Oxford life. Thirtysomething challenges. Music leanings. Anything really.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Two degrees of Separation

I went to see a pretty poor production of the play Six Degrees of Separation recently. Fascinating idea, and even though the play may be unknown to many, the concept isn't - we're all linked to each other somehow, and it makes for gentile middle-class conversation to wonder how I, speccy IT travelling geek, may be linked to the Dalai Llama. All very good, but like a lot of dinner table conversation, ultimately meaningless.

Or so I thought until a couple of things happened recently that made me feel more like a part of Oxford than before.

Last Friday I went to see The Gs and Sol Samba at the Zodiac, Oxford's greatest music venue (a cuboid black box - simple and effective). Both bands are local, and both contain people I know. It is no longer term time and the Zodiac can be reclaimed by the locals from the students. In the crowd were more people I knew or recognised than at most gigs. Conversations with many were happy reacquaintances, and introductions to their friends revealed just how tight knit a crowd this was.

I reckoned everyone in that venue, dancing to the tight drum beats of Sol Samba and the shambolic noise-fest of The Gs, was connected by at most two degress of separation.

A few days later I went to pick up our organic vegetables from "Vegetable Sue" who lives round the corner. Outside her house was the Daily Information van. In my head a connection was made. I review theatre for the Daily Information, and the person who emails out the list of available plays each week is Sue. We've had many an email conversation, but never spoken.

And yes, it turns out that Vegetable Sue is also Daily Info Sue. The community of Oxford shrinks one more unit.

Why does this matter?

I've been in Oxford for eight years now, and over that time get to know more and more people. The fact that so many connections are made to such a diverse group of people is comforting. I despair sometimes about the apparent lack of community in Oxford, but these two events bring home to me just how close knit we are.

Hurrah for Oxford!

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