Small World

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Back To The Edge, Chawn, Dan Meets Celebrities, Gigs, Nexus

It is Friday, and I am in the library; staring at Facebook and listening to Colin tell a story about Mega Cleeton. When something catches my attention. “My word!” Colin is interrupted. And feels interrupted.


Peter Nevland!


“Peter Nevland’s in a movie!


“With Justin Bieber!


I don’t know who Justin Bieber is, but he has a film. He must be someone worthy. He must have invented some kind of voice-activated moisturiser, or rescued some dogs. He’s the kind of man I should know. I pretend.

“You don’t know?”

“No! Who is he?”

I stare at Colin. Poor, poor Colin.

“And hang on. Peter King? How is he in a film?”

I smile, for Peter King is a man that probably isn’t in a film with Justin Bieber.

“No, Peter Nevland. That singer bloke from Spoken Groove.”

“Oh yeah! You booked them for that gig at KCC.”

“Yeah! Him! He knows Justin Bieber.”

“Huh. Small world.”

I stare at Colin. “Is it? Is it really?” Colin stares at me. I persist in my posit-ion. “You fly to Australia and see if you still reckon it is! I’ve never tripped and somehow accidentally landed in Phnom Penh, and I’ve tripped at least eight times!

“No… what I mean is that people you know always seem to know people you know somehow. Or, like how you see the same people a lot.”

“This is England, Col. Most of the world has back gardens the same size as us.”

“Alright fine. England is a small world.”

I’d agree with that.

“Yeah, I’d agree with that.”


It’s August 2003. I’m 17 and having the time of my life at a Christian festival at the Manchester Apollo. Every night I find myself on a bus back to the campsite with some bizarre folk. Including one man who’s got the whole back of the bus singing the Poddington Peas theme. I’m impressed. It’s nice to see people properly respecting peas.


It’s the last day of the festival and I’m running around filming stuff on my £10 cash converters camcorder including Big Boots putting various signs, Richard Moss, and a complete stranger into my girlfriend’s tent. Without her knowing. Now we, (not the stranger), are wrestling our way through the crowds when we see a man. A man that gladly sings the Poddington Peas theme into my camera. He’s wearing his campsite pass on his shorts. I film it.

His name is Edward Murphy. —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

It’s August 2004 and the Manchester event is in London. I’m sharing a tent with Gibson, who strangely, is not Big Boots. Tenting with G means I’m near my girlfriend. Which is just fine.

I take a stroll between tents. It’s a beautiful sight. A horizon filled with sprouting tents and hot people. I am putting on sun cream, when I see a man. A man I recognise. A man on crutches.

“Edward Murphy!”


We chat, and it turns out that he’s on crutches. And here.


It is 2005, and I’m at Soul Survivor. My brother’s here, and has bumped into two blokes. Justin Bieber’s floppy friend and his surprisingly funky Wisconsinite guitar maestro. They are called Spoken Groove, and their show is absolute class. I’ve never seen anything like it.

When I see something I have seen before.

“Edward Murphy!”


He’s a volunteer steward at the funkiest gig in town. We dance stupidly together and have a gay old time. I clap in quarter-note triplets to confuse people and rub my Nexus-ness in people’s ears. Edward Murphy gives me his e-mail address, and we vow to keep in touch.

The gig finishes, and I meet the guitarist, Paul Finley. He teaches me to play a well solid song called George, and I become the 2nd person in the world who can play it. And the envy of my friends. Which is just fine.

I forget Edward Murphy’s e-mail address.


It is 2006 and I am at Momentum, Soul Survivor’s students special. It’s fantastic, but I’m on the lookout. I’m hunting Edd. To see him this summer would make it a spontaneous summer sighting four summers in a row!

I don’t see him.

It’s now the last night, and I’m downcast at not seeing The Pea. There are 10,000 people here. So, I guess if he even is here, the chance of bumping into him again would be infinitesimal.

We decide to go to Café Uno, the jazz and cakes venue, where we dance and bump into Edge legends The Crew and Baz, who unwittingly become the face of philosophy. Finally we sit back down, each of us wanting a bigger slice of cake. And a speech from Phil involving a diagram. I bite into my cake, and sigh. My brother leans over, and offers his sympathy.

“I’m so sorry Dan. I know you were really hoping to randomly bump into Edward Murphy again, but think how many people are here! If he even is here, what are the odds you’d meet him again? He might have come on week A or B! That’s if he even came at all this year!”

He’s right.

“You’re probably right.”

I sigh. And look away. People are having the time of their lives. And here am I. Dreaming of a man.

When I see a man.

A man I can’t believe I can see.

“Edward Murphy!”

“Dan! My at-a-glance Christian buddy!”

Edd’s laughing and grinning like a happy murderer. We revel in the absurd unlikeliness of it all, before more stupid dancing and cake. My brother watches from his seat. And smiles. I see him looking over, watching Edd’s 70’s-style dancefloor whirlwind. I smile. And wonder if God arranged all these chance meetings just to make us all smile. It’s the kind of thing He’d do.


A few months later I am at The Edge. Charlotte announces that she has a spare ticket to see Delirious? in Manchester. I dive in, and the next night I’m back at the Apollo. I remember the toilets, and impress myself. A man walks past me. I am standing alone in the toilets grinning.

I move.

It’s rammed! But bliss to see so many happy people. I scan the happy little heads. And see old friend Sheri Bobbins. I am about to go and say hi when I see a man.

“Edward Murphy!”


There’s no cake. Or space to dance, so we share a knowing glance. I turn to go and speak to Sheri, but look back at Edd and make sure he knows that “I’ll be waiting for the summer.”

“Me too mate! That’s a promise!”


It’s Sunday morning, and I’m at church. The end of the morning arrives, and with it the weekly hubbub of people sharing life. Small children run between my legs as I navigate the bodies.

And see a man.

It’s Nath the Mother Drummer. I go over and say hi. “Hi Nath.” “Hi Dan. Let me introduce you to some old uni friends of mine.” I look to my left. And stare in disbelief. “This is Edd Murphy. And his fiancée.” I congratulate them. And we explain how we already know each other.

Nath laughs.

“Small world.”



Spoken Groove performing ‘The Flobgob’!


  1. Colin Gower says:

    Well, I know who Justin Beiber is if that helps! Yes I have a vague recollection of that conversation. I met a Justin Beiber lookalike once. He had a big sister who annoyed him a lot by doing a Big Brother style commentry as he lived his life: “Justin is now sitting down at the table. Justin is starting to get angry”. It was very funny

  2. Spammer says:

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