Balance December 2017 - 29

H E S AY S

NIHAL
Off the record:

It may prove to be a bestseller, but is Eric Cantona's new book of never-beforeseen drawings a step too far even for a celebrity? asks Nihal Arthanayake
photography by WI LL I REL A ND

F

ootball legend Eric Cantona has
written a book called 'My Notebook'
and a very weird little tome it is.
Such is its epic strangeness you could probably
have a hit YouTube channel made up entirely
of people's facial reactions upon opening it
and examining its pages. But more of that later.
Even if you're not a football fan, you should
be aware of French football superstar Eric.
He played for Manchester United from 1992
to 1997, and while there became an absolute
legend both on and off the pitch. Known to
supporters as King Eric, his footballing genius
was matched only by his eccentricity.
One perfect example of this was when he
decided to Kung fu kick a football supporter
who he felt had been verbally abusing him.

Since then he has acted in movies and now,
just in time for Christmas, comes this finelybound, expensive-looking piece of literature.

Shout back
@therealnihal
@BalanceLDN

I hope you have stayed with me thus far. This
isn't actually a piece about Eric Cantona, I
am using the febrile Frenchman, and more
specifically his book, as a way of trying to

KNOWN TO FANS AS KING
ERIC, HIS FOOTBALLING
GENIUS WAS MATCHED ONLY
BY HIS ECCENTRICITY

SEAGULLS AND SARDINES

GROOMING: RICHARD HARVEY

CHILDISH IMAGE

understand just how much fun it must be to be
famous and what you can get away with.
Eric's book consists of childlike scrawls with
a few words in English and French. On one
page is a drawing of what looks like a penis.
Beneath it are the words 'this is not a cock.'
On the facing page is the French translation...
Next time you think about being
famous, consider the fun you could
have with the rest of us. Endorse
a perfume you'll never use,
pants you'll never wear -
and you can write a book
without anyone knowing
if you are just taking the
mickey. B

You may have some sympathy for Eric's
actions. But let us not forget this wasn't a
Sunday morning on Hackney Marshes; this
was a Manchester United player doing a GCSE
Bruce Lee impression against a member of
the paying public, albeit a rowdy one. After
learning that he wouldn't be jailed
for the assault, what Eric said
next cemented his place
as the footballing
oddball philosopherin-chief. The only
words he uttered
to the assembled
press afterwards
were: 'When the
seagulls follow
the trawler, it is
because they
think sardines
will be thrown
into the sea.'
That was it.

Nihal hosts Afternoon
Edition on BBC Radio 5
Live, 1pm-4pm, Monday
to Thursday, and the
Asian Network's Big
Debate from 10am-1pm
on Friday.

December 2017 BA LA N CE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance December 2017

Balance December 2017 - 1
Balance December 2017 - 2
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