Six Degrees Of Separation

I don’t know if you’ve ever come across this concept: the idea that you can be directly linked to any person in the world in six or less steps, but it’s once of those ideas that seems to bubble about from time to time.

Nor do I know how other people understand the rules — whether simply “having met/spoken to someone” counts, whether you need a stronger connection than that. I’m assuming the connection has to be stronger, and in order to be valid, I would expect that the people on either side of the link would have met multiple times, would know each other by name, and would have exchanged more than one reasonably meaningful conversation.

What sparked this all off? Well I was having a conversation with a work colleague and discovered how quickly you can get from me to Adolf Hitler.

  1. Me to the colleague in question
  2. The colleague to a former prison guard he knew
  3. That prison guard to one of his prisoners, Rudolph Hess
  4. Rudolph Hess to Adolf Hitler

Four steps.

Of course, you have to be clear that metaphysical entities don’t count, because otherwise everyone could go:

  1. Me to God
  2. God to whoever else…

…and really that just takes the fun out of it.

But I can get to Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb via a religious connection, if that’s any help:

  1. Me to the Reverend Bruce
  2. Reverend Bruce to one of his university lecturers (Maurice Wilkins) who had worked on the Manhattan project for two years
  3. Maurice to Robert Oppenheimer

Surprisingly enough as a Geordie, I can’t think of any direct connection to Ant and Dec, Sting, Jimmy Nail or Alan Shearer. Although that brings me to the problem with tihs game: it may be that someone I know personally either knows Alan, or knows someone who knows him, but unless I know that someone who I know knows someone who knows him, thne you can’t even get started. You know?

So here’s a dual challenge for you all: tell me any interesting people you can link to, and then — if I feel we know each other well enough to count, that’ll be a new one to add to my list (and you can of course pick up the Hitler and Oppenheimer ones similarly!).

7 Responses to “Six Degrees Of Separation”

  1. Mike responds:

    I’m reasonably good friends with one of Beth Orton’s brothers.
    My gf used to work for Roger Moore’s son; she also knows some bloke out of Cornershop.
    I used to live next door to Melanie Hill from Big Brother One.
    My flatmate interviewed Ken Livingstone last week.

    …all pretty tame and off the top of my head, but there may be more. Let me know if they get you anywhere interesting.

  2. Holly responds:

    If it’s any help, you sort-of know me, and my husband was in Alan Shearer’s class at school! And my hubbie’s also met Ant and Dec in Northumberland Street - three birds with one stone (if you class me as the stone…)

  3. Holly responds:

    PS I forgot, when he lived in Gosforth, his neighbour was Jimmy Nail (that was during the Auf Weidershen, Pet years).

  4. Holly responds:

    Another PS - on discussing this topic with hubbie last night, he says that an old friend of his was taught by Sting, when Sting was a teacher in the North East. I know the link is tenuous, but it’s there!

  5. mark fairlamb responds:

    i can get to hitler in 5 steps, but that’s because i know you

  6. JackP responds:

    Using my old mate The Reverend Bruce again, I can also do Napoleon (yes, that French chap) in five steps.

    The story I had been told was that Bruce, a long time ago had known a french lady in her eighties, who when she was a girl had read to Napoleon’s grand niece, who knew Napoleon.

    I’ve checked the details, and it doesn’t quite pan out as simply as that, but here’s the me to Napoleon one…

    1. I know Bruce
    2. A long time ago, Bruce knew a French lady who was then in her eighties
    3. Who, when she was a girl, had read to Napoleon’s niece, Mathilde Bonaparte, who was then an elderly lady living in Paris
    4. Mathilde is unlikely to have known Napoleon, as she was born only a year before he died. But it is reasonable to suggest that she knew her own father
    5. …who was Napoleon’s younger brother

    Me to Napoleon in five… that’s not bad going for someone who died over 150 years before I was born!

  7. Tessa responds:

    I got a freind called Guy Maile (fabulous musician)

    He has worked with Sir Bob Geldof

    Who has met the Queen

    Does that count? :)

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