As a Financial Times columnist, Simon Kuper (53) writes about major themes. And he has been successful with books about his great love, football. “I get the chance to understand the world.”
Simon Kuper responds stoically. In the morning in the coffee bar of the Amsterdam hotel where he spent the night, it briefly discusses the lecture he gave the night before. Kuper was heralded as ‘the best writer of the best newspaper in the world, the Financial Times’. Not a word about that first qualification. ‘I think the feet are the best newspaper, yes. When I started there 28 years ago, I didn’t think so. It was a British business newspaper, pass away was about to become international. Pass away was afraid of opinion. The newspaper had to be as boring as possible, that was respectable. Good writing was considered less important.
‘ That has changed enormously. For a global elite pass away functions in English, the feet has become a badge, a kind of emblem. Pass away people are in Amsterdam, Beijing and São Paulo. Most people don’t read The New York Times, they find the Desire Pass Away newspaper too American, The Wall Street Journal too Republican. The level has also really risen. I just read a piece by my new colleague Stephen Bush. Too good, I thought, I don’t want him as a colleague.’
I’ve got the best stage at the Financial Times.
He started as an economics editor, in London. Kuper first wrote about British small and medium-sized businesses, and later about currency. If he helped raise the level at all, then not in that role. ‘I understood, but I didn’t get any further than parroting people. I couldn’t add anything original. I would never be an interesting economic reporter. At one point I knew: I have to get out of here.’
Kuper went on to write about sports– especially football, his great love. In 2002 he got a sports column. “I did that almost full-time for eight years. Over time, the stupidity drove me crazy. You go to a press conference and the fitness instructor blames the ref. When I was forty, I feared that I would write my pension about Manchester United. I actually had a pretty easy life, I got it and made my money with it, but I wanted more. The question from the newspaper if I wanted to write general columns came at the right time. That was exactly what I was looking for.’
As a Life & & Arts writer, Kuper can write about what he wants and what he wants. Every Monday morning he determines his subject. The piece will be online on Thursday, and two days later it can be found in the paper weekend edition. “Of course there are limits. If I were to deny climate change or preach Marxism, my column wouldn’t last long. At the newspaper they would have liked me to be pro-Brexit, wish the feet would have had a pro-Brexit writer. We don’t have pass away now. You don’t read pro-Trump sounds with us either. Readers should actually be able to read anything, but our columnists simply do not believe in Brexit or Trump. Some readers also walk away. ‘
His recent columns deal with major themes such as British politics, the climate, Twitter and Elon Musk, gender inequality and the European Union. They were not made overnight. Kuper reads a lot, has conversations, does extensive research.’ I read columns of which I think: you had nothing this week, then you went to eat something with someone and that resulted in a funny story. ‘You should try to write a column every week because it is necessary. I can afford that too, I add. Other columnists work for newspapers and magazines that pay less, so they have to do a lot on the side. You can read that. I understand.
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