vendredi 21 janvier 2011

A Day in the Remarkable Life of Eric Cantona*

I detest alarm clocks. They are agents of conformity. My day begins at the whim of the birds. I may have a meeting at 9am, which I will miss if the birds do not beckon me from slumber. My contract with the Cosmos acknowledges this possibility. Equally, I am often visited by pigeons or a solitary sparrow at six o'clock, as the sun is rising. I ask, 'Why have you woken me? There is nothing I must do today.' The birds' response is always the same: 'Eric, today, you must live.'

I detest showers. Does the lion shower? Does the mighty polar bear shower? No, instead I bathe in rain water. In Manchester, I could bathe every day; in Provence, once a week. Here in New York, I have a penthouse with guttering which channels directly to my bathroom. Truly, it is magnificent.

Each morning, I drink at least six cups of black coffee. I detest milk. It is the very essence of blandness. As a new-born infant, I would recoil from my mother's teet, and reach instead for a small red beaker of pastis. When I think of that beaker, I weep.

For me, no two days are the same. If I look at the mirror and see a painter, I will paint. If I see a poet, I will write poetry. Several times, I have seen an armadillo. Those were black days.

My creativity knows no bounds. I have recently written a sonnet about Steve Bruce (a beautiful man) and a comic opera based on the life of Catherine the Great.

My role with the Cosmos will not interfere with my artistic output. On the contrary, I see myself not only as Director of Soccer but also as Artistic Director. In both capacities, I will shun convention: Cantona is an auteur. That is not to say that I am incapable of learning from others. I intend to establish an ambience that draws on both Manchester United's Carrington training ground and The Factory, where Warhol cultivated the talent of mon frère d'une autre mère Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others.

Of course, I do not compare myself to visionaries such as Ferguson or Warhol - nor to great footballers like Pele or Zidane. I see myself as a force unrestricted by métier, a modern Da Vinci. The question is not, 'What is Cantona?' The question is, 'What is Cantona not?' Or perhaps, 'What is not Cantona?'

I have a passion for lunch. My favourite dish is cassoulet; a stew with duck, goose or pork, and beans. Not your baked beans. I detest baked beans. They taste of the degradation of the human spirit. At lunch, I drink wine and toast my good fortune and that of all who have been touched by Cantona.

Afterwards I study my reflection once more. Perhaps now I see an actor and so I must act. I stay a while in front of the mirror and recite Molière or practice my impression of Des Lynam. It is getting quite good.

I will spend tea-time with my players, just as Sir Alex did with me. Here in New York, however, we will drink "java" (black, of course). I will endeavour to make every single one of my little cosmonauts feel like a million dollars. That, incidentally, is my daily wage.

My passion for dinner is even more intense than my passion for lunch. I have made love to dinner; I have stared at dinner, not daring to violate it; I have eaten dinner.

The evening is my most violently creative period. In December 1992, after an exhausting yet invigorating match for Leeds against Sheffield Wednesday, I returned home and immediately fell into a trance. 36 hours later, I regained consciousness to find a portrait of Gary McAllister daubed in blood on my living room wall. Whose blood it was, I have no idea. In the evening, it is simply impossible to resist the impulses that drive me.

And finally to bed, the theatre of dreams. I dream of art, I dream of Phil Neville and always I dream of the red beaker.

*As I like to imagine it.

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