Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The coincidence.

I'm at a gig in Herne Hill on a Wednesday night, hiding behind a coat stand so the band can't see me. How did I get here? To explain that I must to rewind... 21 years.

My eldest son is in a band with someone he has known since he was six-weeks-old because his mother and I met at postnatal classes. We had the same distinctive pram, when everyone else had plain blue ones, ours were green with white spots, so we started chatting, which is how we discovered our baby boys had the same name and were wearing the same striped outfit from Gap. Of course we had to become friends after that and so we saw a lot of each other when the boys were little, but then she and her family moved to a different part of south London and what with her full-time job and my filming, and now the MA, you know how it is, sometimes you lose touch with people and I haven't seen her for ages.

By another amazing coincidence, despite living miles apart, our boys ended up in the same class at secondary school, which is where they started playing music and writing songs together. I like to think of them as the Lennon and McCartney of Cornwall because now they go to the same university, in Cornwall, which is yet another coincidence, and they are in the same band and that band just made an album, and is in London for one night for a gig in Herne Hill.

So, anyway, back to Wednesday evening in a pub in New Cross Gate, where I'm sober, of course, and proudly showing some of my new student friends pictures of my sons on my phone and telling them this story of serendipity: two mothers meeting, discovering they have boys with the same name, years later those two boys being in the same band, now playing in London...

"That is a lot of coincidences!" Says one of my new student friends. 

"Yes it is," I say. "Life is full of weird coincidences, or fate, perhaps."

"So, you're going tonight, yeah?" Says another of my new student friends. "To see your son and your friend?"

"Oh no." I say. "He doesn't want me to go to the gig, in fact he'd kill me if I turned up, and I don't think my friend will be there anyway; I reckon all parents are banned."

"But you have to go," says another of my new student friends. "Go!"

Yeah! I think. Too right. I gave birth to him. I brought him up. I bought him that first guitar, arranged guitar lessons, played him all that inspiring music. Why shouldn't I go? I have to go. I'm going!

So I text my husband to meet me there and order an Uber from New Cross Gate to Herne Hill.

When I get to Herne Hill my husband is already waiting outside, talking to the friendly bouncer. "They're on at a quarter to ten," the bouncer is telling him, "so if you don't want to be seen you'd better go and sit in a pub nearby or something until then." So we do.

At a quarter to ten we return, and as we're walking across the room we suddenly see our son - with his band - heading in our direction, so we dive behind the aforementioned coat stand until he passes, then hover at the very back of the crowd so we can watch him on stage, singing his heart out and playing his guitar, but he can't see us.

I squeeze my husband's hand. "It's like that time when he was five and he was an elephant at the Royal Festival Hall and we went to watch him dance," I say.

Before the band reaches the end of their last number we sneak away so he won't see us when the lights go up and he gets down from the stage. We bump into the bouncer on the way out. He insists we have a photograph taken, with him. "Proof!" He shouts, squeezing between us and throwing his arms round our shoulders. "Or he won't believe you were here!"

Next morning, I receive a text message. "Sorry you weren't at the gig last night, Liz! I was there and you would have loved it!"

Turns out that by coincidence the friend I haven't seen for ages was also at the gig with her husband, but they were in the mosh pit, jumping up and down.

Love E x


  1. What a great story! I love the amazing set of coincidences and the unfolding of that friendship -- obviously meant to the be from that first Gap babygro!

  2. Thanks for this. Yes, it was meant to be! Love E x