|I bet GLOPSH9Z ZORT still looks stunning today.|
After dropping out of university in late 1992, I moved back in with my parents in Wellingborough and stayed there for just over 3 years or so. Whilst back at the family home I began cartooning for no other reason than I was unemployed and had no idea what to do with myself and job-hunting was a task I treated with complete and utter contempt. I actually became quite self-disciplined and hard-working after a while, and I used to sit at my desk for hours on end, working away on my cartoons and comic strips whilst listening to Radio 1 right into the early hours of the morning. My favourite show was "The Graveyard Shift" with Mark Radcliffe and Marc "The Boy Lard" Riley which was on between 10pm and midnight, after John Peel and followed by Andy Kershaw if I am not mistaken. I used to listen to those shows religiously whilst cartooning, especially Mark and Lard who never failed to crack me up and play loads of excellent music (as they continue to do to this very day, although separately on their excellent BBC6 Music shows). One of the regular features on Mark and Lard's show was "Cult Book Corner" where an author would come on and do a reading from their (cult) book. One evening, probably in late 1994 or early 1995, I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom inking the above "Page Three Alien" cartoon for my still buy-able mini-comic "The House of Hatch". As I was inking the word "hermaphrodite" the word "hermaphrodite" was said on the radio at exactly the same time by none other than Adam West who was doing a reading from his autobiography "Back to the Batcave" on the Cult Book Corner bit on the show. Adam West is of course Batman giving the coincidence a novel comic book link. True story I assure you.
The thing is, the story didn't end there. About twenty years later I was visiting my good friend Dr Kat Grabeki in London for the weekend. I'm sure Kat won't mind me telling you that she had just parted company with a chap she'd met online and had been dating for two or three months. Being one of the most sound people I know, Kat was hardly throwing herself under the bus but we were chatting about it for a bit as we settled down in a tapas restaurant that Kat wanted to try (we met in Sevilla, Spain, so...). Despite the restaurant being pretty noisy as it had TV screens on the wall behind me, playing clips of pop videos, TV shows and films etc, the conversation turned to "serendipity" and we discussed the notion of whether things are "meant to happen" or not, although neither of us had a strong opinion on the notion one way or the other. After ordering our bloody expensive tapas, I related the above coincidence story to Kat, as I had once read an article in a woman's magazine that said something along the lines of, if a lot of coincidences happen to you, then you are "on the right path" with your life. Interesting, but ultimately unknowable. (I know the word "unknowable" doesn't exist, but I like it, so tough.). Just as I delivered the hermaphrodite punchline to my lovely dinner companion, Kat started laughing and said to me, "Turn around and look at the TV screens behind you." I duly did as instructed, and witnessed a clip of the cult 1960s show Batman featuring none other than Adam West playing on all the tellies! A coincidence about coincidences! No shit!