Background: on September 12 2002 my father in law died. On the same day Warren Zevon announced to the world he had cancer. A year to the day later Johnny Cash died. And so did the actor John Ritter.
Suddenly I'm not sure. It's something I just know and I start to wonder if I've conflated these facts. Jackie says he'll contact his record company the next day and check.
Fast forward to mid-2005: The wonderful Scots singer, songwriter and raconteur Jackie Leven (pictured above) and I are driving to a gig in Bournemouth. He tells me that his new album will be called Elegy for Johnny Cash and will be out on September 12. Oh, right I say, the anniversary of Cash's death. Really? says Jackie I didn't know that. Strange, freaky, weird, are you sure.
I suggest he borrows my mobile and calls my friend Paul. Paul is an anorak who will know or will have access to the web and let us know. Jackie scrolls down and says there's several Pauls in the address book. I look across (I'm driving) and say that one.
Jackie calls: Hi, Chris Tarrant here, calling from Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Can you help Phil win £50,000 by answering a question.
Confused Paul: what?
JL: Chris Tarrant here, can you tell me what date Johnny Cash died?
JL (slowly): what . . . date . . . did . . .
Paul: what the . .
This went on for some time with an increasingly confused and irritated Paul getting increasingly irritated and confused. Even when Jackie stopped being Chris Tarrant it didn't make it any better.
It was of course the wrong Paul who had (I learned later) just been having a blazing father/son row with his teenage boy and could not understand why this nutter on the end of the phone was asking him about Johnny Cash.