Celia Walden on Babysitting George
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Uploaded on Nov 4, 2010
Celia Walden talks about her book, 'Babysitting George', a unique and moving memoir of a young journalist's summer in the company of George Best, in the year before he died. Here, Celia Walden gives an insight into this book and why she decided to write it.
2003. A Sunday in early August. Celia Walden, a young reporter, receives an unusual phone call from her editor. She is to drop everything, travel immediately to Malta, track down a legendary footballer and global superstar and keep him away from the press. But George Best, a notorious alcoholic and party animal who just had a liver transplant and been left by his wife -- again -- isn't the easiest man to find... and when Celia does discover him in an Irish bar, drinking countless white wine spritzers, he isn't exactly delighted to see her.
But the unlikely friendship that develops between George and Celia reveals an intelligent, funny, wild and complex human being, a man who loved reading thrillers, was a member of MENSA, worshipped women, and whose extraordinary life had played out under the constant glare of the media spotlight.
Celia, or 'Trouble' as he liked to call her, stays with George for months. She witnesses drunken brawls, life inside a rehabilitation clinic, his relationships with women and their families, and hears his story; from his early homesick days at Manchester United, to his years of super stardom, from his notorious womanising and partying to his tumultuous marriage to Alex and, finally, devastatingly, his crippling addiction to alcohol.
Babysitting George is a tender and beautifully written account of a unique relationship between a young journalist and a dying star. It questions the cold, exploitative nature of tabloid journalism, the terrifying, all-consuming nature of addiction and the deeply humane, implausible friendships that can change one's life forever.
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