I met Brian May from Queen once. Of all places to meet one of your heroes, it was at a toy fair in Surrey where I was selling Star Wars collectibles. Toward the end of the event, a mass of curly hair made it’s way through the dwindling crowds eventually arriving at my stall. I tried to play it cool and we spent about 20 minutes in conversation. I asked him about Freddie, his massive Star Wars collection, bands he was into at the time (Supergrass, if I recall) and for his autograph. It was after that I finally braved up to telling him about the band I was in at the time, alas, I did not have a tape on me (yes, it was that long ago) but he was very gracious and gave me a number to call for an address. I gave him a Gammorrean Guard and he fucked off.
Next day, still on a high, I called the number expecting it to go dead. To my surprise, it was answered by a Jackie. Now, in Queen circles, Jackie is very well known as the long-time head of the fan club. Anyway, she gave me Brian’s address and I sent him a couple of tapes. Within a week, he sent me a cheque for some Star Wars merch, a copy of the most recent Queen album (signed) and a letter in which he congratulated me on the music.
As it turns out, Brian was an awesome guy. However, a lot of people that you meet who may be of potential help or significance to you, are not. They are busy, they don’t want to be bothered and they certainly do not want to become pen pals with an overexcited rock star wannabe. That chance meeting with Brian taught me a valuable lesson: be prepared. If Brian wasn’t so open and kind, I would never have been able to get him to listen to my music. Now, nothing directly happened from him listening to it but positive comments from someone I admired and respected encouraged me to continue. Without that, I may well have given up.
Since then, I carry around promo material for whatever is the current project I am working on. At the moment, for instance, I carry around with me postcards for my book. If I find myself comparing penis size with a bloke at the urinals who turns out to be a book publisher, I can tap dry and extend to him a card.
There is no such thing as luck. There is chance, coincidence and happenstance. Luck is a fallacy and certainly shouldn’t be relied upon to advance your dreams. You need to be prepared. If you want funding for your business, make sure you have your 30 second elevator pitch memorised just in case you find yourself next to a Dragon. If you are an artist of any description, ensure you have about your person at all times something that demonstrates your skills, along with your contact details. This could be on a USB stick or a business card. Reach out to people you admire or that could help you. Ask them direct, courteous questions. Most of the time, you will be ignored but, once in a while, you will catch someone in a positive mood at a convenient moment.
Don’t be afraid. Luck? Preparation meeting opportunity, more like.