It’s the big one everyone wanted. A one-on-one, man-to-octopus chat with possibly the greatest World Cup tipster in history. The two-year-old cephalopod who resides in the western German city of Oberhausen has become an international celebrity thanks to his correctly predicting every German result. But now his legacy is assured after sitting down – well, swimming down – with the world’s most prestigious publication.
TIME: Firstly, many thanks for taking the time out of your busy day of eating the odd mussel, making the odd prediction and adjusting to life as a global superstar to talk to us.
Paul: Not at all! Truth be told, I have more TIME — please write that in caps! — on my many hands than you may think. Sorry, I’m trying little jokes with each magazine I speak to. I told Rolling Stone that I gather no moss and they told me they hadn’t laughed as much since reading the transcript of a recent interview they were sent from Afghanistan!
TIME: But let’s get down to business: you’ve made your final predictions for this World Cup earlier Friday. What did you decide?
Paul: As you can imagine, this wasn’t easy. Firstly, let’s reflect on my pick for the final. On the one hand, you’ve got the Netherlands, who have a 100% record, and are clearly very strong. On the other hand, you’ve got Spain, who are coming into form at just the right time. Now, on the third hand…
TIME: Er, I can see where this is heading, and I’m not sure we can get into, “Now, on the eighth hand,” so please, your prediction…
Paul: I went for Spain. What can I say? I’ve had sleepless nights and many permutations have been swimming around in my tank. Now I like Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder as much as the next octopus but there’s something about this Spanish side that keeps pulling me in. I know that I disappointed my German nation for plumping for Spain the other day but I must go with my two years of experience and so Spain it is. Hey, I’ve always wanted to say this: let’s take a look at the replay below…
TIME: Indeed. And out of interest, one of your only ever incorrect predictions came two years ago when you foresaw a German victory against the Spanish in the final of EURO 2008. Once bitten, twice shy, as it were?
Paul: Exactly! And, if I may, I will use that in my interview with the Octopus Times, which I’m doing next. They kill for stuff like that, but not literally! Yes, two years ago, I went with my three hearts, not my head. I got a taste for the celebrity lifestyle and I didn’t want to upset anyone even though I was telling my then neighbors in my tank that Spain would win 1-0 thanks to a Fernando Torres goal in the first half. They just swam away from me. That happens a lot.
TIME: But you did make one more prediction a little earlier and have surely pleased Germany because you think they will beat Uruguay in the third/fourth play off match?
Paul: Hey, can I be frank? Between us, I’m fighting for my frickin’ life here. I’ve read reports that there were calls over here for me to be roasted with lemon juice and olive oil or even turned into a plate of paella. Don’t get me wrong: I can smile at the irony of the paella scenario. But it doesn’t mean I want to end up on someone’s plate. I will never go against Germany again.
TIME: Don’t worry Paul. I’ve heard that Spain’s prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has got your back. You do have a back, right? He said, “I am concerned for the octopus. I am thinking of sending him a protective team.”
Paul: He did? GET ME ON A FLIGHT RIGHT NOW. VIVA ESPANA! THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE LOOKING AT ME IN A FUNNY WAY AND I’M SCARED…
TIME: Hello? Paul?