Continuing the Friendly Tree series of portraits, this is my friend Siobhain aka “Shiv” who I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known my partner Selena. They met while they were both temping at a company for just one day in 1993. Another chance meeting that turned into a long-term friendship. We have been to Thailand and Guatemala with Shiv, and through her Selena and I established a large group of long standing friends. Step forward the SOAS gang – Tim, Robism, Kevin, Jules, Ant, Ian, Miranda, Helen, Andy, Mischa, James & Jo the other James and Jo and then all the partners, husbands and wife’s that came along as the years went by.
The first time I really met Shiv is amusing. Very early in my relationship with Selena, we had a party at the house share I was in, in Stoke Newington. I was living there with Mark, the chef and his girlfriend Marika, the couple that took me to DTPM where I had met Stephen. Also living there was Jane, she had invited some of her London friends one of which was James Leppard, who unbeknown to us was also friends with Siobhan. The party was in full swing and the doorbell goes and Selena and I answer it. There is James asking for Jane, with Siobhain standing behind him with a puzzled look on her face, wondering what the hell Selena was doing at this party with friends of James. In this massive city of 6 million people, I had ended up sharing a house with a friend of a friend of Siobhan’s.
This, however, is not the only strange coincidence. Years later we find out that Siobhain had known a very good friend of ours – Gina – for several years before either of them figured out they both knew the same Robbie and Selena. Here’s Gina recollection of when they figured it out…
“I first met Siobhan through my ex-flat mate Suzie in March 2004- at LMNT, my now favourite restaurant in Hackney. Suzie and I had just moved to Hackney and while I had never met her, had often recounted stories of her colourful and gregarious friend Siobhan and I was looking forward to meeting her- especially when she said Siobhan had suggested we meet in a decadent cocktail bar/restaurant with an outlandish Egyptian theme. Outlandish it was- with cocktails named after Pharaoh’s genitalia and mythic porn etched into the loo walls- although Siobhan was totally at ease as if she’d grown up there. As expected she was energetic, sharply witty and huge fun- with her own brand of intelligence and abandon that few people can match. Suzie then moved to Scotland and I saw less of Siobhan but it wasn’t until the spring of 2006 that Siobhan mentioned Robbie and Selena in passing at another one of our drunken 6 hour lunches at LMNT that we realised that we had them in common – and the shock that we hadn’t realised this before still amazes me. Siobhan will always be her own individual person, and I am so grateful to know her and now rare though it always loves to see her – both through Suzie and Robbie/Selena- thank you guys!”