As as I have the concentration levels of a toddler following a Haribo lunch, I don't read a lot. Aside from the odd page or two while I am at my morning ablutions, I tend to leave any actual reading for the hours when I have to do it – namely, when I am here on level 42 of the Independent Spike (similar to the Shard but with a polished, needle-sharp tip).
Personally, I prefer audiobooks, which allow me to get on with other activities while the prose is being murmured into my ears by whichever unemployed actor was hard-up enough to agree to sit in a darkened recording booth with only the memoirs of Gary Lineker for company. Of course, when I say “allow me to get on with other activities” I am referring principally to lying on the couch doing sod all.
Anyway, my latest listening project is the second volume of the life story of former Manchester United and Ireland footballer Roy Keane, a dark-eyed enforcer who can – and has – yanked repeated kneeling apologies out of the most innocent of parties, if only so he will stop staring at them with his terrifyingly serious eyes.
One anecdote recalls his time as manager of Sunderland. He took over the team when it was struggling at the foot of the second tier of English football, about as far down the ladder as someone of his pedigree would be willing to go. Anyway, he told how he immediately signed old pal and former Manchester United great Dwight Yorke, as a way of giving his team of journeymen and young players a lift. For them to be around such a vibrant, successful player (however long in the tooth) would only do them good. He was also delighted to see Yorke turn up for training in his white Lamborghini, causing his wide-eyed team-mates to cluster by the blingsome wheels like penguins round a mackerel. Keane's reasoning for welcoming Yorke's ostentation was that the other players would be inspired to try to emulate such a gilded career and thereby secure themselves their own gaudy Italian sports car.
I'm not sure such an approach works. Working here in Kensington, rare is the day when I do not see at least one of these supercars vrooming past, driven by some Qatari prince's 18-year-old third cousin's barber. Indeed, there was a fair bit of press during the past summer regarding the habit of these oil-minted playboys to treat Kensington High Street like their own drag strip. Disturbed the locals, you see.
My wife and I are currently edging towards buying a new car and I can assure you that, even if our budget were around the £300,000 mark, there is no way on earth we would buy a Lamborghini or a Ferrari or some other name ending in an i. I just think it is physically impossible to drive one of these things without looking like a colossal dingleberry. Let's be honest, anything that appeals to footballers or minor Qatari royalty is worth avoiding.Reuse content