February 06 2013
My alarm clock goes off at 6am, which makes me
unpopular. Even worse, I reset it to 6.30am, and then again to 7am. I am a
great believer in the early bird getting the worm, but sometimes find it easier
said than done. I quickly gather my boxing kit, boil myself an egg and jump in the
car to drive to Kensal Road.
Clay O’Shea, my trainer, operates a word-of-mouth, invitation-only boxing class that has become something of a religious experience for the small group of us who turn up on a weekly basis. Only recently, Clay was putting Tom Hardy through his paces for his forthcoming blockbuster Mad Max, which has just finished filming in Namibia. Clay has a ring and eight bags in a corner of the Roger Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy. The gym oozes spit-and-sawdust character. Pictures of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, Alan Minter, Henry Cooper and the obligatory film poster of Rocky are taped to the walls. Compliments from Clay are few and far between. I had one before Christmas, when after a particularly bruising session he told me my balls had dropped. More recently, he said: “When you started you couldn’t break an egg.” Which presumably means I now can, so that’s good.
It is all over in an hour and I hurtle back home to shower and change. Today I am running around all over the place. I head straight to meet a great friend, Lucan Toh, at the Dean Street Townhouse. Lucan is one of the most exciting entrepreneurs I know. I simply love chatting to people who are out there doing things. As John Lennon put it: “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” – we both subscribe to that mantra. We talk through his latest project, a film called Having You. I have a vested interest: I put a very small amount of money in because one of my best friends, Andrew Buchan, is playing the lead role, alongside Anna Friel, Romola Garai and Phil Davis. It launches at the Berlin International Film Festival next week, so we are very excited – although Andy won’t be there because he is in LA with his wife, Amy Nuttall, who last week won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Downton Abbey.
One of the joys of working in central London is that you can walk everywhere, and I adore soaking up the sights and smells as one weaves through the cobbled streets of Soho and Mayfair. I swap Dean Street for Dover Street, where I am being bought lunch by some of the team from the Swiss private bank Lombard Odier, who we work closely with. I’ve found them to be by far and away the most enlightened bank out there. For the past seven years we have hosted a fabulous party for The Breeders’ Cup, which we televise live, last year at The Savoy’s Lancaster Room, over an incredible dinner. I was thrilled that Lombard Odier sponsored the event last November, and both parties are looking forward to doing more together.
I have a couple of meetings in the office mid-afternoon, but leave at 4.30pm so that I can help with bath-time. At times like this my life seems to bear resemblance to that of Tony Soprano in HBO’s all-time classic The Sopranos, where Tony is constantly juggling work and family. I loved that show, to such an extent that I think I was clinically depressed for a year after it ended.
My wife and I pass like ships in the night this evening. I hold the fort while she does a Zumba class up the road, before she returns the favour as I have dinner with Nick Angel in our local pub, The Anglesea Arms near Ravenscourt Park. Nick is one of the UK’s premiere music supervisors, having been responsible for many of Working Title’s best films, including Bridget Jones's Diary and Love Actually. He also publishes the Ivor Novello and Mercury Music Prize winners Elbow. Nick is a fellow Clay O’Shea disciple. Over the most delicious shepherd’s pie and a bottle of Sangiovese, Nick talks me through Save the Children’s amazing funk and soul event that takes places in March, which he is on the committee of. Last year it was themed A Night of Blues, and with support from Samantha Cameron and Helena Bonham-Carter raised a staggering £1.1m.