Most of us, I am certain, can claim to be nearly people. You took the wrong fork in the road on the spin of a coin and missed out on fame, fortune, notoriety, death or the sweet natured blonde with the comfy chest and private income. For my part, I was married to the niece of a millionaire, not the daughter of one. Not that it would have made a blind bit of difference to the eventual outcome. And 27 years ago I shared a house in Chatham for six months with a future lover of Billy Childish who wasn't Tracy Emin (and still owe her £12 for the electric). She is somewhere in this picture. I nearly went to Goldsmiths to study fine art but couldn't be arsed. Had I done so, I would have been there with some famous people I can't remember the names of anymore. Then there was the time in 1991 when I nearly got blown up by the IRA but I'd stopped to buy fags at Charing X station so missed standing in front of the van by about 50 yards (which near enough blew up - and contrary to the Grauniad report, there were no police near it at all, because I was watching it. If only I'd read that at the time). Because I'm not a hero, I grabbed the girl next to me and ran like buggery back to the station and had a cup of coffee. Actually, it was Eric Clapton's fault. I was late for work because I'd seen him the night before. Not me this time but years ago I played cricket with a bloke we knew as Ralph the Mouff, who used to boast that he was in the same team as Graham Dilley at schoolboy level (some of you will know the name of the 3rd hero of the Headingly Test) and was "only half a yard slower, honest", a boast that Ralph thought warranted him a place in any team (to be fair, he wasn't a bad bowler. I kept to him many times and he bowled a fast "heavy" ball). I could go on but I'm boring people now.
Think hard, you've all got one somewhere. Were you very nearly a contender? Did the bus of opportunity only have room for one more on top but you were second in the queue?