This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

TOMMY ALLSUP'S LUCKY COIN - AND A COMPETITION!

Tommy Allsup is alive and well, but he should have died on Feb 3rd 1959. And he would have done if another man hadn't challenged him to toss a coin.

Tommy was a guitarist with Buddy Holly's band. (Their music should play automatically when you open that link!)

On Feb 3rd 1959, band members were due to fly on an eight-seater plane from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Fargo, New Delaware. All the seats were booked and Tommy had one of the bookings, but Ritchie Valens wanted to join them.

"I'll toss you for it," said Ritchie. And Tommy agreed. Tommy lost the toss and gave up his seat to Ritchie. The plane crashed, killing all on board. The Buddy Holly band had been incredibly successful and this night became known as "the night the music died".

How many times must Tommy Allsup have thought to himself, "What if?" What if Ritchie hadn't wanted to go on the flight? What if Tommy had refused to toss him for it? What if...the hand that flipped the coin had spun it just slightly ... fractionally ... teensily a different way? After all, the way a coin lands depends on so many things. What if a breeze or air current had caught it differently, or if the coin had been the other way up when he picked it up... Arghhhhh! Those unknowable things! You could drive yourself mad thinking like that.

In some ways, that's what Jack does - playing what I call Jack's Game. (I'll tell you more about it another day.) This is what Wasted is based on - those events that seem like "chance" and which rule our lives. But it's not chance, is it? It's about the physical properties of that coin, the way it was spun, the strength of the fingers, the way the wind blew. We can't control it but it's not chance - it just seems like it. It is luck, though. Or it certainly was for Tommy Allsup.

You think Tommy was lucky? Not as lucky as the person I'm going to tell you about tomorrow... Any ideas who it is? Could be the luckiest person alive today.

COMPETITION: guess the name of the person I'm going to blog about tomorrow. I will use a coin to pick a winner if there's more than one correct entry and the winner gets a copy of Wasted. Or, if you already have Wasted, you can choose one of my other books. Hurry - you'll have to post your comment before tomorrow's blog post goes out! So, deadline 09.00 UK time. The post goes out at 09.01 - you get a lie-in for a Sunday!

12 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

Ooooh intriguing! I’m going to guess the lucky person featured tomorrow is going to be you.

Nicola Morgan said...

Hehehehe! I wish! The person I'm thinking of is genuinely lucky to be alive. Bit like a cat with nine lives - this person has used several of them.

I'm giving no more clues...

Nicola Morgan said...

Now people are emailing me or tweeting their guesses - come on: be brave and put them here!

But you don't have to enter the comp - comment is free.

fairyhedgehog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshall Buckley said...

I wondered "What can be luckier than not dying?" and, as Nicola said, it had to be not dying multiple times.

I found Franko Selek - and his is a truly remarkable story. Because, not only has he not died multiple times but... well, wander over and take a look at his story:
Luckiest Man Alive?

Nicola Morgan said...

Marshall - that's a great story! If I'd known about Franko I might well have blogged about him... It's just that sort of story that I did find, though. So, you are close.

KarenG said...

I have no idea who might be the luckiest person alive. This Tommy guy sure sounds lucky. All I can think of is Clint Eastwood saying in that movie, "You feel lucky?" But I'm pretty sure you aren't blogging about Clint Eastwood!

Clare said...

Not sure you can get much luckier than Maryann(e) Bruce - I certainly wouldn't want to be her travelling companion!

runnerbean16 said...

I have to agree with Clare and say that Maryanne Bruce has to be the luckiest person ever! Surviving an earthquake, a tsunami, flying through a hurricane AND survivng an avalanche, she is either the luckiest or most jinxed person EVER!!

womagwriter said...

Joe Simpson of Touching The Void fame? Though is he lucky, or 'just' very plucky?

That Franko fellow is quite something!

grethic said...

How about Violet Jessop - unlucky with boats - nearly drowned by sinking in the Olympic, titanic and Britanic

catdownunder said...

This has to be a character in the book? Jack - the coin has landed the way of survival rather than death on several occasions.