x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

My dreams of a wealthy life

I'd been reading an article about Hollywood actors who own private islands (there are more than you'd think) and the thought suddenly hit me: I want one.

The other day, I decided that I'd quite like to be rich. I'd been reading an article about Hollywood actors who own private islands (there are more than you'd think) and the thought suddenly hit me: I want one. I've already done the calculations. As a journalist, my disposable income is such that, if I were to start saving now, by 2098 I'd be able to buy a mid-sized grassy knoll, with enough left over for a deck chair. If I'm going to be having sundowners with Mel Gibson on the Isle of Chris, however, I need to rethink my career path.

Aside from the writing, the only other note-worthy talent I possess is the ability to hum and whistle at the same time - which, while impressive to behold, isn't particularly lucrative. As I see it, the only way out of this no-island-owning situation I'm in is to write a memoir, which will subsequently be made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The trouble here is that film-friendly memoirs need to have a dramatic storyline, such as being lost on a frozen mountainside with nothing to eat but your own toes. I did get stuck in a lift for a half-hour or so last summer, but I'm not sure that's enough to get Leonardo on board, even if it was incredibly stuffy in there.

There is another option: the battle with inner demons, a descent into depravity that robs you of your family, your job and your dignity, but from which you eventually emerge a better person. But that won't work, either. I just can't see Sucker Crunch: Kicking the Malteser Habit making the Oprah Book Club. It would be easier if I was famous. If I was Justin Bieber, I could write a tell-all about the time I encountered a Malteser that was just a chocolate shell, with no crunchy stuff inside (this actually happened to me) and still make the bestseller lists. But then Bieber doesn't need to write a book. He's already rich. It's a classic catch-22.

So maybe I should just abandon the memoir idea altogether. There's no point in owning an island if you don't have any toes to enjoy it with. And there are other avenues. Diet books usually do well, as do books on how to succeed in business. (Did you know, by the way, that short-selling on the commodities market burns twice as many calories as playing three sets of tennis? Interested in learning more?)

I'm also toying with the idea of writing a novel, about a bespectacled schoolboy-vampire named Larry Clotter who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a secretive cabal of French monks, who turn out to be a rogue brigade of special ops soldiers bent on setting off a nuclear device in Iceland, thereby triggering a volcanic eruption that will bring about climate change on a catastrophic scale, a crisis that is averted only when a brilliant young politician named Oback Barama joins forces with Clotter under the guise of a high-school glee club. It's semi-autobiographical.