Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A series of strange coincidences

A couple of months ago, I was invited along to a poetry evening at Home House, of which my lovely friend Derya is a long-standing member. Following the main part of the evening, my friends and I got chatting to a couple of people, and I mentioned I was ex Saatchi, and that I was now a freelance creative. This chap piped up that he was the creative director of well known ad agency in Amsterdam. Hearing that Robert and I were heading over there he gave me his details and said I should contact him. I didn't write them down, and subsequently forgot them.

Anyway - last night was the annual poetry society dinner marking its 6th year anniversary, which I was lucky enough to be invited to.

A man, who I took to be the same ad guy I had spoken to previously, came to join our table at the bar later. I immediately started mattering away, asking him how Amsterdam was etc. He looked at me quite surprised and said, 'I'm no longer in Amsterdam, I'm based here in London." Curious as to the sudden change in location and quite possibly job, I asked him when it happened, and he replied that he had left Amsterdam two years ago, and was working as a fund manager.

"What?!?" I thought - he was offering me possible work just two months previously, and now he says he left there two years ago? I was very confused.

Admittedly, he too looked confused most of the time, and kept asking me - so when exactly was it the last time we met? I responded - "Oh about two months ago, but you were very drunk - so I imagine you don't remember it."

Now at this point, most people will say - this is clearly not the same guy. And they'd have a point - but things got increasingly bizarre as the conversation progressed.

Still amazed at the major change in career, I asked him - how does someone go from being a creative director of a leading ad agency (I did mention the name of it) to being a fund manager - what made you leave it all behind?" Looking confused again he continued to answer my questions, but became increasingly vague regarding the advertising ones, but here's the rub: At no point in the evening did he say "I wasn't the creative director of X", or, 'I've never been a creative director", or, "I've not been in advertising ever."

This morning I dropped my friend Jane (who was at both evenings too) an email, and she tells me that it was in fact a completely different guy - but one who looked remarkably similar to the other one. Blair also provided me with the ad guy's name - and yes they are two entirely different chaps. Mystery solved. Or is it?

Was this in fact a series of very strange coincidences?
(a) Two guys who look incredibly similar, both happen to be members of the same club, and both attend poetry society evenings
(b) Both have lived (and one still does) in Amsterdam
(c) Both have been (and one still is) in advertising
(d) At a stretch - is it possible that guy number 2 was actually creative director of the very same ad agency in Amsterdam at some point previously?

I even commented to guy number 2 on how very different he was personality-wise from the last time my friends and I had met him, but put it down to him being drunk previously, and sober last night (he was driving and therefore not drinking).

The alternative to all of this is that he was having a bit of fun with me and playing along, clearly aware that I thought he was someone else. Judging by the vagueness with which he answered my questions on his switch-over from advertising to finance, it's entirely possible. But saying that, he also came across as a fairly sincere person, making the whole thing even more strange.

Very curious.

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