This is one of the strangest stories from my time writing "Archie."
Just to fill you extract readers in a little, Sally was someone whom, when I started writing Archie, I hardly knew at all. But as time went along,
she became very involved in the whole project, and a good friend. Also, the narrator who appears throughout the musical is called "Nadim".
This story is typical of many "coincidences" that turned up along the way.
14 August 2001, an odd day...
My normal routine in the morning (depending on work) is to check my computer at home for any emails, attend to any messages, and then have some breakfast.
So having checked my empty inbox, I went off to the kitchen for my breakfast.
A few seconds later my computer beeped, which I thought was odd, as I had just checked my inbox.
I had one new message waiting for me; it was from Sally. She was expecting her second child, and had been looking through yet another baby name
In it she had found the name Nadim; it had the story about Nadim being the king's favourite drinking companion, which I knew, but also the name meant repentant. This I had not known when deciding
on a name for my narrator.
On my drive into London that morning I though a lot about Elsie, Elias and Archie. I went through them one by one, trying to work out which one of
them might have been repentant.
Elsie maybe, as she had been locked away for all those years and it's most likely she would have spent many nights wondering about the son she had
Archie, possibly, forever wondering if it was somehow something that he had done that made his Mother go away. After all, he was only told she had
gone away for a rest, and nothing else.
Then I came to Elias, now there was someone who may have been repentant. Sending his wife to an institution, not telling his son the full facts, and
who would sometime later take another woman into his life, having another child by her, whilst all the time Elsie was just a few miles away in Fishponds.
As all of this was going round in my mind, I had a John Barry CD playing in the car. One track on there always seemed to capture the feeling of
the Leach family at that time. The track is called "Somewhere in Time." I always found it easy to think about those days of the early nineteen hundreds when listening to this track.
By the time I had arrived at work, Elias was going round and round in my head.
Later on that day I had to walk up to Notting Hill Gate, a trip I have done over a thousand times. As I walked up the road I noticed a patch of
concrete that had something scratched into it.
My curiosity got the better of me and I went over to take a closer look. The scratching was a name. That name was ... Elias.
As I have said I must have walked past that very spot over a thousand times, and never noticed a name there. I think it could only have been done
Whilst writing "Archie," time after time coincidence would come knocking. Some, like the one above, would be so strange; it would take a few days just to convince myself that it really
happened. But it did.
Some people would say to me upon hearing such stories that..." It means youíre meant to write it ... it's fate". Or. "Heís talking
to you lad, he's talking to you." Or. "Itís all just part of the aura around you!!!" and others, "Yes, it's just coincidence."
Whatever the answer is, as I have said before, I can offer no explanation. I was the just the person with the ticket for this journey, and this is
what happened along the way.
late 1996 Robert Barham began work on a musical about
the early life of Cary Grant. The musical was entitled
"Archie". During the course of his research,
Robert came across a number of extraordinary
coincidences between his own life, and that of Cary
Grant. In "The Journey", Robert tells the
fascinating story of his three years writing and
researching the musical, from page to stage. A tale
which would take him from London, to Cary's birth town
of Bristol, and finally on to Hollywood.
To order The Journey, go to
You will then have the ability to download this e-book for
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11 | Epilogue
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