A column? You've a ghost of a chance

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The Independent Online
Dear Fergie,

I hear that the New York Times syndication department is giving you pounds 100,000 a year for a weekly column which they are to circulate to 2,000 newspapers around the world, and I wondered if you needed a bit of a hand with it?

With all your other activities - flogging fruit juice, and slimming for cash - not to mention your lucrative contract with Paris Match to do six "major interviews" a year, I thought a ghost-writer might be in order.

I gather your first column is to be circulated today and I look forward to seeing your debut run-out. The thing is, the first few columns are not too difficult - you can let loose a hobby horse for a quick canter around a 650-word course.

But that can pretty swiftly become tiresome, and you end up resorting to moaning about the delays and cancellations on South West Trains or moving on to the portentous stuff - like why-oh-why does Newt Gingrich keep saying "Let's bomb Iran" - and I suspect the New York Times already has its fair share of that.

The real problem for you is that you won't be able to resort to the staple "I've-got-the-builders-in" stuff because of the undertaking you had to give to the Queen that your scribblings won't touch on anything about royal home life.

That rules out revelations on why you needed such a huge pantechnicon to move back into the guest room at Southfork, Windsor. It will also cramp your style when it comes to hitting back at all those creepy tabloid hacks with their obsession about whether you're sleeping with your ex again and, if not, what some future girlfriend of Andrew might have to say about the domestic arrangement.

Hope you like the huge and creepy - I noticed from flicking through your autobiog My Story that you're partial to the odd burst of italics. Hope you feel that I've got the measure of your rather jaunty style too, though obviously if you say "Yes" I'll chuck in a few more adjectives per paragraph and give the metaphors a bit of a stir.

No, what I suggest is some really cutting stuff - you know, ripostes to those surveys which name you as the woman men would least like to have tea with, after Paula Yates. Or those press reports at the New Year that the Austrian building magnate Richard Lugner had lowered the tone at the Vienna Opera Ball by paying you a million schillings to be his partner.

You should point out that last year he had Grace Jones, who scandalised Austrian society by stripping in the presidential box and then taking Lugner off to a gay gathering. After which, this year the tone could surely only have gone up.

If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you a sample by return. Do you think 20 per cent would be fair?

Trot on, old girl. (Do you really say things like that?)

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