Two of my favourite people are getting married today, and apparently I am to blame.
I’m not, of course. In fact, it is all Rob Smyth’s fault.
Smyth, in case you didn’t know, is a sportswriter and the star of The Guardian’s online cricket commentary, known to fans as ‘The OBO’. I shall write a lot more about him in future days, I am sure. Today’s memory, though, begins with something which he said towards the end of 2005, when he suggested that the OBO journalists and OBO readers should all meet up one evening.
In 2007 I emailed him and asked if this had ever happened. He confessed that it hadn’t, but also admitted that it should. The job of arranging the event was then taken on by another OBO reader, a project manager named Lynn, who set about organising the whole thing with gusto. As the one who had – albeit accidentally – resurrected the whole idea I felt honour bound to offer to help, and eventually the evening came to pass.
Various Guardian hacks showed up (including two who, bizarrely, spent the evening pretending to be other people). Lynn arrived with her boyfriend. A few other readers came. And so did a man named Jeremy, who had another date that evening but had dropped in on the fun for an hour or two.
Jeremy, it was revealed, had been the lead actor in a film some years before. As it happened, that film was to be shown on television a couple of nights after we had all met. I made a point of watching it. I liked it, but there were one or two facets which irked me. I described it afterwards as ‘knowingly arty’. Jeremy heard about this and angry emails were exchanged. Looking to diffuse the situation I suggested that we meet for a drink.
Jeremy’s response was that, as chance would have it, he would be in town that evening. He sent me his telephone number and I rang him. He said that he would have someone with him and that I needed to speak to them. He handed the phone on and without thinking I said “Hello Lynn”. I have no idea how I knew.
About four years later, I somehow predicted their engagement, too. Admittedly they had been living together for pretty much all of that time, so it wasn’t a hard prediction to make. Lynn was clearly very special as she had even caused Jeremy to sell his batchelor flat, a place so sacred to him that it even appeared in The Film.
Today, Lynn and Jeremy are getting married. I am very sorry that I cannot be there and I am immensely flattered that they think that I had any part to play in the fateful first meeting. But I can’t take the credit. It really is Smyth’s Fault.