Archive for the ‘coincidences’ Category

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

Coincidence No. 393 – Bright

13/3/17

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I got up and went to enjoy the early morning sunshine in the garden, reading Jay McInerney’s  ‘Bright, Precious Days’. I noticed for the first time that the word ‘bright’ recurs in his novel titles: Bright Lights, Big City; Brightness Falls; Bright, Precious Days.

I went to a funeral at lunchtime. In the service human life was compared to a passing shadow and the religious leader drew attention to the brightness that created that shadow.

In the evening I saw ‘An American in Paris’ at the Dominion (where Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’ was premiered in 1931). In that show the composer character has a revelation that what his tunes are missing is brightness in the wake of World War Two and the occupation of Paris.

 

 

Coincidences No.s 390, 391, 392: Someone up there

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No. 390

I’m sitting in – what turned out to be the very appropriately named – Spiritland in King’s Cross chewing the fat with fellow WordPress blogger Thom Hickey of The Immortal Jukebox when a voice comes from my right saying my name in a slightly uncertain way. That’s because we haven’t seen each other in over 20 years. K is the former girlfriend of my old friend S. It would have been S’s birthday on Monday just gone. The day before I went for a kind of memorial walk in honour of S with the third friend in the photo above. We talked about K. I hadn’t talked or even thought about K in a long time. So Sunday I unusually find myself talking about her. On Friday I bump into her. (Someone up there is pulling strings.)

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No. 391

I’m brushing my teeth this morning and (happily) hear my nephew from Dublin, Sean, downstairs playing ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis on the (blue) guitar. I’m on the tube back from dropping Sean at King’s Cross and meeting Thom [see No. 390 above] when I find myself in a carriage with a really good busker with a (red) guitar. He engages much of the carriage and gets people not only talking but singing along. He rounds off an enjoyable communal entertainment with Oasis’s ‘Wonderwall’. The Welsh woman in the headband has a brilliant voice and does all the response/echo lines (I know she’s Welsh because he’s got us all talking – he tells me I’m the only happy Londoner he’s met). So Oasis in the morning, Oasis in the afternoon – for a man who owns no Oasis records and never plays their music. To round it off, I came home to work on a documentary series entitled ‘What’s the Story?’ which involves Oasis.

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No. 392

I was reading an interview of Martin Scorsese by Paul Schrader (scriptwriter of ‘Taxi Driver’) yesterday morning at the front of the Faber book of the ‘Taxi Driver’ script which I picked up in the wake of the screening the other night. On the page I stopped at Schrader mentioned Kim Novak in ‘Vertigo’ when he’s listing his most memorable moments in cinema. I haven’t seen the film for years or thought about it for a good while.

I was reading ‘Mandy’ by Mandy Rice-Davies on the DLR on the way home from work yesterday afternoon. She mentioned meeting Kim Novak.

Not as Twilight Zone as No. 390 but still not a bad coincidence.

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Coincidence No.389: Something to do

An email comes in from Goodreads website based in San Francisco at 10:01 today:

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I go to a website I set up a few years ago to add it, Quotables. When I add it the site detects that it has been added before – by me! 3 years ago. I start scrolling down recently added quotations and 5 down I see this, added 19 hours ago by a teacher:

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