Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity. ~ Leucippus

A long time ago I met a stranger on Twitter with the handle @balkandishlex who publicly doubted my claim of being a true resident of Reservoir, insinuating at the same time that I lived somewhere less desirable, like Toorak. Naturally, I was outraged.

To prove otherwise I agreed to meet him in a local park, overgrown and neglected by the local council, where he bought me an ice-cream and, wow, it’s only after reading this sentence back to myself, some six years later, that I’m shaking my head, amazed, thankful to have avoided the back of a milk carton. 

Of course, being a determinist I know that the Tweet and the meeting were unavoidable and the fact that @balkandishlex ended up being a good guy named Bill instead of a blogger-killer named Slicey was as much the result of the Big Bang as the evolution of multi-celled organisms, like elephants, from simple single-celled organisms, like Justin Bieber.

One event rolled on unavoidably from the next so that I invited Bill to lift weights with me in my home gym and while we were buffing our quads and thighs and primping our pecs together twice a week we became fast friends and then Bill met and fell in love with Isabel, an award winning Opera singer, who also started training in my home gym, every Monday and Wednesday night with Reservoir Mum and family friend Pauline, and when Isabel asked if I’d like to come along to the opening night of her show Death by Soprano the Big Bang determined that after forty years of being convinced that Opera was shit, I would get very very excited and say yes.

BillJust last night Isabel was in the gym decked out in spandex performing some Good Mornings and Squats with Reservoir Mum and Pauline when she offered me a double-pass giveaway so that two Reservoir Dad readers could accompany RM and I into a VIP booth for an upper-class dose of an Operatic sensation proclaimed to ‘tickle the fancy of opera lovers, cabaret fans and those with a penchant for absurdist comedy and theatre’.

Predictably I ran to the computer to start writing a give-away post and inevitably I thought a video of me singing would be the perfect way to finish it and so I ran back to the gym, in a fated fashion, to strike up this conversation that was always going to happen exactly like this…

‘I wanna do a Fanging It Friday style video for the giveaway,’ I say.  ‘What’s the easiest opera song to learn and sing?’

Throwing her hands up and jumping before the next burpie Isabel says, ‘Maybe O Sole Mia by Pavarotti?’

I hold up my iPhone and YouTube it as fast as possible and am dismayed to hear that it sounds complicated. ‘It’s in another language,’ I say.

‘All Opera is in another language,’ RM says. ‘Oh my God…’

‘Are there any Opera songs… ‘ I say, distracted for a moment because RM is standing behind Pauline and coaching her through a set of bent over rows. ‘Are there any Opera songs… less… um… foreign-y?’

‘Oh my God,’ RM says again, before she takes the phone off me and starts tapping away. ‘You liked this song. Remember? It was played at Emma’s engagement party.’

When she hands the phone back I’m immediately softened by the sound of Andrea Bocelli singing Time to Say Goodbye but slightly side-tracked by the visuals. ‘God, his eyes look so weird!’ I scream.

‘He’s blind!’ RM says.

‘Oh!’ I say. ‘Wow. I remember this song. It’s amazing and moving. I’m not sure I’ll be able to sing it without crying.’

‘You cry?’ Pauline says.

‘Oh yeah,’ RM says. ‘He was blubbering all over the place reading at his book launch.’

death-by-soprano-2‘It took me completely by surprise,’ I say, spiralling into emotion and self-reflection the longer Andrea croons through the iPhone. ‘I’m just much more emotional now. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I’m forty and my testosterone levels have dropped?’

After imagining that all three women rush to convince me that I’m still as manly and tight and cool as ever I touch my nipples and say, ‘I’m definitely less tight around here.  When it’s really warm, like under the halogen lamps in the bathroom right after a shower, I notice more boob droop than I ever have before.’

That the three women are now laughing is most likely not my imagination.

‘Plus, as well as the public display of emotion and wilting nipples, lately I’ve been masturbating differently… sort of just… flicking around down there… and it takes so much longer; like fifteen minutes. Doesn’t it RM?’

I leave the gym and enter the hall to the sounds of three women laughing like a thousand teenage girls and I have no idea why but my mind is fixed on the important task at hand – I must write an excellent giveaway post to convince as many people as possible that they would like to spend time in a dimly lit booth with me.

But then again, maybe I should just chill out and let life roll out like a line of dominos. Yes, stuff it, that’s what I’ll do.

I’m a determinist and here we are – you and I – as we were always going to be, emanating out from the Big Bang, without any real ability to influence the outcome.

You will either enter this competition by completing the simple steps below or you won’t. Who sits next to RM and I for the opening night of Death by Soprano is something that was decided 13.8 billion years ago and as unalterable as that momentous day six years ago, when I found myself in a mostly abandoned park accepting an ice-cream from a stranger names Slicey… I mean Bill.


Death by Soprano will be performed in Melbourne. Opening night is Wednesday 17 September, 6.00om. 

*Please support the Death by Soprano Pozzible Campaign here*

Visit the Death by Soprano website



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