Last year I wrote a few “Coincidence Corner” pieces, light-hearted reviews of the themes, stories or references that recur if you keep your eyes and ears open, no matter what you read, watch or listen to. If you’re not finding “coincidences” it might be a sign that you’re not reading, watching or listening to much at the moment. That’s been true for me in recent months so “Coincidence Corner” has been put to one side for a while, but there have been a few linked items this month which I wanted to make a note of.
The lyricist Barry Mason wrote the words to “Delilah” and both sides of the Leeds United 1972 release “Leeds United” / “Leeds, Leeds, Leeds”, among many other hits. During January he was featured in Ken Bruce’s “Tracks of my years” slot and spoke of his early years trying to make a living as an actor. He appeared in a stage play with Albert Finney around the time that Finney was cast in “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning”. Mason asked if they could find a part for him in the movie, as he was “borassic”. They did, and he appears as a singer in a pub band during the opening scenes, singing the Adam Faith #1 “What do you want?” I hadn’t seen “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” for decades and couldn’t remember much about the pub scenes, where Finney’s character is in a drinking competition with a sailor. Last Saturday evening, while flicking through the channels during a break in the snooker, I found that the movie was just about to begin on London Live, a channel I had never previously watched. I watched the first 15 minutes or so, to check out Barry Mason’s performance, and then went back to watching the snooker with my 12-year-old son. That same evening I was flicking through a “Pointless” quiz book and learnt that Adam Faith’s “What do you want?” is the shortest single to reach #1 in the UK charts. Reading that piece of trivia within hours of seeing Barry Mason singing the song was enough of a coincidence to make me draft this piece.