When Sir Francis Drake came by the Cape of Good Hope he was so overwhelmed by its beauty that he called it “… the fairest cape … “.

Perhaps he was thinking of some woman at the time, the analogy is there …

Romance is after all romance … universal.

This made me think about the role of coincidence … serendipity … in romance?

We have all dreamt, even the most cynical of us, of coincidence, of serendipity, of magical alignments and so on  …

Those who are now cynical maybe still dream secretly, that is understandable if they are to maintain their cynical outlook!

Brownian motion, the stuff that we learnt at school if we were paying attention in physics, is perhaps that which we we are all caught up with – random and haphazard movements through time space!?

Of course there is also the Erdos-Bacon number … Twitter, Facebook statistically hover about in the six degrees of freedom zone – perhaps in our Brownian motion universe the six degrees of freedom help out to give us the illusion of serendipity by design!?

Anyone out there is just six steps away in the Erdos-Bacon universe … by the way the Bacon is indeed Kevin Bacon, the movie star, goes to show he is not just a pretty face …


Coincidence can be quite extraordinary …

Back in the days before the Internet the BP building in Cape Town would show various documentaries in its auditorium.

Open to the public, security was hardly an issue – licorice all sorts would end up watching during lunch time, including a granny who would knit and scratch in her plastic bags; she used to pop up everywhere, even when we went to the planetarium … the familiar and annoying sound of her scratching in her plastic bags would reach up to the farthest star!

Dave and I saw most of the Living Planet episodes where one species was busy devouring another, so much so that towards the end I was at a philosophical loss as to how to justify my vegetarianism.

I think it was one last predator that was the last straw, an Amazonian tarantula, that finally did the trick, and made me resolve that my vegetarianism was purely an emotional choice, and that was more than sufficient as justification.

We also watched the Music Of Man series, within which it is without question that we can agree to disagree about every musician – with the exception of Bach of course! If you have a problem with Bach then you must be from an alien species … ?

After one of these viewings I happened to go to our local library in Muizenberg, and lo and behold, the unmistakable sound of music that had transfixed me a few hours earlier was playing – the Adagio by Tommaso Albinoni, with the Berlin Philarmonic conducted by Von Karajan:


This version of the Adagio is so slow, so sweetly slow that it leaves you in awe and wonder …

Sheer coincidence that I walked into the library as it was playing, back then You Tube and the Rest was sheer science fiction, and there was no Instant Internet Gratification.

This became the music to put Julian to sleep, our auto-didactic webmaster before he grew up and became un-manageable, he could never last the full ten minutes or so, no matter how much he tried.

The other night he went to some music session at the Cape Town City Hall.

At some point he bumps into this beautiful girl, so beautiful that when their eyes meet, he looks away – actually, not only does he look away, but he walks away as fast as he can, her beauty is overwhelming, intimidating …

The face has transfixed him, the image is impressed in his mind.

Later that night he catches a movie on line … holy $%^&, no, surely not!

The girl is in the movie, playing the leading part!

This torments him so much that a couple of days later he has me watch the same movie – but before we start he tells me the story …and how beautiful she is!

Oh come on, you must be mistaken, I say. It cannot be the same girl …

But he insists, arguing that all sorts of celebrities end up visiting Cape Town …

I had never ever seen her before, it is a new movie, but, yes, indeed, she is both talented and beautiful.

Today, curious, I googled to see who on earth this was?

Holy $%^& … it is the daughter of one my favourite musicians, singer-songwriter.

The Erdos-Bacon Number clicks in, and has a field day in the mysterious flux field it operates in.

These ephemeral moments are just that, ephemeral.

Just an instant, yet paradoxically forever.

Everyone has had these moments, and in some parallel universe among the infinite numbers of them, Julian probably does not run away and ends up in a fairy tale … (Julian’s comment: really? I mean really, that is unusually optimistic of you, Gabri)

So all of this made me think of one of Julian’s best friends, from Italy, who could not wait to see Cape Town.

He came and a few days later bumped into a girl, their eyes locked …

Unlike Julian he did not run away, and without doubt the music that played in his head was as sweet as that of Von Karajan’s Adagio …

Copyright © 2015 G. Rigotti




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