It was noon on the 22nd of November when I first met Paul Nuttall. We were stood on a small grassy hill overlooking Dealey Plaza, people milled about busily. There was an excitement in the crisp air; it was unseasonably warm even for Texas, and a crowd seemed to be forming. He was telling me that his close personal friend would be along in a minute, John was the name I think. He was going to drop by to say ‘hello’.
I didn’t see him again for a long time after that, neither of us wanted to remember that fateful day. It was around 5 years later when I bumped into him again. It was April 4th and I was in Memphis on business, we happened to both be staying at the Lorraine Motel. We happened to have adjoining rooms, 304 and 305. There was a lot of commotion next door; some Reverend was in town visiting. Paul knew him actually, another close personal friend, Martin, he said, ‘Marty’ to him of course.
“Professional footballer, doctor, politician, it seemed he could do nothing wrong”
We both left quickly after that, Paul was rather shaken. I decided to take care of him and so we went to see a play. Nothing too out there, Paul’s a traditional sort, just Romeo and Juliet. It was a decent performance, not overly memorable, but it brought Paul out in sobs. As his tears soaked into his tweed I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Tragic isn’t it?” “No,” he muttered, “It’s just….I knew them so well. Close personal friends really.”
I took to avoiding Paul after that, I didn’t want to take the risk of becoming a close personal friend. In fact, it was years before I saw him again, 1980 I believe. It was the freezing morning of December the 8th and we ended up sharing a cab. We’d just pulled up outside the Dakota hotel when Paul suddenly became hugely animated. “It’s him!” he said “JOHN! JOHN!” They’d grown up together in Liverpool he said, close perso…My stomach wrenched at the words…oh no…
Neither of us wanted to speak about it. We left wordlessly, that poor unfortunate man had lost so many. I never saw Paul again. I decided I’d stick to reading about him through his website, he leads such an interesting life that I almost missed seeing him. Professional footballer, doctor, politician, it seemed he could do nothing wrong. Even that time he disappeared on a Malaysian airliner just granted him a mystique that benefited him.
It’s why I found it odd to see him standing in Stoke. Surely a figure of his titanic calibre, almost literally given that he was a close personal friend of the iceberg, was a shoo-in. Why would anyone else stand against the close personal friend of Alexander Litvinenko?
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