Sunday, November 02, 2008

The portfolio existence

At the FT, Gideon Rachman lunches with Alastair Campbell (site registration required), whose new novel I must confess I have rather a yen to read:
For the moment, Campbell is enjoying a portfolio existence. He is already at work on his second novel. He gives lectures. He makes television programmes. He gives advice on communications to a variety of clients, including the South African government. He works for charities – in particular, leukaemia research. He watches a lot of football.

I, too, am a football fan, but, I tell him, I haven’t subscribed to any sports channels for fear that I will waste too much time watching them. Campbell not only watches Sky Sports, he has developed an interest in the fan channels run by individual football teams – even ones he doesn’t support. He warms to his theme: “I mean, for example, Celtic TV recently showed the entire 1967 European cup final. When Celtic won. The Lisbon Lions. The whole game. It was awesome.”

I am impressed by his devotion, but also slightly depressed (in the non-clinical sense). It seems odd for a man so full of energy and passion to be whiling away his time watching 40-year-old football matches on TV.

He claims to be enjoying the free time his new life offers him. But he admits that the lure of full-time politics could eventually draw him back: “I may wake up again one day, still in my early 50s, and say it’s time to start getting up at 5.30am again and working round the clock.”
Bonus link: Jenny Diski's review of the novel for the LRB.

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