Celtic Illumination, part 335, Gladiators Ready!!
Throughout our lives things happen to us, good things, bad things, things. You always think that you, as an individual, have suffered more than most that is until you meet someone else and listen to their story. I found myself acting as a sort of letter writer for many of my neighbours, well; not a sort of letter writer but actually writing letters for them, creating CV’s, even completing various forms. One neighbour needed quite a comprehensive set of forms completing included in which was a brief summary of his life. I couldn’t believe how harrowing it had been and I knew that in reality, compared to this fellow, I should consider myself lucky. As he told me his story he did so with a smile on his face. Last night something terrible happened to our family, I’m finding it very difficult to smile at the moment.
It was one of those things where words will not suffice, just another blow, another wrinkle, another deep scar on the heart. Irene and I sat quietly with our own thoughts, text messages and telephone calls flashing between family members, making sure all were informed, trying to explain that these things happen, but never being able to say why they happen, but more importantly why they have to happen to us, and then you feel selfish, because what about my poor son James and his partner Angie and of course little Sienna Jae who none of us will now ever meet. Then Irene turned to me and told me to go and write my blog, because when the time was right it would be one of the things that would cheer Angie up.
I suppose this is where you look up from yourself and you see the rest of the world moving about and understand that life goes on. That no matter how pointless it all seems, life still goes on. And that is why I have not just been laughing at myself but encouraging others to laugh with me. For otherwise wouldn’t we all be mad. Sometimes events came along mob handed. As Freddie Starr was the newest and therefore client I was most focused on, the stories I had been told about the Liverpool docks were morphing into a fine tale indeed, something I was really looking forward to getting stuck in to. Then Freddie’s agent contacted Jeffrey and put the brakes on the project, Freddie Starr was depressed, weren’t we all. The book would have to be put on hold but when Freddie was feeling more up to it we could put the wheels back on.
No problem, I still had the Lily Savage deal, the Emmerdale deal and the Father Ted deal. There was also the Chris Eubank project which may have happened if I had pushed hard enough but truthfully I couldn’t be bothered with the man. The more I studied individual celebrities the more the mask fell away, the more ordinary and mundane they became. The first writer I studied was Anthony Burgess, who wrote A Clockwork Orange, his best known novel, although his greatest novel would have been Earthly Powers. Burgess was one of the best known English literary figures of the latter half of the twentieth century which is why I decided to study him and his work. Apart from churning out sixty plus novels he composed musical works and wished to be known as a composer rather than a writer. I began with his first novel and was going to work my way through all sixty plus of them, learning how he had progressed and improved as a writer over time. After book five I stopped as I found the only two themes that ran through his books were false teeth and haemorrhoids. If I could feel like this after only five books, how was this fellow so popular, why was he regarded as such a great writer? Surely there couldn’t be social workers employed in the publishing industry.
Similarly with Paul O Grady and his character Lily Savage I discovered that he was incapable of producing new material for his character which is why he allowed Lily Savage to die, claiming that she had been bricked up in the chimney of a French convent by the Mother Superior. With Chris Eubank, once you got past the pure buffoonery of his dandyish persona, was blank, empty, someone who might hit you if you didn’t agree with him. But one fellow I did admire, as did most of the people in Ireland, Dermot Morgan, the actor who played the central character of Father Ted, in the television series, died. He was only forty six years of age. Immediately the Father Ted book was put on hold, and understandably so. The project that would have had the most earning potential was the Manchester United project which was dead in the water, but I could not think of another football team that I could base the proposed project around. Well; there were plenty, but it would have been a heartless exercise, a pure money making scheme and I didn’t really fancy that.
The Emmerdale project was still hanging in there, well; I thought it was, until Jeffrey telephoned me and said that he had contacted the fellow at Yorkshire Television who had given my book such a good review. He had been replaced as Granada Television had bought a controlling stake in Yorkshire Television and the new person in charge had decided that the Dingle family, the family I had based the book around, were to be made more main stream, more drama and less comedy, so a comedy book would not fit the new direction they were taking the characters in. Good bye. Like with the events of last night you immediately realise that there is nothing you can do about them. It’s happened, suck it up, as we used to say in the armed forces, pain is just God’s little way of showing us we are alive.
I had managed to track down a new client, my heart wasn’t really in it, but I had been given permission to write twelve adventure books for characters from the television series Gladiators, an adaptation of the American format American Gladiators. London Weekend television owned the rights to the show and the characters so it was to be a simple fifty, fifty, split between London Weekend Television and myself. This was purely a financial exercise as the participants in the show were already proving that they had no moral standards with their outrageous sexual antics and drug taking. Everything was agreed so I telephoned Jeffrey and explained that I needed him to formalise the deal. Jeffrey like myself knew the participants were not on the ‘A list’ and actually said that he considered them too down market for me to write for.
As you can imagine there was only one course of action I could take and that was to sit down with a bottle of whisky and shout at the Lily Savage television show. I really didn’t want to watch it as I felt nothing but contempt for Murphy and O Grady. I was pouring either my third or fourth whisky when Jeffrey telephoned. He had noticed, as I had, that some of the material from my novels had made its way on to the television and so had some of my sketches, but low and behold only one person had been credited with writing the show. Paul O Grady was now stealing my work. First thing the following morning I was on the telephone to Well Bred Productions. Murphy claimed that O Grady had never seen the books or even the sketches; however I could actually prove that he had.
Paul O Grady, the housewives favourite, was actually a liar, a thief and a cheat. I knew that I could prove that he had actually read my work, but more importantly I had every telephone conversation on tape. I was really angry, but I was angry that Paul O Grady had stolen the food from my children’s mouths. I wasn’t interested in money, well I was, but it wasn’t the driving factor behind my reason to write. I wrote because I loved it and was good at it, to be able to provide a decent lifestyle for my wife and children would have been a secondary bonus, Paul O Grady had stolen that from me. My first course of action was to work out how long I had spent writing both of the novels and the television work and present Well Bred Productions with a bill. I actually billed them for just under forty thousand pounds, which was the going rate at that time.
According to Jeffrey all we could now do was sit back and wait for them to reply. Like myself Jeffrey didn’t expect them to pay up, this was going to have to get legal. But I knew that Savage would use the media to claim his innocence, it was his realm, but I could also try to use the media to destroy him. At the time there was a show business gossip columnist, sort of celebrity himself, Matthew Wright, who worked for the Daily Mirror newspaper. He now has his own daily topical discussion show which is almost as embarrassingly awful as the Jeremy Kyle show. I telephoned Matthew Wright and asked for his help. I didn’t expect to hear him moan about how everyone always wanted his help, I asked that if I could prove to him that Paul O Grady was a lying, thieving, cheat would he be interested. He said yes, but only if I could back it up with a barrister’s letter stating that I was one hundred per cent in the right. I could see that the big boys were getting their cheque books out; it was how they played the game. I could see that I would have to get myself a pretty decent team around me, so who did I know that were good at influencing people? Ah yes, people like Tim Lort and Grahame Duffield, and like barristers they had been called to a bar many, many, times over too.