Coales' Notes: A quick word to the wise

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TUESDAY: In re: Kirsty and Siobhan. To my mind, this is not a merger, it is a takeover. They actually say 'Hello, Kirsty & Siobhan', when they pick up the phone. I even heard Rory say it once.

And now he has suggested a drink - 'just a quick word'. I can imagine what: not his place to say this, greatest possible respect, no question of pressure, but - things change, a new mood, and mightn't I honestly be happier in the long run etc?

So it looks as if, yet again, I should consider my future. I have rung Di, so as to sound out her proposal.

WEDNESDAY: Drink with Rory. We chatted for a bit, and then he began: 'Gordon, this is something I find quite difficult to say to you.' I nodded. He went on: 'Because I have to say that honestly, I feel I have been misunderstood - vis-a-vis my attitude to the arts. I want you to know that this does matter to me. I do care. I mean I'm not what you think I am. It's not just money. I do have an inner life, OK?'

And then he muttered: 'Because actually, the thing is, and in the strictest confidence - I'm working on a novel.' I looked at my watch. It was just too early to go.

He went on: 'I'd like to tell you about it. It's quite . . . Well, I'll just tell you about it.' I grinned.

He said: 'It's about this guy. Harris.' I began to glaze over.

I picked up a phrase here and there: an unnamed, contemporary city . . . a visitor . . . apparently unrelated narratives . . . intercut . . . but on another level, we suspect . . . a strangely familiar landscape . . . the conventions of the medieval mystery play and the whodunnit . . . an animal who's simply known as 'the animal' . . . is she the same person . . . a pair of underpants belonging to W H Auden becomes the key . . . exploring all-consuming desire . . . towards the ultimate TV game where the stakes are life itself . . .

He seemed to come to a pause. I told him it sounded extraordinary. He replied: 'Yuh, well, thanks. But I'm just telling you this, Gordon, because I want you to feel that we are essentially on the same wavelength. I mean, now that we're working with the girls, and the way things are going - I hope we can still, you know, stick together. We don't want to be completely taken over, right?' I said quite. He said: 'Good man.'

THURSDAY: Lunch with Di. I told her how awkward it was, with Rory now giving me these winks of solidarity all the time. She laughed, then suddenly went serious: 'Gordon, this is something I find quite difficult to say to you.'

I told her, no offence meant, but could we talk about money or something? She replied: 'Incredible, you read my mind. So how much have you got?' I asked how much she had in mind. She said she wasn't sure, 'but if we're thinking of doing something together, this is something we're really going to have to think about'. I was rather shaken. I said I'd look into it, but this was not something I was going to rush into.

But then this afternoon I heard Kirsty say to Siobhan: 'Hey, has Rory told you about his novel?' Siobhan: 'Yeah, we had a real heart to heart. It sounds amazing. He's deeper than you'd think, isn't he?'