfants Terribles are discussing the origins of Kilts and the younger one (who is always full of useless facts) talks about how it is actually an Irish invention.

The next evening I’m watching Hitchcock’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ with Enfant Terrible No. 1 when the main character grabs a military type at a drinks and asks him, as a distraction and to get rid of a fellow guest who is in his way, to explain the origins of the Kilt to this in-the-way Latvian.

So the question of the origin of the Kilt twice in two days.

– Excuse me. I beg your pardon, sir. I have a Latvian friend here… who’s particularly interested in the origin of the kilt. I wonder if you’d be interested in talking to him. He’s a lovely fellow.

– It’s a most amazing story. You see, the Greeks, in the early period, they used to wear a kilt…

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(1940)

Coincidence No. 394 – DRG TCB

16/3/17

I am at a meeting in BAFTA with an old colleague of mine. He mentions his films are distributed by a company called DRG. I said I think I met a bloke from there a couple of years ago at a documentary festival in La Rochelle. It was the company name with three letters which made me make the connection. (We had dinner together in a group one evening, nice fella, but I haven’t seen or thought about him since.)

About an hour later, thirty feet from that spot, I go to the loo and bump into that very man. It’s turns out his company is not DRG but TCB.

So two years on, based on an incorrect connection, the same man is in the same place. Now that’s what I call a Coincidence (No. 394)!

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On Coincidences

I live for coincidences. They briefly give to me the illusion or the hope that there’s a pattern to my life, and if there’s a pattern, then maybe I’m moving toward some kind of destiny where it’s all explained.

Jonathan Ames – US writer, columnist, novelist, scriptwriter

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