Games people play

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The Independent Online
Alain de Cadenet, 51, racing driver and television presenter

Of indoor-type things, my favourite game is pinball. It develops wonderful eye-to-hand co-ordination, and if you do a good job you get a replay.

I always think that pinball is an analogy of life in many ways, because you can stand at a pinball table, flip your heart out and get nowhere; the ball just goes right down the middle whatever you do.

Another time, you hardly touch it, and you've got yourself a replay. Like life itself, no matter how hard you do for whatever you're doing, the ball just goes down the middle. Then the phone will ring, and it's someone offering you an amazing job or sponsorship.

Most of the games I'm thinking of, such as tennis and squash, are safe. Perhaps when considerable danger creeps into the event, it's no longer a game. There can be a terrible price to pay with aerobatic flying. I do simple things such as rolls and loops in vintage biplanes, and there's a strict procedure for doing them.

Most aerobatic manoeuvres are controlled stalls, which is a very exact science. Snooker uses the same precision, but if you miss the shot in snooker, then it's cussing and cursing. If you can't recover from an inverted flat spin in an aeroplane, then you can pay a most unpleasant price, and that for me is the difference between games and some of the things that I like to do.

Motor sport is not a game. I enjoy the challenge of trying to control a car on its limit going round a corner, or putting together a lap which is as quick as that car can go on a particular track on the day - but it can end up tragically.

The essence of a game ought to be that the downside isn't fatal.