Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

An epiphany is described as an experience of sudden and striking realisation. It is like an electric light being switched on revealing something entirely new. I guess I would have been about seventeen when my epiphany struck. I suddenly realised I could have anything I wanted. All I needed to do was set my mind to it and it was all there -, wealth, fame, fortune - you name it I could have it.

Fortunately for me that first epiphany was quickly followed by the knowledge that I would have to take all that goes with it. In other words there is a price to pay. I didn’t need to look far to see examples of those who had
‘Got what they wanted'. Some of the most unpleasant and miserable people I saw were wealthy; the famous pop and tv stars often seemed to be found alone and dead in an hotel room or expensive flat after taking an overdose, either deliberately or accidentally.

I did once briefly wonder about becoming a 'Star'. I found myself doing regular bits on local radio about antiques. A producer said to me “You are very good at this, why don’t you consider taking it up professionally?’ My hat size grew by about an inch and in my imagination I saw my photograph and name in the Radio Times.

Then, one day, I found myself sitting round a studio table at the local radio station with two professional presenters. I watched and listened as they aggressively vied with each other to get the most words in and to come up with the sharpest ad lib. They were obviously hoping to change from being small fish in a tiny pond to being something larger in a much bigger pond. They never made it but they convinced me that I would rather not join the swim.

Now I see youngsters appearing on TV shows striving to become famous as singers or actors; appearing on TV or in front of thousands of screaming fans. I fear for them. No doubt there are hundreds of celebrities who lead happy and fulfilling lives but take a look at this very brief selection of ‘Stars’ who are known to have taken their own life

Marilyn Monroe; Dana Plato; Gia Allemand; Lee Thompson Young; Mindy McCready; Hunter S. Thompson; Simone Battle; Jonathan Brandis; Kurt Cobain; L’Wren Scott; Sawyer Sweeten; Sylvia Plath; Alexander McQueen; Lucy Gordon; Johnny Lewis; Ernest Hemingway; Robin Williams; Virginia Wolf

You may not recognise all of the names but they all have one thing in common - they were ‘Stars’ in their own particular field. They had acquired that elusive ‘Fame’ but stardom was not enough. But why? They had achieved their ambition - fame, fortune and an adoring public.

I suspect they all felt there was something missing in their life. Maybe it was real friends, a proper home life or just a feeling they were not in the real world.

Then think about the others where the verdict is ‘Open’ or accidental. In very many cases they had turned to drugs, drink or addiction of one sort or another in order to try to fill the blanks in their life.

So, even if you do not experience my epiphany, a word of warning


Comment from friend David

The 'Epiphany' blog had me reminiscing. My epiphany moment came in 1964/5 when the band I was in (The Avalons) were performing at the Lido Ballroom in Rhyl.

I can remember when we arrived in the old Ford Thames van late Saturday afternoon, the local evening paper had us on the entertainment's page as 'A London based group fresh from a tour of Germany'. Total bollocks, of course, we'd never been anywhere near Germany, or London for that matter.

However, after a successful evening on stage, I went to see the ballroom manager to get our fee (probably about £10). He wanted to introduce me to a man from London who was in the area scouting for talent and this guy asked if he could represent our interests. He was already looking after the likes of Mark Wynter and other well known singers of the day.

After a bit of chat, I said I would have consult with the rest of the lads in the band - at which point, he said he didn't represent groups or bands, just solo singers, it was only me he wanted!! I didn't think about it for very long - maybe 24 hours - before I telephoned him and firmly rejected his offer. How could I possibly sing without the lads I knew so well behind me?

Occasionally, I wondered what might have happened to me on rock 'n roll's highway to fame but mostly I thought what a lucky escape I'd had. Isn't it bizarre how we end up where we end up? I am so glad to be where I am!

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