Mistakes! - I've made a few, despite what Paulo Coelho said.

What Paul said: “A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.” Mistakes I've made:

  • The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was growing my hair to such a length that if I didn’t use a pot of product, I’d end up looking like Doc Brown from Back to the Future. I still cringe at the memory of pairing that hairstyle with a brown suede waistcoat, oversized shirt with billowing sleeves and pleated trousers. I won't even describe the shoes.

  • Another mistake was dating a guy who still lived with his ex-boyfriend and I believed him when he said they were ‘just’ friends. When we eventually parted (I ditched him), they reconciled and for all I know are still together. He was too handsome for his own good.

  • I cheated in an exam once. I didn’t get caught. Still a mistake.

  • I watched the principal of my secondary school attack a friend of mine so violently his feet lifted off the ground. I did nothing. The attacker was a priest who subsequently turned out to be a sadistic paedophile and he died before facing justice. There was another priest in the room who did nothing and who is now about to be made a bishop. Or so he thinks…..

  • I dated a woman briefly once and ended it without telling her the real reason – that I was gay. I told her eventually and she forgave me. She also invited me to her wedding and remains one of my dearest friends. A mistake made by many of us gays.

  • I didn’t buy the flat I loved the most when it went up for sale. I was living in it at the time but had spent all my money on shoes, going out and then going out some more (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out). It was sold for £205,000 in 1999 and is now worth close to a million. The YSL shoes are long gone.

  • I told the classmates of my niece that I was writing a book. This was three years ago and I’ve still only written the first chapter. They are still asking when it’s being published. I hope it turns out to be a bestselling mistake.

  • I once turned down a job at Ralph Lauren. During my interview the posh sister of another famous posh person asked me (seriously) if I knew an Irish friend of hers because I was also Irish. She assumed everyone knew each other in Ireland. Some posh people are really thick. That wasn’t a mistake but it’s a good story.

  • That’s enough of my mistakes, here are some other clangers:

  • TRUMP!

  • MAY!


  • Decca Records turning down the Beatles because they weren't sellable. Enter EMI.

  • Napoleon thinking he could invade Russia in winter

  • Hitler thinking he could do any better than Napoleon

  • The 12 book publishers that rejected Harry Potter

  • Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin approached Excite CEO George Bell in 1999, saying they were looking to sell the search engine for around $1m. With Bell not keen on the initial offering, the pair went down to $750,000 in a bid to tempt him. He still rejected. Today, Google is valued at around $365bn. Oops.

  • Ok that’s enough mistakes for a Monday.