Just after the first Harry Potter book had been released, he was offered the role of narrating it for audiobooks. He hadn’t read it, and was simply told it was a children’s book, so figured it would be an easy afternoon's work. When he met JK Rowling, she mentioned that she was writing a sequel. Stephen replied very condescendingly “good for you”.
A few years down the line, the books are selling well, and he is doing the recording for the Prisoner of Azkaban, when he runs into the phrase “Harry pocketed it”. Stephen could not say this line. It always came out as “Harry pocketeded it”, unless he said it ridiculously slowly. They tried time and time again to get it right, but to no avail. Eventually, he called up JK and asked if he could say “Harry put it in his pocket” instead. She thought for a moment then said “no”, and hung up.
The phrase “Harry pocketed it” appeared in the next four books.
That's how it's done..
2/8. Dave Carroll against the United Airlines:
When a $3,500 Taylor guitar owned by David Carroll of Canadian folk-pop group Sons of Maxwell had been broken due to mishandling by the United Airlines crew there began a fight for reimbursement.
After months of following up with customer when United rejected Carroll’s claim he exacted revenge by recording a series of songs called the “United Breaks Guitars” trilogy. It received millions of hit on Youtube resulting in United’s stock drop in value by $180 million.
3/8. This is an a revenge story that took almost 100 years in the making...
As you are aware, in the late 1800's and early 1900's, the industrial revolution had transformed Britain and most of the European countries. India, under the occupation of Britain, was completely bypassed by the industrial revolution.
During the 1880's, Jamshetji Tata visited Manchester and was highly impressed by the industrial progress of Britain. He wanted to replicate the same in India and he decided to construct a steel plant in India (Jamshedpur) that would manufacture world-class steel.
On hearing the news that an Indian was to develop a steel plant in India, Sir Frederick Upcott (the then chief commissioner of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway) commented - ""Do you mean to say that Tatas propose to make steel rails to British specifications? Why, I will undertake to eat every pound of steel rail they succeed in making."
Tata Steel started manufacturing in 1912 after overcoming thousands of bureaucratic and financial obstacles. Although Jamshetji died in 1904, his son Dorab continued to persevere.
In the next decade, for the 1st World War, the Tatas supplied close to 1500 miles of steel rails to the British for rail construction in Mesopotamia.
In 2008, Tata Steel acquired Corus (UK) and became one of the top global producers of steel (23M tonnes of capacity). It was after this acquisition that someone said - "If Mr. Upcott were alive today, we are confident that he might have faced some indigestion problems".
4/8. The 1989 F1 season was one of the rockiest season in F1 history. The battle for drivers championship reached its peak at the penultimate race of the season with the two McLaren teammates Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna going head to head in an absolutely ruthless manner.
Prost had said before the race that in the past, he had left the door open if Senna challenged so as not to take both team cars out, but he would not be leaving the door open on this day. Prost was leading the championship by just 16 points. For Prost, winning the race was necessary to ensure that the title was his going into the last race. For Senna, the win was necessary to ensure that the battle went on to the last race. On lap 46, Senna and Prost were battling for the first place and going into the last corner, both collided with each other as neither were ready to back down.
Coming to a halt, Prost unbuckled his belts and left his car (thinking this race was over and the World Championship finally settled in his favour) while Senna gestured to the marshals to push his car down the escape road...
As the McLaren was pushed forward, Senna used the forward motion to restart his engine, and after it fired he immediately accelerated down the escape road, weaving between the temporary chicane bollards arranged in the roadway. While Prost slowly wandered back to the nearby pit lane, Senna had to complete almost an entire lap of the circuit before pitting for a repair and drove like a man possessed to win the race. Prost who saw what was happening immediately went to the FIA president Jean-Marie Balestre to complain.
Balestre, a fellow Frenchman ruled in the favour of Prost citing a racing rule for missing the chicane and had Senna disqualified. An appeal that followed saw Senna being handed a US$100,000 fine and suspension for six-months.
Senna was hurt deeply and even contemplated quitting Formula 1. However, on the advice of friend and F1 doctor Sid Watkins, he decided against quitting.
Year - 1990
Scene - Raceday, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka Circuit
The 1990 season had just been as rocky as the previous one with Senna and Prost going head to head for the championship. This time, Senna was leading the championship by 9 points and only needed a DNF from Prost to ensure that the title was his.
Before the race, Balestre had, on alleged lobbying from Prost, shifted the pole position to the dirtier side of the track and had warned that crossing the yellow line of the pit exit on the right to better position oneself at the first corner would not be considered appropriate, further infuriating Senna.
Senna had vowed that if Prost (starting second) got the advantage into the first corner, he would attempt to take the lead into the first corner, regardless of the consequences. Prost did take the advantage of being on the cleaner side of the track and tried to overtake Senna as they approached the corner.
Sure enough, Senna true to his words, didn't prevent the collision and took Prost and himself out of the race. This made him the 1990 F1 World Drivers Champion. This time even Prost's political connections couldn't do anything as the onus of preventing the crash was solely on Prost.
Revenge, the dish best served cold; same place, same manner, one year later.
7/8. This is the story of how JD WETHERSPOON - The biggest chain of pubs in England, got its name. This chain has over a thousand outlets all over England, and had revenues of over fourteen hundred million pounds last year. (They also operate the Lloyd's number one brand, and own a few hotels)
Now, this business giant is not named after the owner, his name is Tim Martin. He named the company after his high school teacher - JD Wetherspoon.
He did this because his teacher had once humiliated him in front of his classmates, and had told his parents that Tim would never amount to anything.
Now, Tim knew that if he put his own name on his pubs, his teacher would never notice. After all, 'Martin' could be anyone.
But no one can resist looking at their own name.
So he named the pubs 'JD Wetherspoon'
And now every time his teacher passes his own name, he knows that it was put there by a boy he'd said would never amount to anything.