When you've got millions, soaps don't matter

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The Independent Online

It does pay to be out of touch. This is not a silly, snobbish boast... okay it is, but it saves such a lot of time, worry and energy. By not having a computer or e-mail or access to the Internet, I am spared all this nonsense about the Love Bug. I won't get bitten by it, I don't have to get my brain round it or read acres of pages or listen to hours of explanation.

It does pay to be out of touch. This is not a silly, snobbish boast... okay it is, but it saves such a lot of time, worry and energy. By not having a computer or e-mail or access to the Internet, I am spared all this nonsense about the Love Bug. I won't get bitten by it, I don't have to get my brain round it or read acres of pages or listen to hours of explanation.

It was so useful yesterday, after I'd had my swim and bought the Sunday papers, to be able to reject every paper that had on its front page the "shock-horror" story about a star of EastEnders called Joe Bloggs. (NOTE TO SUBS: Please insert name, cheers!). He's apparently leaving the show, for some reason, some time soon, but because I've never heard of him, I have no need to bother.

I could have asked my sister Annabell exactly who this person is, because she follows EastEnders, but she's on hols in Grenada. I could ring my daughter Caitlin in Botswana. She drops everything to watch the omnibus edition on a satellite channel. But I'm not spending money ringing her on something so dopey. A year ago, I could have asked my wife. She used to be a great EastEnders fanbut she got fed up with those brothers, (SUBS: The Marshalls, Mitchells, Matchsticks? Thank you).

Did you see that recent list of last year's 20 most watched TV programmes in the UK? I found my eyes idly going down it. I do like to be aware of what I'm not in touch with. I realised I hadn't seen one of them. As well as EastEnders, there was Coronation Street and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? - I do know of them, despite not having seen then. But there was something called Heartbeat at No 5 in the chart. Is it medical, soppy love, a teenage soap from Oz, or what?

I am totally ignorant about stocks and shares. I don't have any. I made a vow when I made my first million never to let other people or things have control of my money. So I've now got 10 million, mostly stashed under the bed, so I never panic when shares collapse or get excited when they shoot up.

Sad how grown people can waste their lives away watching for minuscule, mere paper changes.

I also pass on the Royal Family, though I have an expert in the house. My dear wife is supposed to be an intellectual, but ask her the date of birth of any member, however remote, or who is related to whom, and she trots it out. In fact you can't stop her. First thing in the morning, there's silence till she says "ah, it's Sarah Chatto's birthday today". Then she's happy for the rest of the day. (SUBS: This was on 1 May. I've checked. But I'm not sure if she's in EastEnders or Coronation St).

There are two areas I like to feel I am in touch with. First, I pride myself on my knowledge of the books and publishing world. Naturally, I was amazed when Maeve Binchy said she was giving up writing her best sellers because the drag of promoting her books was getting her down. But she doesn't have to do it.She writes them and it's up to her publishers to sell them.

Then there's football. And this weekend has been hellish. The time I've wasted agonising for Carlisle United. Again, they put us through it. They got stuffed at Brighton so it looked as if their League career was over. Then Chester got beaten as well. My little brain was in a ferment, calculating the goals for and against. Chester, alas for them, have gone down on goal difference. If you don't follow football, you don't have all these complications, permutations and aggravations.

My worry this morning, after a sleepless night, is will Ginola go? He was dropped by Spurs on Saturday. Will he now just fold up his hairnet and return to Paris St Germaine/Marseilles from whence he came? (SUBS: I think it was one of those. Look, I'm exhausted. Being in touch with two things is more than enough. Cheers).

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