Apologies in advance for the obscure nature of this post, which may only be meaningful to British readers of a certain age - and quite possibly only to a subset of those. : - )
At the heart of the story is the concept of "Six Degrees of Separation", which has always fascinated me, not least because its first proponent rejoices in the name of Frigyes Karinthy. Wikipedia gives a neat summary:
"Six degrees of separation (also referred to as the 'Human Web') refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of 'a friend of a friend' statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer."
As the following story illustrates, certain media personalities may only be a single step away...
Mr Bonkers - as you may have gathered from our guitar collecting mission to London last April - is a professional musician, and plays electric bass with a variety of bands, most notably Roy Wood's Rock 'n' Roll Band. (For anyone not familiar with Roy Wood, this famously bearded singer songwriter is perhaps best known for his involvement in '60s and '70s bands The Move, The Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard.)
Last month Roy Wood headlined at Stockport Rugby Club, near Manchester. Also on the bill were The Rubettes (another pop act I remember well from the '70s), a Beatles tribute band, and local DJ Mike Sweeney.
After the gig, everyone was unwinding with a few drinks when Terry Christian (who had attended the concert) appeared backstage, and was introduced to Roy Wood and the other members of the band. By way of background, in the 1980s Terry Christian was a music promoter and band manager who went on to become a journalist, radio presenter and TV host. The TV show for which he is most famous was The Word, which Wikipedia describes as "a mayhemic mixture of pop music and teen attitude". It ran for five years in the 1990s, and reportedly attracted up to a 49% share of the viewing public in its Friday night slot.
"The magazine format allowed for interviews, live music, features and even game shows. The flexible late-night format meant that guests could do just about anything to be controversial.
There was also an 'I'll do anything to be on television' section called 'The Hopefuls' in which people ate worms, bathed in maggots, licked sweat off fat people, and did generally repulsive things in order to get featured on the programme."
But of more, much more interest than the worm-eating and maggot-clad contestants is the fact that one of Terry Christian's co-presenters was none other than KATIE PUCKRIK...
The initial introductions over, it wasn't long before the other musicians drifted off to get changed and Mr Bonkers found himself alone with Terry, propping up the free bar. The conversation immediately turned to important matters such as the World Cup and Terry's recent stint on the radio show TalkSPORT. They also talked about his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother last year.
And then the subject of The Word came up, and Mr B asked if Terry was still in touch with Katie Puckrik. And before they knew it, the pair were discussing Katie's new career in perfume, and Mr B mentioned that his girlfriend was also one of those fanatical fumeheads, that I followed Katie's blog, and had exchanged a couple of emails with her (in connection with a hard-to-find scent by Les Parfums du Soleil).
When I heard this account, I couldn't help thinking how incongruous it was that two straight-talking northern blokes, drawn from different walks of the music business, should be sharing a beer in a rugby club on a Saturday night, and end up talking about Katie Puckrik and me, their parallel perfumista pals...
I can in fact add a further strand to this "human rectangle" linking Mr Bonkers, Terry C, Katie P and me, for I once spotted Terry in a payphone at Euston station, presumably before the days of mobile phones. He was talking very animatedly in his unmistakable Lancashire accent. Little did I imagine back then, as I shuffled impatiently from foot to foot jangling my change, that his path would randomly cross mine some twenty years later, as part of an even more complex set of connections...
(PS The reference to Rolling Rock may be erroneous, but a little poetic licence was called for in the interests of alliteration and general symmetry.)
Photo of Amanda de Cadanet, Terry Christian and Katie Puckrik on The Word from MSN TV
Photo of Roy Wood's Rock 'n' Roll Band from the band's website
Illustration of the principle of Six Degrees of Separation from clever-linking.net
Photo of Terry Christian on Celebrity Big Brother from the show's website.