Sunday, September 13, 2009

This woman was in one of John Madejski's bedrooms but he has now sold her

I don't think I have ever treasured my hum-drum life with my family more than when I watched Rich Man, Poor Man: A Knight's Tale about John Madejski. It's a fascinating film made brilliantly by Ian Denyer. This man, Madejski, has everything except a partner and/or family to share his home with. Sad? Well £250 million, 18 companies, the Madejski stadium, the Madejski Academy, the Madejski Fine Rooms at the Royal Academy of Art, the John Madejski Centre for Reputation, the Madejski Palazzo at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a kighthood, being Chancellor of Reading University and Deputy Lieutenant of Berkhire and having Cilla Black to give advice to on the phone seem to give him solace. Goodness knows why.
However, JM does come across as a genuinely nice chap, if a little misguided. (For example, he says getting his knighthood will make him fulfilled but it seemed that the only people accompanying him to the Palace to share this moment with him were a film crew.) He obviously works hard as Chair of Reading FC, using a very busy-looking office, rather than one of those prententious showy ones. And he and his mother seemed to have been genuinely tortured over the years by the circumstances of his birth and upbringing. This report outlines some of the facts revealed in the film.
What I learnt is that John Madejski does not, it seems, have any Polish blood in him, which is remarkable. It's because he took (or was given) the name of surname of his step-father. His biological father, from what I could make out from the film, was called "Adshead" or something that sounds like it.
There was one remarkable bit in the film and my view of it is rather echoed by John Madejski himself:
Sir John Madejski admitted a documentary about him aired on TV this week made him look “a bit pervy”.
He described the moment when he jokingly showed off an extraordinarily lifelike sculpture of The Sunbather by Duane Hanson (pictured above) as if it were a real woman sleeping in a bedroom.
He told getreading: “I bought it originally from Sotheby’s at Chatsworth.
“I intended to put it beside my pool in my new house. But when I got it, I decided it looked pretty tacky and so I have since sold it.
“But the way it was filmed made it looked a bit pervy.”
The bit of the film that made me laugh the most was when Madejski was driving through the Reading traffic and his new Bentley stalled. He got beeped from behind and swore as he tried to get the engine going again. It's nice to know the rich suffer the same as us mortals.

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