You only get the one. You can’t yet order them online in bargain packs of 8. You get one Dad. And he wanders around the place for years and you know not why, really. Then one day, it clicks. You GET him. They say “Wait ‘til your Father gets home,” and one day, he does. You suddenly get the point of your Dad. It’s a moment that never leaves you.
One day, I got mine. And from him, a thought which has resonated with me through the years: be yourself. It’s all I’ve ever really needed. To be proud of who you are, where you’re from, how you speak. To never be intimidated by the status of those you’re dealing with. And to have people accept you for that.
“As a kid, it seemed to me that my Dad knew EVERYBODY. And more importantly, that everbody knew him.”
Jack Beattie was a stranger in a strange land, arriving in wartime Birmingham with nothing but an Irish accent as impenetrable as a block of peat and a twinkle in both eyes. He was no fan of authority. Or The System. Or anything which resembled rules, for that matter. But he had a powerful sense of right and wrong. He hated injustice. And he swept my Mum and Brum off their collective feet.
As a kid, it seemed to me that my Dad knew EVERYBODY. And more importantly, that everybody knew him. He was big. He was Somebody. And then he was gone.
My Dad never lived to see me make it in business. (In London! In bloody advertising, for God’s sake!) But I know he’d have wanted me to cause as much kerfuffle as I could. I’ve been very, very lucky in my career. It’s flown me around the world and enabled me to dine with Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. But I’d give it all up tomorrow, have all those memories erased, for the chance to have dinner with my Dad tonight. To remind him that I did and do get him.
The Foundation will enable those who never knew him to benefit from the spirit of Jack Beattie. They’ll get him. Everybody does.