There are apparently, as I type, 67.33 million people living in the UK (there might be more, or less, by the time you have finished reading this). That’s an awful lot of people. I’m not very good at probability maths. Or, at least, I used to enjoy it at school. (If Suresh has three red balls in a bag, and five yellow balls, what are the chances of him extracting a red followed by a yellow? 3 Marks). But the last time I could effortlessly work out Suresh’s chances of selecting a given sequence of balls was now a while ago, so I may need to brush up on it before I try to work out the chances of our latest signing and Adrian having a mutual acquaintance in common. Out of 67.33 million people, what are the chances?
We don’t actually know the circumstances of our latest Team Hobeck author’s and Adrian’s school friend’s paths crossing, but we have been told that we will learn about it over a glass of white wine at some point. Sounds like a good enough excuse for a tipple to me.
This sort of coincidence is more common than you might think. Here’s another. Adrian’s sister went to school with someone I worked with at Oxford University Press, who is married to someone who was the year below me at school. Three of the people in that scenario are from Cambridge and three are from Stafford. Their meetings, across the midlands-south divide, all seemingly chance meetings. Go figure.
Reading about coincidences on the internet reveals a number of theories, from Australian biologist Paul Kammerer’s idea that there is a basic physical force in play, which he called ‘seriality’ to Carl Jung’s notion that such ‘chance happenings’ are the result of telepathy or extra sensory perception (that’s the one I like to believe). Jung gave this ‘force’ a word: synchronicity. I love the idea of such fanciful notions but as is often the way, my enthusiasm is soon rained upon by those down-to-earth scientists who always have something to say. In this case, they will say to me, ‘Don’t be daft, you are just heightened to seeking out such connections and, of course, these things happen, but you only remember them because they seem extraordinary, they really aren’t.’ Boring scientists! I much prefer the idea that our paths cross with people who we have a previously unknown connection with for a reason. The word I use? Serendipity.
So I’d like to blame serendipity for David Jarvis coming to Hobeck. If it make me happy to believe this, then so be it. Why not? I suspect there are other connections we aren’t yet aware of. I can just feel it (the treachery of scientific fact).
David is bringing to Hobeck two previously published works which follow the antics of Mike Kingdom: The Tip of the Iceberg and This Is Not a Pipe, and his next one, The Violin and Candlestick.
Another coincidence? David’s books, or two of them at least, reference two of my favourite pieces of art. Ok, scientists, fair point, I do have lots of favourites. Shhh, already.
I have just one last not-at-all-unlikely coincidence to share with you, so please bear with me: put twenty-three people in a room and the chance of two of them having the same birthday tips from ‘unlikely’ to ‘more likely than not’. And, guess what? We now have 25 authors, 2 publishers and that is more than 23, and two of us share the same birthday: Christmas Day. Not at all weird. What’s more. We have two Jarvises now. No, that’s not weird either.
On the subject of coincidences, from David: In my first book, written in 1995, I had a minor character - Natasha from Uzbekistan. 22 years later I married Natasha from Uzbekistan.