William Donaldson's Week: And what of this Giggsy?

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The Independent Online
GEOFF ATKINSON wasn't precisely accurate last week when he said that the best thing to do, if you want to ensure that a particular person never speaks to you again, is to make him or her your literary agent.

In fact, there's a honeymoon period, sometimes lasting for a day and a half, during which they will speak to you - albeit for a second or two only, before interrupting themselves to say that they've got Jim White on the other line.

'I'll come back to you,' they say.

I've got agents who may still be toiling away on my behalf and who - with the exception of my baby, who was my agent for a while in 1989 - haven't spoken to me since I appointed them 20 years ago.

My baby broke the rules in that she actually got me a booking: this column, to be precise, though she nearly made a hash of it. When the editor rang her up to do the deal, she said: 'Do you want to see me?'

'No,' he said. 'I only want to talk.'

'That will be extra,' she said.

She'll know her business best. That said, there is a school of thought which holds, against this theory, that a better way of getting a box-suited youth or a discourteous young woman out of your life is to set them up as a TV production company, thereafter entrusting them with your developments. They'll be too busy designing their logos and organising buns for the boardroom ever to trouble you again.

Roger from Chicago tells me that he once received an impertinent letter from the Revenue. He set its author up as Frottage TV in Soho Square and rang him two days later.

'I'm sorry,' the Revenue man's secretary said. 'He's talking to Jim White on the other line.'

Be that as it may, and as a consequence of an early-morning visit to my newsagent, Mr Amin, on Monday, I experienced over the next 24 hours an entire agent/client relationship - from honeymoon to acrimonious divorce - with Mr Alway of Oswald Hickson, Collier & Co. And Mr Alway has me in a double- whammy in that he is not only my literary agent but, in his producer's hat, in charge of stuff in the pipeline, too: El Independo, Major Ron's Kama Britain and Root Down Under.

Mr Amin, waving a rattle and dressed in Manchester United's colours, appeared to be off his rocker - handing round cigars and prattling of Europe and the Cup and 'Up the Reds]' and something called Giggsy and Cantona, the little Frenchman.

'These Reds,' I said, 'any good, are they? And what of this Giggsy? Turn on a sixpence, can he?'

'What]' said Mr Amin. 'It's Europe for us next year. We'll win the Cup]'

You're ahead of me, no doubt. I ran home and, in a state of some excitement, rang up my literary agent Mr Alway, who, since we were still on our honeymoon, had the courtesy to talk to me.

'I've had a concept,' I said. 'Two, in fact. I'll take six months off next year and write a book about Manchester United's quest for the European Cup.

''Plus, I'll write the official biography of the lad Giggsy. Giggsy's as hot as hell, or so I'm told by Mr Amin.'

'Excellent,' Mr Alway said. 'Put a few thoughts on paper and I'll send them off to a publisher. Excuse me - I've got Jim White on the other line.'

I went to work and, by the end of the day, had two proposals ready, both of which, I like to think, deployed the correct degree of Motson-speak - 'My word] The little Parisian's mother-tongue may be French, but he can make the ball talk in any language]' - without falling into facetiousness or parody.

This may surprise you: not that I avoided facetiousness but that I found room in my busy schedule - my obligations here, my gig as commentator on American football for BSkyB, El Independo, Root Down Under - for two new projects.

No problem. The American football season doesn't start until September, El Independo is in the hands of Oswald Hickson, Collier & Co (TV Productions) and Root Down Under - collaborating on it, as I am, with someone in a different time zone - is hardly a full-time job; even less of a full-time job following an 8am phone call on Tuesday from Bruce the Schnoz in Sydney.

'G'day,' he said. 'Bruce the Schnoz here. I've cracked it. On the way to Australia, Root falls asleep watching an episode of Minder and wakes up in Hong Kong. Concussed with jet-lag, and thinking he's in Sydney, he checks into the Hong Kong Hilton. 'G'day, Bruce,' he says to the Chinese receptionist. 'Two tinnies en suite for myself and Mrs Root. We'll go walkabout tomorrow. Pass the raw prawns.' Cheap to make and lasting 10 minutes at the most.'

It was short as comedy dramas go, which is more than you can say for Stark or Class Act. I immediately rang up Mr Alway to pass on the good news.

'He's talking to a publisher on the other line,' his secretary said.

I was pretty excited. 'About my proposals?' I said.

'No,' she said. 'About Jim White's proposals. He's writing a book about the Reds in Europe and another about the lad Giggsy.'

I rang Mark Chapman at Tiger Aspect but was told that he was eating a bun while redesigning the ladies' 'toilet'.

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