Can you design your own life?

Can you design your own life?

BACK in the day, editing a girlie magazine was considered the absolutely ideal job for any dude who could pee straight.

Allan MacDonell, who edited Hustler USA for more than 20 years, wrote in his book, Prisoner Of X (2006): “I was bombarded daily with sharply focused images of naked women. I selected the most effective among them to be presented to a drooling audience, a large portion of which would have paid a month of their salaries to spend a week on my job!”

Not too long ago really, but those were the desires of many working stiffs in what now seems like a different age (are Paul Raymond’s Revue Bars Still Open? Are his magazines still being published?)

Today, we have a different kind of lad on the block, one who designs a life rather than have one designed for him – one who identifies value and hones in on quality experiences without having to resort to below-the-belt adventures for kicks. (Well, unless he wants to, of course!)

This is the type of individual we at the International Racing Club like to appeal to – people of quality who enjoy the good things in life, and see life for what it is – a journey of quality experiences instead of a destination.

We look up to Mike Solle, one of our first members at IRC, who turns 40 this year and has his life pretty much sorted. He is self-employed in an industry that has serious modern-day appeal, works his own hours, owns horses, takes a punt, travels to fun destinations and is able to set aside enriching family time in among his activities.

Mike Solle (inside left), with friends in Durban.
Mike Solle (inside left), with friends in Durban.

Mike deals in fine wines and whisky, gets to travel to interesting places to sample such, and trades them privately and on (his recommendations later).

“Whisky, Champagne and Fine Wine Investment Specialist”: Now isn’t that a title you’d like to have on your business card? (For the regular refined-palate-training and the cuisine that goes with it, let alone other delights that must go with the territory!)

Mike lives with his daughter Harper and Bullmastiff Albert and will marry his love, Jesse, in Portugal this coming June.

“I’ve travelled around Europe, lived in New York but Portugal remains a favourite. I visit there three times a year and it’s our ideal spot to get married,” he says.

He’s an animal lover, almost obsessed, we are told, and a proportion of those fine liquids’ profits go to animal charities. It is this love that got him involved with racehorses, following an introduction to IRC’s Joao Da Mata by Ollie O’Donovan, a mutual friend.

‘The IRC has been an exciting ride, because I own shares in nine thoroughbreds (two unraced), we’ve had five winners, the tips have been consistently fruitful and, with exchange rate with the South African Rand being as favourable as it is, the bills don’t hurt at all!

“I loved our IRC Members’ trip to South Africa in 2019 when, among other great things, we attended the Durban July, their Number One Racing Event which is as well attended as many of our prized meetings, but different on the whole.

“We took in some sales events, I got to bid on horses at an auction which was hugely exciting and we secured a filly we named Harper’s Dream, after my daughter. It was so exciting when she won the other day, and I think there are more wins in her.

“We went around some training establishments, met trainers Dougie Campbell and Louis Goosen, good sports and very informative, and Mike de Haast and Joao were superb hosts.”

He shared another memorable experience from his time in Durban and tells: “After the Durban July a few of us were in a car, like 1130 or 12 at night, and having Joao with us the subject of a late-night snack came up.

“So we found a MacDonald’s outlet and drove in, but having partied a wee bit we somehow missed the Drive-Thru passage, eventually went in the wrong way and reversed the car all the way to the window, facing other clients who drove in the right way.

“Needless to say, this did not put Joao off and he relieved the burger company of their last Durban stocks that July night, they were clean out of Big Macs!

“Another happy occasion was at a small restaurant called “Fish” in Umhlanga, Durban, where a tidy group of us went for a quick snack at midday, but left when they were closing the town for the night! The Fish staff kept serving an avalanche of prawns and oysters and wine, and the bill came to R12,000 (about 600 quid I was quite pleased to settle for my hosts!”

Here are Mike’s recommendations of high quality, generally affordable wine and whisky:

WHITE WINE: D’Yquem Sweet Wine (France)
RED WINE: Lafite Rothschild (France)
WHISKEY: Macallan (Scotland)

He also recommends membership of the IRC (quite obvious we’ll put that in our letter, but it’s true!), and you can get more info on horse ownership, etc, on the links below:


Until next week!

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