Friday, 16 February 2007

I love the smell of bacon in the morning.

It smells like… Virgin Trains first class breakfasts on the 06.55 from Stockport station; it’s THE place to meet the men that matter in Manchester. I was in first class (obviously) and was on the way to the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in London.
I’d won the northern one already and, to be honest, it was a chance to see some of the hedge fund boys I know down there.
Good lads.
Stuffed if I can understand how they do it, but a 20 per cent yield is my kind of yield. I can’t be bothered with a lot of these awards dos; I just want to get on with scraping a living, like you do.
I only do enter them for the sake of the team.
It’s nothing to do with my ego.
But when you see some of these other muppets winning this and that and your team look to you to lead them, well, it’s letting the side down if you don’t.
And I am a leader of men.
It’s what I was put on this planet to do.
I’d followed some other top lads onto that stage as well, I can tell you.
Just look at who’s been up for this title in the past: Shaid Luqman of Lexi, Peter Bradley of Alta Gas, the iSoft boys; they’re all top geezers at the end of the day.
They get a bit of stick for the odd disqualification, investigation, or insolvency, but that’s the trouble with this country.
Always knocking down the successful.
Anyway, when Insider hinted that they wanted a column full of stories about my rich and successful friends I moved quicker than Danny Hall’s sprint to the stage to get his hands on the Insider’s Deal of the Year Award.
I enjoyed that do.
Went with the lads from Ford Campbell, I think.
The missus wasn’t best pleased as it clashed with the opening night of Goldplated on Channel 4.
She spent the night hiding behind the sofa (£14,000 from Arighi Bianchi, as it happens) and she’s had some stick from her mates that it’s about her and me and our chums.
As if.
Most of my mates are just down-to-earth ordinary blokes I went to school with.
Butchers, plasterers, van drivers, the highest-paid partner at Goldman Sachs, the chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, the founder of Capital Bank.
There I go again, name drops keep falling... So, here’s a story for you.
I last saw Tim Knowles on the train back from London.
He owns that Botany Bay building next to the M61.
I’ve known him for years and he’s a good lad.
I told Tim ages ago that all that flying around in helicopters wasn’t a good idea.
They can break down, just like a car.
But while Stratstone can at least squeeze you into a C-Class for a week or two, if the SLR needs a tune, how does a top entrepreneur get hold of a pool chopper? You can’t.
So where does that leave you? Taking the train.That’s what.

1 comment:

sting the bookies said...

Couldn't agree with you more about Tim, he is a great guy. He is not petty about his chopper either, as he made it available to me and a couple of other pals last week to ferry us in and out of Cheltenham. I hope to repay Tim with a successful punt at either Aintree or Punchestown in April.

Two years ago at Punchestown races one of the funniest and most embarrassing things happened to me while I was with Tim. We had a really good day at the races and I took a lift with Tim and another pal of ours Dermot Power, back to the K Club in the helicopter. We were sitting down in the bar when our best pal Mike Futter rang me from the track and asked me if I had the keys of his car in my pocket as he was stranded at the track. I asked Tim to ring the pilot who had gone off to Baldonnell aerodrome in the chopper. Tim then remembered that he had left all his luggage in the chopper and he needed the pilot to come back anyway so we could kill two birds with one stone,- get the keys to Mike and get Tim’s luggage. Happy Days!

I thought I would have a few minutes to sort out the days winnings, what was Tim’s, Dermot’s Mike’s and my own, and as I had collected all the cash from the bookies, there was about 80K mostly in Euros but about 25K to 30K was in sterling. I was going though all the day’s bets with Tim when the receptionist asked me to go to the front where a golf cart was waiting to take me to the helicopter pad, I hurriedly stuffed all the cash into my coat and took off. When the helicopter landed I gingerly approached and opened the co-pilot’s door and gave him Mike’s keys, he shouted that Tim’s bags were in a lock up compartment near the tail section, I nodded as I knew where it was.

What I didn’t know was that Tim does not travel light and he had two really heavy large Louise Vouton suitcases, and a matching over night bag. I knew that they were too heavy to carry while stooped under the swirling rotors, so I left them on the ground, did a Quasimodo impression to a safe distance, or so I thought, and I signalled the pilot to take off. Everything was going fine until he was about 30 meters up then all of a sudden Tim’s bags got sucked up into the updraft of the helicopter and the overnight bag which was open spewed out Tim’s socks, jocks and one or two shirts, ( Tim has the most exquisite taste in shirts), at this point I ran forward with my arms aloft in the vain hope of catching something- anything! When, without my left elbow holding it tight to my body the ball of money (which I had completely forgotten about in all the excitement), fell on to the grass at my feet and promptly went WHHHOOOSSSSH into the stratosphere. “Oh Sh*%T” I exclaimed much to the amusement, if not bewilderment, of the gathering crowd of disbelieving onlookers who momentarily forgot that they were soaking wet – and that their dreams of ever forcing Tiger Woods to a play-off were further away than ever,- well who could blame them? I was aghast myself! It was like a scene from one of those adverts for a new up-market brand of Dazz with designer underwear, designer bags and about eighty grand in cash swirling around in the air at the same time. An ad exec's wet dream!

The only thing that saved me was that the grass was wet and all the money fell down in a fairly tight area, however it took me a while to gather everything up, with no help from the audience who were falling round the place laughing as events unfolded. Luckily I got it all despite having to wave off another helicopter , with a colourful mix of flailing arm gestures and profanity, - I think it was J.P.’s but he wasn’t on board when it eventually did land. Back in the bar Tim was blissfully unaware of the theatre outside, but I have often wondered if he was even just a wee bit curious as to why his Calvin’s were so damp!

S.K.