Was it Atticus Finch who said don’t judge a man until you have tried to walk in his shoes? Or was he just quoting someone from the Bible, or from Shakespeare, who said pretty much everything there was to be said, long before The Beatles said all had been said before?
Whoever it was, it came to mind as I tried my best to follow instructions in closing a deal on a City trading floor this morning. It was a day given over to charity, in which the deals being done at Canary Wharf were raising money for a number of good causes, among them Leukaemia Research.
There were lots of famous faces wandering around promoting their chosen charities, and lots of City traders trying to help us. I have a horrible feeling though that I sold a lot of Euros I think the trader was asking me to buy. And when I was on the phone next to Alex Ferguson, who was there for Multiple Sclerosis, I’m sure the guy on the other end of the phone thought he was buying Wayne Rooney. Given the noise when they’re all shouting the odds, it is a wonder to me anyone knows what they’re buying.
Rory Bremner was clearly collecting lots of material for future attacks on the financial sector. ‘It’s like nothing has changed,’ he opined. Carol Vorderman was showing off her mathematical skills. My fellow Leukaemia Research rep Jade Johnson was being asked for inside info by the traders on who she thought would win Strictly Come Dancing.
‘Do you bet on it?’ I asked.
‘We bet on everything,’ he said. ‘That’s what we do here.’ Thank God Rory Bremner had moved on.
Kenny Dalglish wandered in, so I could warn him of his team’s pending defeat against Burnley tomorrow. Martin Johnson and Jason Leonard were there flying the flag for rugby, Darren Campbell for athletics. Geoff Hurst, Jonathan Ross, Cherie on her way this afternoon, quite a good turnout, I’d say.
The financial sector has taken a bit of a battering, not least reputationally. Today showed another side to them. And as for my Atticus Finch point, whatever skills I have, they do not lend themselves to being a very good City floor trader. Looking at the screens gave me a headache. Trying to work out what all the shouts meant made it worse.
While I’m on Leukaemia Research duty, I will be tweeting regularly between now and Sunday October 18 on our Evening with Stephen Fry at the Criterion theatre in London that evening. Tickets both for the reception and the event are going fast. 0207 405 0101 or lrf.org.uk. More details to follow.
This is our third such event – Mel Brooks and Michael Palin did the first two – and Stephen maintains that top drawer quality for what will be a great evening.
On my other Leukaemia Research campaign – trying to get 50 donations of 50k for our 50th anniversary – Jade Johnson said she will dance with anyone who coughs up. Having had a very brief twirl with her, I would say it’d be worth every penny.