Do you know the way to plan, José?

Let’s change the subject. This week, of all weeks. Time for some escapism. Football will do. I would like to examine the bizarre recent history of Manchester United. I don’t support United and, up to a point, it is always a pleasure to see the mighty fallen. But what has happened to the club since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement is a useful parable for much else in life, and in particular the mercurial nature of success.   Continue reading

The Test of diminishing time

As any cricket lover of my vintage will tell you, test cricket is the one true faith. One-days and 20:20s are all very well (and they are very well), but they’re not the real thing. (As for the new format that is about to be unleashed upon the game, heaven help us. It is a horse designed by a committee. If tobacco sponsorship was still legal, it would be called the Camel Cup.)   Continue reading

Teenage idols

Like any teenager, I had heroes. I’m not talking about pin-ups: that was something different. (Marianne Faithfull and Sandie Shaw, since you ask.) I mean proper male heroes: a sporting hero, a musical hero and a celluloid hero. One of the curiosities of my life is that – thanks to a series of staggering coincidences – by the time I was 20, I had met and talked to each of my teenage idols.   [read more]