The London Paper – 11 July 2008
What is the price of “fame”? I’ll tell you a little story that gives a precise answer to that oft-asked question.
At exactly 7.59pm on 16th August 2007 I was driving my red Vespa around Snorting Hell, West London when I suddenly woke up in an ambulance with some ever-so-kind member of the local constabulary forcing a breathalyzer into my gob. Witness accounts later informed me that some clown had pulled out on his scooter and I had swerved to avoid it. I was out cold for around 30 seconds and my front teeth almost went entirely through my bottom lip.
Apparently, once conscious I stood up and lifted my heavy scooter from the ground and placed it on its stand despite the fact that my right knee was so worn down from having been dragged along the tarmac that I could see through to the bone. Clearly, the reason I had woken myself from my strange autopilot dream was because my Spidey-sense knew that the 1½ pints of ‘wife beater’ I’d recently skolled could mean that I was over the limit and things could get a tad moody now that the Old Bill were involved … fortunately, I was just under.
This crash was one of the most significant things that has ever happened in my peculiar, little life. It made me realise that everything I loved could be taken away from me in a second and that continuing a job I despised was, despite the vast salary, a waste of the time I have left on this planet (hence my resignation from the City a few months later). The three weeks off work and my inability to walk also gave me the opportunity to start writing my book ‘Cityboy’ which was clearly the good Lord’s mysterious plan all along!
Anyway, whilst I was in hospital I was visited by an old and valued friend and as I writhed in agony, he hastily took a photo of me in all my bandaged glory with his mobile.
Fast forward to July 2008 and I’m being asked by the producers of ‘The One Show’ if I have any photos of me in hospital after my accident as they would really like to include them in a short film about me (that should be aired next week on BBC 1). So I asked my ‘friend’ for his photo and he simply replied ‘no probs. I’ll send it to you … for £500”.
I’ve witnessed some truly extraordinary things in my life but this act made levitating Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka look run-of-the-mill! This made 5,000 strong 3 day acid raves in Goan jungles seem standard practice! My status hardly constitutes that of ‘fame’ but I still know its price. It’s exactly £500.