Social media synchronicity

The Beverly Sisters, 1982 (L-R: Vince Clarke, Don Jones , Dennis Newton, Jean Gerald Paquette

“A connecting principle,

Linked to the invisible

Almost imperceptible

Something inexpressible.” The Police, Synchronicity I, 1983

It’s not the first time that my online tales have linked me back to old friends and acquaintances or elicited thanks from someone who has stumbled upon one of my stories, usually via a Google search. In the most charming case, the grandson of an old mentor, whom I had written about, reached out to thank me for creating a picture in words (I hadn’t made a portrait) of his late grandfather, whom he had never met.

Of course, to repeat a cliché, a picture is worth a thousand words and this site is mainly about pictures, but I have a category dedicated to “words and pictures,” designed to fill in details on the photographs posted here — like the story behind “The Bible Society” image that relates another strange and serendipitous event that, to use click-bait language “you’ll never believe!”

The recent series of photos and back stories on my sojourn in Vancouver’s West Point Grey neighbourhood have proven to be some of my most popular posts, attracting anecdotes and historical details from readers … even on this blog, which is rare these days when people prefer to comment on social media — and that’s where this story begins.

The preceding hallucinatory Shell station post, shared on my Facebook page, initially received a couple of comments on FB, one a painting of a gas station at night, titled “Obligation,” from a Ewan McNeil.

Hold on! I’d mentioned, as an aside, Ewan McNeil in the post, as a member of 1980s Vancouver band The Beverly Sisters. “Ewan McNeil onetime Beverly Sister?” I asked.

“The same,” he confirmed.

How did he stumble on my post? Turns out he hadn’t read it; only adding his painting as a comment on my similar-looking photo.

Who knows if some new wizardry in Facebook’s algorithm served my post in his “status,” or if Carl Jung’s Acausal Connecting Principle was at work in cyberspace.

The conversation (on Facebook) took off from there and I referred Ewan to my photo of the Beverlies in my “Performers” gallery, then posted a couple more photos, including “Five Cute People,” who played a double bill with the Beverlies, in 1982.

Five Cute People, 1982 (L-R ?, Johnny Bellas, Joan Parkinson, Denise Parkinson, Brad Gough)

Before long, the web connected onetime backup vocalist Jean Gerald Paquette, and Cute Person Denise Parkinson, now living and working in London.

When I promised to search my files for related photos, Jean Gerald mused “… you must be more organized than I am.”

I’ll admit there have been occasions when this photography obsession has seemed to have run its course. More than once I’ve come close to pulling a Brian Duffy and making a bonfire of what seemed like vanities. But I suppose I am a sort of archivist. So it is that I’ve managed, through many moves and life changes, to haul along my binders of negatives and contact sheets, filing cabinets and boxes of slides.

The Internet has, in its short lifespan, made the world a much smaller place, just as the photograph did when it made its debut, just over a century-and-a-half ago.

“We know you, they know me



Though Facebook restrict interaction on embeds (you can’t add comments right from this page but you can click through on the comments icon to see them and participate), here’s the post that made the connections:

Technical: Camera: Nikon FM/50mm f1.8, Film: Ilford HP5, Dev: Microphen
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