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.Bonus link: Jenny Diski's review of the novel for the LRB.
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.”
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: