On November 3rd 2003 this e mail arrived -
I read your book "Coincidences" a couple of years ago - an excellent read.
Anyway, yesterday evening I was in my kitchen cooking whilst my wife was painting the walls. She had the radio on (a very rare event - purely to relieve the monotony of the painting) and it was tuned into the local commercial station "210 FM" which was playing the syndicated Pepsi chart presented by "Dr" Fox (have never discovered what his PhD is in!?).
There was a competition for people to win a state of the art picture mobile telephone.
At one stage he read out the names of some of the winners. I disctinctly recall him reading out
"James Plaskett from Tamworth - hello James."
Your name was one of about 5 names - and the only one which he followed with a personal hello (as though he knew the listener).
I immediately said to my wife, "I think I know who that is - I've got a book by him."
It all made sense and having Tamworth as the location seemed correct for you. I went off to find my copy of the book and immediately noted that it is the publishers name "Tamworth Press" and not your home-town that gave the Tamworth link.
I then noted that the book gives Hastings as your address - miles away from Tamworth. Intrigued by this, I went to look at the web address given on the book to see if you had moved to Tamworth (thinking there must be a connection for the name Tamworth Press) and, after a quick search around, discovered that you are now living in Spain!
So, is there a James Plaskett from Tamworth whose name was announced on national radio, whilst a different James Plaskett has a book published by Tamworth Press on the subject of coincidences.
Or, was it you all along and the name Tamworth Press is due to a family link and you were back in Tamworth at the time? If it is the coincidence route - it is also strange that James Plaskett was the only name that Dr Fox acknowledged (with the "hello James").
As I was not really concentrating on the radio show - this addition made me note the name much more clearly than I otherwise would of.
Anyway, I hope this is of interest to you.
Would be quite a strange event if it is a true coincidence. It is not as if your name is common and the Tamworth link is intriuging. If it was indeed you then - I guess all I can say is congratulations on winning the phone - and sorry to waste your time.
I responded that it was not me, as I now lived in Spain, and added -
... Bizarre. Someone on the Internet chess club told me that, I think the day before IDS (Ian Duncan Smith) was voted out, last week, the BBC report of events in the Commons mentioned the Leamington MP, James Plaskitt, but misspelt his name as mine, i.e. with an e. I am in the news...
Many thanks for your intriguing report,
He replied -
James, That certainly is very bizarre - a coincidence revolving around a book on coincidences....... I came across your book via the Fortean Times and bought a copy after reading the review of the book. I also note that you have written a review of a book in the FT and have had at least one letter printed. I recently had an article published in the FT.
Glad the report wasn't useless,
I followed up with an explanation of the name of our Press -
... it´s Tamworth Press, as Julian Barnes sussed, because of The Tamworth Two.
You remember those two pigs, Butch and Sundance, who ran across country some years ago until they were caught. My wife and I had both put on weight, so...
Then after publication in Sep 2003 she stumbled upon the fact that the two pigs were being kept about 17 miles from Hastings. We visited, and got the tee shirt.
Last example in my book was about Who wants To Be A Millionaire? 13 mths later I got on the show again... and failed again.
He replied -
Glad to hear that you are still collecting coincidences
Three appearances on WWTBAM !
Is that some kind of record?