Celtic Illumination, part 352, Insainia
My association with the air cadets was almost over, the Lugga Bus was fulfilling all of my needs as a family vehicle and we were making the most of it. They had found a new fellow to take over as Warrant Officer so I went off on a short expedition with him and a small group of cadets, just to show him the ropes. I was actually paid for doing this; I think it was about forty pounds a day, so I didn’t mind the odd day here and there. Nothing spectacular happened on our expedition, it was all quite sober and straightforward, the bus didn’t break down and the cadets behaved themselves. We had gone to Rhydtalog so no getting thrown off camp sites or banned from using car parks. But the senior management of the air cadets were up to their usual standard on our return. I submitted the paperwork so that I would get paid for talking the expedition out to be told that as headquarters had lost the paperwork giving me permission to lead the expedition, I wouldn’t be paid.
Had I been one of the funny handshake brigade I am sure I would have been paid, no matter what, but as with any and every cock-up that the senior managers were responsible for, they just didn’t care so with two fingers in the air I walked. It was their loss but they were too stupid to realise it. I had been planning a trip to Canada, for the squadron, which of course now would fail as there was no one capable enough to complete the project. We had a regular event which we called ‘The horses’. A local group of horse enthusiasts held a get together at a local park once a month where they put a selection of horses through a course of obstacles. It was a bit of a fun day out so outdoor vendors and entertainers would attend and hope to attract a crowd. Most of the animals were your standard type horse, but one fellow brought large Shire type horses. I’m not sure exactly what flavour they were but the bigger Shire horse types had always intrigued me.
It was at one of these events that I had the idea of taking the squadron to Canada to visit our sister squadron over there. I wanted all the cadets to go and didn’t want anyone left out because they couldn’t afford it, so I wanted to raise all the money to facilitate this rather than have individuals pay for themselves. I had spoken to Andy about it and he agreed that it would be a grand idea if I could get it off the ground. I was enjoying planning it and was searching about for a local company, or companies, who might sponsor us. Of course now it wouldn’t happen as thanks to the inadequacies of the senior managers I was out of the game altogether. I do remember that at that time any submission to a publisher has to be on a certain grade of paper and while standing in a field, watching magnificent Shire horses leap small fences, a parent of one of the cadets came up to me and gave me three boxes of that specific paper.
I even had an offer from one of the people who organised the horse event. He was a solicitor type fellow how spent most of his time chasing debtors. He had heard about my problems trying to get money out of Paul O Grady and offered to buy the debt from me for seventy five per cent of its total worth. I quite liked the idea of some thuggish debt collectors getting their hands around O Grady’s throat but I still wanted the books printed, as we had originally agreed. I didn’t even want him to pay me the money he owed me; I really did believe in the books and wanted them to stand on their own, so I declined his offer. Jeffrey and I were still trying to get something positive from the USA, there were lots of people making lots of noise but nothing happening. Despite the fact that I had no respect for the person Katie Price, also known as Jordan, I found myself being drawn to her.
She had recently started an affair with the pop singer Peter Andre and I wondered if, as she knew the potential of using a ghost writer, they would be interested in me producing some books for Peter. Jeffery, as normal, wanted nothing to do with the Jordan camp but had to agree that my idea was a sound business proposal. I saw Peter Andre as a very weak person, he was male and made the most of flashing his muscle bound body but he wasn’t a real man, if you know what I mean. The only positive thing I could see about him was that he loved his children so I began to think along those lines. Where I had Frank Bruno, the world heavyweight champion boxer and his fantastic sense of humour the telling ghost stories seemed to fit in quite naturally. I didn’t even think that Peter Andre had any musical ability or talent, but what he did have was a huge fan base and Jordan, who was one hell of a business woman and would, I hope, cajole him into making the most of the project so I proposed to write a number of fairy tales for him.
Once again Jeffery went into a hissy fit wanting to know if I could actually write fairy tales, I wasn’t going through the same rigmarole as I had with the ghost stories I wrote for Frank Bruno so I assured him that the stories would be produced and would be quality, well; what else would you expect me to produce. I hated the way that Jeffrey wanted to keep me in one genre writing fiction with a humorous edge. To me it was as stupid as telling aspiring writers to only write about what they know. When I hear that I often wonder how many times Jules Verne had been to the centre of the earth or twenty thousand leagues under the sea or how many times he had gone around the world in eighty days. When you look at some of the recent greats like Roald Dahl he didn’t stick to one genre along with a whole host of writers. I think it is a very lazy approach by publishers.
Strangely enough it didn’t take Jeffrey long to find a publisher who was willing to take on the project. I remember speaking to the publisher on the telephone who had asked me for my ideas. I said that the first thing I wanted to do was provide value for money. I would produce good old fashioned type fairy tales, of a decent length, that were primarily meant for reading to children at bedtime. But, and here was the sparkle to my plan, I wanted Peter Andre to record the stories so that hard pressed parents could use some form of device to play the story to the child as they lay down in bed. Really all I was talking about was a celebrity talking book but the publisher liked the idea I had proposed. We had already contacted Peter Andre’s management team and were waiting for their nod of approval.
I was now, as you can imagine, spending every waking moment reading and researching fairy tales. I have to admit that it was a daunting prospect but I was terribly excited about it all. I hoped Jordan would not be embarrassed with the book I was about to produce for Peter Andre because I had discovered that she had a range of children’s books out. I had to have a look at what she had produced, or was selling and promoting under her name, and I was quite disgusted with what I found. There was no substance to the children’s books she was flogging, I really felt as if the public were being ripped off. But who was I to complain, if I had been a proper business man I should have produced the same drivel for Peter Andre, but I wasn’t, I suppose I had pride in my work and really did want to produce quality stories. I think that is what carried it with the publisher, that yes, although we were going to use the celebrity status of Peter Andre, and Jordan, to promote the book, we were actually going to back it up with some substance.
It was exciting watching Peter Andre on television talking about his upcoming literary project, for children. He couldn’t say anymore at that time because it was still a secret. It wasn’t so much a secret as it was me banging my head against a keyboard trying to produce twelve fairy tales. It was lovely to see Peter Andre be so positively active with the project and I felt that Jordan would have been in the background chivvying him along. In fact I think Jordan must have been in the side lines guiding him, for one day, on some daytime chat show type rubbish, Peter Andre appeared to announce his exciting literary project. I wondered if he would say that he had any help in producing the stories or if he would claim to have written them all himself. Surprisingly enough he came on and claimed to have written the stories himself, however he was holding the first book. He was producing a series of books and here was the first one, the exact same rip off as Jordan, two hundred words with a couple of pictures for eight quid. Seems like his manager had forget to tell us the deal was off.