I had lunch today with a friend who I used to do a lot of work with, but who I haven’t seen for almost 20 years.
There was much to catch up on – who was doing what, who had married who, and sadly, did you know so and so had died? One of the consequences of getting older is that your career sits in a broader context. We’d met when I played guitar in a production of Godspell he was directing. He went on to direct two shows for the youth theatre group that my dad ran, before moving into TV and video production and many other things.
I became a sound engineer and then after being made redundant and becoming a freelance composer, he was pivotal in providing jobs that got me started. Although you can never say how things would have turned out had we never met, it’s hard now to see an alternate course if he hadn’t given me a much appreciated leg-up in those early years.
As we reminisced, it seemed a different time back in the early eighties … or maybe it was just that we were younger and had no real experience of failure to limit us. Crazy ideas were had, they were put into action and to a greater or lesser degree, they worked. It was, we both agreed, a special time and a fun time.
Then we traced back to how we first met and it was one of those Sliding Doors moments that involved a mutual friend falling off a horse, not being able to do a production of Godspell that my dad was directing, hearing of another production once she’d recovered, auditioning and getting a part, the production being short of a guitarist, me going to a party at her house where I met the director, him asking me if I wanted to play in the show, me saying yes … and the rest is history.
So an absolutely pivotal period of my career can be traced back to an accidental fall from a horse. My friend said the same thing. The identity of the horse is lost to history, but it’s fascinating how one apparently small and unconnected event can have such a massive impact on the direction of people’s lives. It’s a good argument in favour of destiny. Or maybe when you examine any momentous outcome – meeting your husband or wife, getting a life-changing career break, finding your dream home – it can all be traced back to a random and improbable sequence of events.
Who knows where we’d all be if Barbie had decided not to go riding that day.