Art Imitating Life – Conspiracy Theories & Coincidences. By Spyros Melaris

You know when you are a child, you have so many questions as to why this or that occurred? It\’s always chalked up to the one scientific variable that could literally knock you off your ass, if you see all the pathways lead to one giant cause and effect thought bubble. It can be quite remarkable, when you start to see how things collectively add up from a singular perspective, to that of a bird\’s eye view in flight.  The article below by Spyros Melaris is one that will leave you spinning — in the best possible way.  I was telling my friend Microbiologist & Screenwriter Liz Lugo, that it reads like a fluid film. So spooky, how a bunch of coincidences can add up to not only a great but honest and true story. I don\’t want to give too much of it away but it reminds me of the art piece where the artist is drawing their own hand. We reside in one MASSIVE circle if we open our eyes and see. 

Rania M M Watts, Founder CCIQ Press 

Art Imitating Life – Conspiracy Theories & Coincidences. By Spyros Melaris 

My motto is “Believe nothing, and question everything”

If you want to find a pattern in anything, all you have to do is look…

With that being said, sometimes the ‘evidence’ can be overwhelming.  At which point does one stop dismissing and start to accept that maybe there is more to this than meets the eye? I have been suffering from a combination of regular flu, and what developed into COVID-19.

My first signs of the various symptoms were ironically on the 19th March 2020. The 19th…

Symptoms started with sneezing, a persistent cough, and a runny nose. Naturally, I was concerned this could be the beginning of something more serious. My sister Georgia who is a Medic on 999 Ambulance calls, was dealing with COVID-19 patients daily.  Georgia asked me a couple of outright and direct questions. “Do you have difficulty breathing, and do you have a fever?” I answered “no” to both of those questions. She reliably informed me that I probably have just a regular cold or flu, but I should stay in my room and self-isolate from the others. This I did. 

I suffered quite a lot as the symptoms started to escalate. By now I had developed muscular cramps in my right leg, and every muscle in my body was riddled with pain. I started to get severe headaches too, but still no fever and although the cough was irritating, I could breathe quite easily.

On the 30th March 2020, my sister was sent home early from work with strict instructions to self-isolate also.  Georgia had been diagnosed with COVID-19 while in the Call of Duty. She told me that she lost her sense of smell and her fever was off the chart. She was suffering with terrible muscular pain and was also having bouts of severe vomiting.  These were different symptoms than mine… I was convinced that I had a bad cold and that would be that. It was my turn to take care of my sister and to make her copious amounts of ginger and lemon honey tea…  I was feeling a little better and was able to get out of bed, to go to the kitchen etc. 

On the 1st April 2020, as if playing the ultimate April fool’s prank, the universe decided that I would now mirror Georgia’s symptoms. A fever hit me overnight, and I didn’t realise this at all. Georgia and I were in communication on WhatsApp (she was in the next room to me) she asked me to take my temperature and report back to her. I eventually worked out how to use the machine… stuck it in my ear and beep…. 39.07 … that doesn’t sound so bad… I’m more a Fahrenheit kind of guy and think of temperature as in 100 being high – 39.07 sounded fair enough. I messaged Georgia and she threw a wobbly, she wanted to call the Ambulance at once. I explained that I felt OK… a bit of a headache and all the other muscular pains I had become used to, but I didn’t feel the need for an ambulance.  

She told me to open my windows, to get some cold wet towels and to try and bring down the temperature. I also took a couple Paracetamol.  After 30 mins I checked again, and it had dropped to 38.1. I was delighted but, Georgia insisted it was still too high. By this time, I was freezing cold and so uncomfortable I just couldn’t take any more… but she insisted that we need to reduce it a little more. Another 30 minutes passed, and I checked it again. It was now 37.0 – we were aiming for 36.5 which is normal… Georgia was happier and asked that I please try and not cover myself up and keep the fever down. 

In all of this commotion, I didn’t realise that I had also lost my sense of taste and smell. Things were starting to get real. My symptoms now were;

1) Muscular aches and pains all over.
2) A persistent cough.
3) Loss of smell and taste.
4) A constant gagging reflex leading to coughing fits.
5) A fever and the constant feeling of being cold.
6) My eyes were itchy, and my fingernails were very painful indeed.

What was very clear now was that I was getting Georgia’s symptoms two days after her. By Saturday the 4th April, I also developed incessant coughing fits (I describe these in more detail another piece). I realised that my previously effortless trips to my bathroom had now become very trying. My balance was compromised and due to the muscular pains, and cramps. I found it very difficult to negotiate the very short walk from my bed to my bathroom which is literally opposite my bed.   

The coughing fits would ultimately result in me losing consciousness. After the 4th or 5th cough I could actually see stars, and everything started to spin. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to carefully lower myself to the floor before this happened while I was still conscious. I think it is fair to say that my previously manageable cold/flu had taken a lot out of me, leaving me weaker and like a sitting duck for the COVID-19 attack. 

On the 5th April 2020 my sister insisted that I be taken to hospital, and against my feelings that I would be OK, she called the ambulance.  The NHS Crew turned up very quickly, and they carried out all the usual tests. Surprisingly, my blood oxygen levels were good. My fever and high blood pressure however tipped me over the balance, and I was taken to hospital for further tests. They took around 5 vials of blood; each went off to different testing labs.  My chest x-ray showed a dark shadow which indicated a chest infection in my left lung.  This explained my coughing fits. After a few hours waiting for the blood results to be back, I was asked by the Doctor if I would be happy to stay in so they can monitor me overnight. He confirmed that I did indeed have COVID-19. 

There were many other people waiting for a bed that were older and, in more need, than I was. I didn’t feel right taking up a bed when I had a perfectly good bed at home.  I asked the doctor if I needed a ventilator. He said no, that wasn’t necessary. I asked if I was to be put on an intravenous drip. He answered in the negative.  So, I asked him why I couldn’t monitor my own temperature and blood pressure, keeping in mind, I had Georgia in the next room to me, and give the bed to someone who cannot go home? The doctor agreed and I discharged myself. Before I left, I asked if he could please prescribe something to stop the incessant gagging reflex, I was experiencing which in turn spurred my coughing fits. He gave me Prochlorperazine tablets. They help a little. 

Getting back to the synchronicity of my life and how my art, ideas even my destiny has created a pattern that I couldn’t help but notice. One or two things could be a coincidence, 3 or 4 things a freaky circumstance, but when all is considered as a mountain of considerable consequence… it eventually starts to paint an unavoidable picture. 

Two Years ago, I had an idea for an art theme which I entitle “When Life Gives You Lemons”… I started by making ‘Alien Lemons’ in keeping with my signature piece ‘Alien Autopsy’. I then did a series of lemons that I carved and painted as popular Emoji.  I have no idea where the concept of inserting decking screws into lemons came from, and I just found myself doing it. I was almost in autopilot, just going with the flow, and to see what might transpire.  I would have to wait and see what they will look like, once they had dried. I took regular photos as the lemons aged and the last one I took, which is shown here was on 20th March 2019 at 19:19 don’t freak out, that’s probably a coincidence right? But the astounding resemblance of the now dried out lemon with the screws protruding and the COVID-19 virus is impressive — if nothing else. But like I said, let’s not look too deeply into this but, let’s also acknowledge that when I created these pieces, I had absolutely no experience or knowledge or influence of the Virus COVID-19 or what it would mean a year 

In July of 2019 I was asked by Royal Academy artist Natalie Turner to assist her in designing and building an immersive Art Installation at The Royal Academy which used two holograms, and a series of magical effects to create the experience. She called the piece ‘Area 19’.  When going through my photos I nearly fell off my chair when that notorious number 19 reared its ugly head again.  But before we get carried away in the romance of it all… it is probably just another coincidence…right?

I was now interested in seeking out more. Among the various things I found, I couldn’t help but notice that I had taken a photo of where my car was located at an airport before I embarked on a flight. The bus stop is number 19!  To make matters more impossible, the date was the 19th October 2019… But please, don’t let us get too bogged down with all of this; it could very well be that the number 19 is just a common number? Lots of people travel on the 19th… as an isolated incident, this really is no big deal, and so what if the bus stop was also number 19? It could and probably was just a coincidence and only pertinent because I am now looking for it. 

A great example of how the human mind tries to make sense of stuff even when those things are not related. For example, another odd thing I found in my phone’s photo album was this old parking ticket, ironically from Barnet General Hospital which is where I ended up with this recent bout of COVID-19… The ticket clearly shows a time of 19:01 on August 19… Stop it… Yes of course I see the #‘19’ popping up again; it was 2019 so that’s no big deal right? OK, I admit that 19:01 is a bit freaky, but it probably is just another coincidence.

Lastly, always wishing to end on a humorous note, having been through the various twists and turns that this COVID-19 dishes out, I have lost nearly a stone in weight, so that’s good right? Here is the final photo which randomly caught my eye while searching through my phone. It was taken by Fashion Designer and Artist Anoosh Naghibi. We were filming a movie together in London, and I saw this poster in Golders Green which tickled me. I gave Anoosh my phone and asked him to take the photo…

The poster clearly states, “China’s Secret Fat loss” It doesn’t get much spookier than that.

So, what’s this all amount to? I am a magician, and my life is full of all sorts of magic. 
The above is a collection of crazy and amusing coincidences. 

Conclusion; I have more than my fair share of coincidences…Probably.

Spyros Melaris is a director and producer, known for The Alien Autopsy (1995), Mr Magic, Dirty Tricks (1999) and Beckham Mania: The Kick Off (2002).

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