The Story of How I Lost a Bet with Phil Collins & Ruined My Life in the Process


That word, that damn word. How would I have known it would lead to my downfall? Hi there, welcome to my story. I would tell you my name, but for my own sake and the sake of those who appear in this story, I won’t. There are only two names you need to know in this story. The first, obviously, is Phil Collins, a name everyone knows. You see, I met Phil back in 1986 and even then I knew he was special. By some chance encounter, I ended up sitting at the bar with him after attending his show and we struck up a conversation. Little did I know that this short meeting would change my life. Or, more specifically, ruin.


This is the story of that encounter, the bet that was made, and how we got to where we are now. Strap in, it’s a doozy.


Let’s start at the beginning. The year was 1985 and I was in New York to celebrate the New Year with my fiancé. She had gotten me Phil Collins tickets as a Christmas gift. She knew me so well, it was exactly what I wanted. He was playing at a smaller venue than you might expect, which only made me more excited to see him. In the Air Tonight had been popping off for years, but Collins, who is a musician first, knew that it would always sound better in a small venue rather than a stadium.


The show was incredible, of course. I mean, how could it not be? We were having the time of our lives back then. I think about it all the time. Feeling like the night would ever end, we headed next door for a drink, awash in the glow of something magical that had happened at that show. It was the first time he played Sussudio and we were awash in it’s glow. Keep this in mind. Awash.


Now, you young folks may not be able to understand this, but that song was the wildest thing when it came out. And to be a part of the first people to hear it was something I will never forget. Yes, because it is a fantastic song, but more importantly because of what happened next that fateful night.


Two drinks in, still at the bar. Who comes in? You guessed. Damn Phil Collins. The myth himself. My fiancé immediately ran toward the door to greet him as if they were old friends. She guided him over to where I was sitting, starstruck. We shook hands and got to talking. Before long, Lori had to go to the bathroom, leaving Phil and I alone. Keep in mind for this next part that I had had a few drinks.


“Hey, Phil. Can I call you Phil?”


“Please do, unless you had something else in mind. What do you want to talk about, now that you’ve got me alone?”


“I want to make a bet with you. I want to feel the way that you made me feel on Tonight, but every day and in a new way. What would I have to bet you for that to be the stakes?”


“I bet you that I’m going to use the best music of my career on a Disney movie. If I win, you have to name your daughter Sussudio. If I lose, you will get a personalize mix every year.”


“Only once every year? Can’t do more often?”


“Trust me, it will sustain you.”


Cut to 1999. I go to see the new Disney movie Tarzan in theaters. I’m so excited, it looks sick and we were convinced we were going to die. Lori is now pregnant with our firstborn. Just as we were settling into the film, I heard the opening notes and my face went blank. Phil, you son of a bitch.


Long story short, I lost the bet, I named my daughter Sussudio, and now neither her nor my ex-wife Lori will talk to me anymore. All because I didn’t think that Phil Collins would follow through on a bet we had made so many years before. But, the chaos of the cosmos doesn’t play favorites.


Damn Phil Collins man. Damn.






This is actually a poem, just so you know. This poem was written by Nathan Smellwood.


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