Let’s get going

I was recently pointed to an episode of Gyles Brandreth and Susie Dent’s delightful podcast Something Rhymes With Purple, which is all about the power of language and the beauty of words.

On the show, Gyles told a story about receiving a letter from yours truly when we were teenagers. We’d been corresponding as I was running Student Magazine and Gyles had a magazine too. I invited him over to my parents’ flat and, according to Gyles, suggested we start a publishing business together. I don’t remember the details, but it could well be true.

He explains how I was very energetic and jumping all over the room – that sounds about right. As Gyles says: “I looked at this monkey and I thought to myself: ‘you’re going nowhere mate’.” I said to him we should leave school and start right away, which Gyles thought was a ridiculous idea. He wanted to finish his A Levels and go to university, which I had no interest in whatsoever. I said: “Let’s get out there, let’s get going!”

We did not go into business together, but our paths have crossed over the years. I went on to start Virgin, while Gyles has had a distinguished and eventful career as a broadcaster and writer.

But I must question Gyles’ final tale. He claims that when he is heading onto the tube, my Bentley pulls up and the electric window goes down and I raise a single finger to him in greeting for old times’ sake. As Susy rightly questions on the podcast, that is quite an embellishment. I don’t have a Bentley and assure you I don’t drive around giving people the finger. But next time I see you Gyles, I’ll make an exception!

Head over to Something Rhymes With Purple to listen to the show and thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane.


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