Costa, Del, Sol: Antony Costa’s charity bike ride around the south of Spain – part two

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So the ‘Costa, Del, Sol’ project was going better than expected. I had agreed a fee with Costa’s agent and told him I would soon be in touch with more details. If you’re just joining us, read part one and catch up.

While I was revelling in my initial success, I heard back from Derek Acorah’s agent Brian.

I’ll discuss with him, but he is on tour from the end of January and already has some fourteen separate engagements contracted for February, so scheduling it would be the first problem.

I decided to leave Acorah to it. After reading some of the antics on this site, you may think I have no scruples. But I would never, ever stand in the way of a man deceiving people and giving them false hope by pretending to speak to their dead relatives. I draw the line at that. You do you Derek. This was all about Antony anyway.

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A slimline Antony poses with Seal (l) and ex-England international Peter Beardsley (r)

The Agreement

A few days after I had last emailed Costa’s agent, I got this from him.

Can you provide the agreement required? Reference dates, February will work. We have a week where Lee (Blue) is in Italy on a solo project which means Blue’s commitments are on hold and is likely the best week for Antony to be away.

Looking forward to it.

I really don’t like it when agents tell me they’re ‘looking forward to it’ or that their client is ‘really excited’ about whatever made-up opportunity I have pitched to them. It tugs at the heart strings, you know? But i’m not a quitter, so the show went on.

A week later I replied.

I’m currently in Morocco [I actually was], but have already requested the required agreement be created and I will send it over as soon as possible. Looking forward to working with you guys. Will be in touch soon.

Now this next bit got me.

Thanks. Will there be any training for Antony in advance of the show?

I could imagine Costa’s agent telling him he’d got him a great bit of work.

– ‘Antony, I’ve got a brilliant opportunity for you. It’s a charity bike ride for a Channel 4 production. £15k for a bit over a week’s work. Great exposure.’

– ‘Ha, no way!! What, like one of those mad 100-mile rides or something is it?’

– ‘Err i’m not sure exactly. Hang on, let me see how long it is again…oh it’s actually 500 miles.’

– ‘Oh for fuck’s sake. 500 miles? How am I gonna do that?’

I thought it only right that I immediately allay whatever fears a seemingly perpetually expanding Costa had. I promised him the very best training ahead of his gruelling challenge.

Hope you’re well. I’ve just got back in the office this morning and after speaking with our solicitors, can confirm I’ll have that agreement ready for you at the start of next week.

Regarding your question. Yes there will definitely be training for Antony and the other riders. We will have a full fitness team that will draw up specific programs for the three riders and we will have access to the sports science labs at Loughborough University, where a team will test VO2 max, lactate threshold and more. We will ensure, with Antony’s allowable commitment, that he is in great shape and well capable of the ride’s demands. We are also hoping to get some footage of a training session with either Mark Cavendish or former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche. So he’ll also be getting some expert tips on technique as well.

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Apparently, 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche had agreed to train Antony

The measure of a man

I had mentioned in a previous email that we may need some body measurements from Costa in order to get a bike custom-made for him. In fact, I felt the success of this whole tease rested on securing those measurements. It’s one thing getting replies to emails about what are actually very plausible work opportunities. It is another thing to get a celebrity to send over a measurement from the bridge of their nose across the top of their head down to the back of their neck, so you can have a bespoke cycling helmet made for them.

I decided it was time to go for it. I felt I’d built up enough of a relationship with his agent. I had to try it.

Secondly, as I mentioned before, we have been lucky enough to have Specialized agree to create bespoke bicycles and helmets for the riders. Apparently, these can take up to six weeks to create from scratch and I’ve had an email asking if I can get a series of measurements of each rider so they can get started on the construction. I’ve pasted their list of required measurements below:

For Bike:

Foot size (shoe size)

Distance (in cm) from:

– Navel (belly button) to centre of inner ankle bone (left and right sides)

– Hip bone to under arm (left and right sides)

– Central underarm to inside wrist (left and right sides)

– Across the palm (left and right sides)

For Helmet:

Circumference of head (starting just above the brow)

Bridge of the nose to back of the head (hair line)

Ok, I’ll leave that with you and will be in touch again shortly.

Could I have asked for more? Could I have made the measurement requirements truly ridiculous? There’s a very fine line between oddly plausible and obviously ridiculous. On reflection I think I had done enough in the lead up to probably safely push things a bit further, but I was happy enough at the time with how things were going. Apparently, so was Costa’s agent.

Thanks

I will do my best to get you what you need from below.

Ps. Please don’t forget the agreement.

The agreement. The agreement. God, man, am I not good for my word?

Two long weeks passed. I was purposely delaying my response in the hope that they would send over the measurements before I was forced to put together some agreement that may or may not put me in some legal grey area I really didn’t want to be in. I also began to think he’d twigged it was a wind-up. That the measurements request was a step too far. But then.

Please see below for measurements for Antony. Looking forward to seeing that agreement.

They actually did it! There at the bottom of the email were all the measurements I’d asked for.

Foot size (shoe size) – 9 UK

Distance (in cm) from:

– Navel (belly button) to centre of inner ankle bone (left and right sides) 105cm

– Hip bone to under arm (left and right sides) 55cm

– Central underarm to inside wrist (left and right sides) 65cm

– Across the palm (left and right sides) 18cm

For Helmet:

Circumference of head (starting just above the brow) 68cm

Bridge of the nose to back of the head (hair line) 51cm

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Costa could look forward to high-tech analysis at Loughborough University’s School of Sport

I couldn’t believe it. This was fantastic. In the laughs and excitement that followed I’d forgotten that at their end this whole facade was still ongoing. As far as I was concerned, I had gotten what I wanted and it was over. But another email came through a week later.

Is there any further development with this one? I am mindful of the fact we are now into the last four weeks of the year and I would like to see this deal wrapped before Christmas.

Oh shit. I realised it was time to start wrapping this up. So I sent this over.

Please accept my apologies once more. Basically, as the show is reliant on having all three participants involved (Antony, Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell) we have been waiting for all concerned parties to agree before signing off on anything. The original delay has been in relation to Sol who has/had some serious problem with the proposed dates of the ride.

His team have got back to us recently and we were sure it was all good to go, agreements ready to go out and get this sorted and into full motion. However, Derek is now having reservations, claiming that he is having visions and ‘negative energy’ related to the ride. This is desperately frustrating of course and has stalled us again.

I understand your frustrations and hope you understand we can’t sign off on this until everyone is on board. I am working hard to find a back-up ‘Del’ for the show, but struggling.

If he doesn’t confirm by Wednesday I will let you know and we will more than likely have to postpone this. If he confirms, you will 100% have an agreement to sign by Thursday morning.

True to my word, that Thursday morning I finally wrapped the whole thing up and laid the project’s failure at the feet of Derek Acorah and his visions.

I’ve just got off the phone with Brian Shaw (Derek’s agent) and they’ve pulled out. We’re gutted. I’m sorry it hasn’t come to fruition. Senior management are talking about scrapping this idea altogether and I think they probably will. Apologies again and good luck with the tour next year.

A week later, Costa’s agent replied. A gentleman to the very end.

Thank you.

Best

I wished this whole thing was real, just so I could actually work with his great agent. I was going to miss him.

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Costa, Del, Sol: Antony Costa’s charity bike ride around the south of Spain – part one

Antony Costa

Let’s begin with a really quick refresher in case you’re reading this and don’t have a clue who Antony Costa is. He’s a member of what was once a very successful boy band called Blue that had three number-one albums between 2001-2004. In 2005, the lads checked out at the top and went on to do various solo projects. Costa took to stage acting and also featured in some reality TV shows, such as I’m a Celebrity. He also found time to launch a solo singing career, albeit a heartbreakingly unsuccessful one that saw him compete to be the UK’s entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. He didn’t win.

By the time I decided to tease him Blue had reformed and were touring. Things were looking up for the lads once more. Some of them hadn’t fared as well as the multi-talented, industrious Greek-Cypriot from north London with the ‘i’ll do anything’ attitude.

Splashing the cash

I had wanted to target Antony Costa since the story of his pissing against a cash machine while simultaneously withdrawing money broke in 2011.

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Splashing the cash: the multi-talented Costa withdraws money while urinating

I’d initially experimented with the idea of pitching a joint venture to Antony and his fellow Blue bandmate, Duncan James. They were to feature in an advert showcasing a collaboration between Costa Coffee and Dunkin’ (Duncan) Donuts. But it just didn’t feel ambitious enough. Even if they’d gone for it, I felt the idea didn’t have legs and would have fizzled out quickly. I was becoming more daring at this point. I felt in my bones that if I could just get my pitch to Costa right that the payoff would be great. Was I to be proved right?

The first email is always the hardest with these things. Email addresses from a standard provider like Gmail or Yahoo don’t give the agent any sense of who you are or what projects you’ve been involved in. It’s an immediate red flag. But if you can just get the door open enough, it’s easy to bluster on a bit further with each email that follows. I started this highly enjoyable celebritease by sending this over.

I’m enquiring about the availability of Mr Antony Costa for a charity show I am putting together for Channel 4, hopefully to be shown in the first quarter of next year. It would be part of a comprehensive list of performances with a variety of celebrities trying their hand at circus performing, musical instruments and stand-up to name just a few.

The idea I have in mind is to be titled ‘Costa, Del, Sol’ and would see Antony joining with Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell for a 500-mile charity bike ride around the southern coast of Spain.

I would be very grateful if you would let me know if this is something your client would be eager to take part in. It’s a very worthwhile cause and along with the other acts on the show would be guaranteed some great exposure.

I thought I might as well have a go at luring in Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell while I was at it. No story is complete without the inclusion of a footballer and spirit medium-cum-ghost hunter. So they got emailed, too.

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Psychic medium Derek Acorah prepares to contact the spirits

Sol Campbell’s agent was having none of it and didn’t reply. Derek’s agent was willing to work a bit harder for his golden goose.

I would need some more details before discussing further with Derek. If you could help with details of the charity, production company, period in mind, timescale etc.

That sounded fair enough. Here you go sir, have some bullshit for your troubles.

The charities are Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and Great Ormond St. I work as part of a small independent creative team that draws up concepts, scripts and show ideas for a range of production companies. For this particular show we have been brought in by Twenty Twenty, who have worked on numerous factual shows for Ch 4, most recently the successful First Dates. They had a general idea about a large scale charity show and we have been sourced to come up with a range of varied segments. As regards filming dates and length etc it is quite fluid. The actual planned ride would be done over the course of a week, but of course there would be some filming and training required before that. They have stated they would like to have it all done by April/May so I think we would be looking at having the ride in February while the weather is rather cool and bearable for the three riders. Does Derek have any long distance cycling experience?

In the meantime, Antony’s hard working agent had gotten back to me.

Do you have a specific set of dates in mind for this bike ride? Please also advise on fee for Antony and which charity the artists would be raising money for – or would they be able to choose?

I replied with this fawning paragraph added to the same response I sent to Acorah & Co.

As for Mr Costa’s fee, what would he usually require for something like this? He is of course a much bigger draw than his proposed co-riders and this would need to be reflected accordingly. I would say that my seniors are very keen to have him involved and so I expect we can find a figure that is satisfactory to all parties.

The price of fame?

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Antony undergoes a non-invasive fat-freeze procedure

Now, stop reading for a second and have a guess at what Costa’s fee would be? Got a figure in mind? Let’s see how close you got.

I could offer you Antony for £15k inc. Please let me know if that is satisfactory. As for the dates, Blue are doing promotion in Japan and the US starting in February however I am more than sure we can find a suitable week to work around.

I remember at the time being offended by what I saw as his lofty demands for a charity event. Looking back now, I guess it’s not that unreasonable. Anyway, the bait had been taken. It was now time to reel them in, with a very subtle slight to Messrs Acorah and Campbell’s popularity, or lack of, thrown in for good measure.

Thank you for facilitating this. After discussing with the organisers and financial team we would like to thank you for the offer and we readily accept. Antony’s participation will be vital to this particular aspect of the fundraising drive and so we are happy to work around his schedule. Mr Acorah and Campbell, understandably, have a more open calendar so whatever suits Antony, i’m sure, will suit the others.

I will be in touch further with details in the near future. To ensure the riders have the very best equipment we are working with our sponsors Specialized to have bikes custom made to suit the exact specifications of each person. I’m awaiting details of what information they will need precisely but it will be things like weight, height, inner leg measurement, foot size etc. This will enable them to build a bike that will make Antony most efficient when riding.

Would Antony Costa agree to start training for an imaginary cycling challenge? Would he send me a wide range of ridiculous body measurements in order for me to have a custom bike built for him? Would the spirits warn Derek Acorah he was being strung along? Find out in part two.

Waltz With Bashir

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No, not the acclaimed Israeli animated war film released in 2008, but rather a new show involving a ‘celebrity’ I hadn’t even heard of before I Googled ‘celebrity Big Brother’ in search of a new target. Jasmine Waltz? Heard of her? She’s a bit of a conundrum. Famous enough to have 263k followers on Twitter, but not famous enough to have a Wikipedia entry (*update, 2017* she now has a Wiki entry). Strange. Usual bio with this one; a sex tape, lingerie shots, part-time arm-candy for some Hollywood B-listers, a bit of jail time and a couple of acting roles before the CBB casters came a knocking.

Anyway, with no time for mucking about, I found her agent’s email and got straight into action:

I am looking for more information on the availability of Jasmine Waltz as potential co-host of a show I have in mind for her. It is titled ‘Waltz With Bashir’ and is somewhat reminiscent of the popular ITV show The Cook Report.

The premise is that Jasmine would team up with renowned interviewer and journalist Martin Bashir and would ‘investigate’ a range of issues, and doorstop some of those involved, and then return to studio for analysis and discussion. I know this is vastly different from her other projects, but several people on our concept team are huge fans and thought this could be a really good vehicle for her so pitched the idea.

Martin Bashir. Now that’s a name to add a bit of gravitas to an offer, isn’t it? Made famous for his interview with the King of Pop, Martin apparently fell apart for a little bit after the death of Michael Jackson. I have a friend who works at a record store in Islington who said he was in most days (often just in a dressing gown) for about a month snapping up vinyls of Michael’s work.

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Martin Bashir (r) poses for a photo with a fan

I heard back within a couple of hours from Waltz’s agent:

Thank you.
Can you just let me know a bit more about yourself and who you work with please? The yahoo address tells me nothing…
Be good to know more.
Do you already have Martin on board?

Usually I jump at this sort of enquiry as it fully indulges the fantasist in me. I can create a whole persona and work history, as i’ve done before with other agents. Make them think i’m some edgy hotshot who’s gonna launch their star. This time, though, I really didn’t fancy it. She seemed nice. This Jasmine character seemed nice, albeit typically vacuous and shallow. So I let it pass and moved on without replying. Maybe i’m losing my killer instinct?

Jeff Brazier Says One Love to All Minority Groups

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Unlike many young white guys who like football and have grown up in Essex, Jeff Brazier is not a racist. This is why he was first on my list for a new documentary feature I had in mind called ‘Why don’t black people drink that much tea?‘. Previous working titles had been ‘Why can’t white people clap in time?‘ or ‘Why do Oriental people not like chocolate?‘ but I thought tea was very British and opened up channels for discussion on identity and Britishness.

I like Jeff. I had played football against him a few times growing up and enjoyed his appearance on Channel 4’s Shipwrecked in 2001. I also saw him in panto in 2006 at The Central Theatre in Chatham where he played the role of Aladdin. About an hour after the show had finished he, along with some of the other cast members, came in to a pub I was drinking at. I approached him and said we had played football against each other a few times, and he was really open and friendly. Perhaps a bit too open. One story about his time on the Channel 5 show The Farm, alongside Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee had half the table retching into empty pint glasses. By all accounts, the miniature magician is an absolute depraved animal of a man.

With all this ‘history’ between us I though I would get in touch and so sent his agent an email:

I’d like to know about the availability of Jeff Brazier as presenter of an informative piece for Black History Month, that will be shown toward the end of this year. I have been commissioned by UKTV to come up with a variety of show ideas and this was one of the shortlisted entries, so i’m following up to check it’s viability.

The working title for the show is: ‘Why don’t black people drink that much tea?’: Exploring stereotypes in modern Britain’, and (all going to plan) will be co-presented by Gina Yashere.

It will involve a series of interviews with leading academics as well as street interviews with members of the public, garnering their personal experiences of outlandish stereotypes. We are hoping to promote inclusiveness and break down some barriers and think the potential dynamic between Gina and Jeff could be great. They both have that approachability and like-ability factor, which is vital to a show like this.

Ideally shooting would take place at the back end of summer and we were just wondering what Jeff’s schedule is looking like and whether he might be interested?

The following day I got this business-like reply:

In short; it’s of interest and we can work with his diary to make him available. However, I’d want us all to sit down together first to talk it through. It isn’t the most obvious enquiry I’ve ever had for Jeff so I would want to make sure we’re all on the same page before proceeding too far. Can you give me an idea of what you’ve worked on before, and what prod-co would be producing this?

This was new territory. This guy was legit, a real professional. Wise to the world and not ready to have his prize bull made a mug of. I didn’t have much to work with. He had given me his number and said to call him. He didn’t want to get involved in any email ping pong. So I replied:

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I’m currently in the States, so will give you a call to arrange meeting up when i’m back. To answer your questions, the show will be produced by Flame Television.

As for me, I started out as a researcher in the commissioning department at Channel 4 and then moved on to consultancy work with a variety of production companies and networks. I am now part of a small team, creating new and innovative documentaries and fact based series.

Shows I have been directly involved in the creation of include Supersize vs Superskinny, Diamond Geezer (with Danny Dyer), The Gospel of Gospel (with Mica Paris), Sticks & Stones (with Ashley Walters), just to name a few of my favourite projects.

To which he replied:

All sounding good so far so let me know when you’re back and we’ll meet up.

He hadn’t even clocked that i’d made up a show called Diamond Geezer. Maybe he wasn’t as sharp as I first thought. But what do I do next readers? Shall I meet them? Does one of you really want to meet Jeff Brazier? Let me know in the comments and if it’s overwhelmingly in favour, then maybe Celebriteasing will come offline into the real world for the very first time.


Blazin Squad’s Fire Safety Tips, Pt. Two

So, it’s been a while, but if you can’t remember we left off at having piqued the interest of Blazing Squad’s management and now it was a case of reeling them in. I told the agent it was fine that the ‘band’ wasn’t fully reformed and that it would probably be prohibitively expensive to have all 50 members clowning about anyway. Their website suggested only six original members remained, but the cheeky so and sos thought they could push for the inclusion of a mystery seventh member. I replied:

Six is fine, could you let me know what six of the original group it would be? If the potential 7th member was Kenzo or Striker that could be advantageous, but as I said, six is great. Those dates are ideal actually and if all goes well we might not even need them for the 7th, but we’ll see. Do you have an email for one of the guys I could possibly have? I would like to send through a script for them to peruse and we could really hit the ground running on the day.

Perhaps you weren’t a keen Blazin Squadder in your day and haven’t clocked the mistake up there yet. See, there is no ‘Kenzo’ or ‘Striker’, as the real names were actually Kenzie and Strider. That small piss take was a shot across the bow so to speak, a portent of what was to come. Alas, their busy agent didn’t pick up on it and so the email ping pong continued briefly before I got word that they were on. Now I just had to come up with some terms of agreement. Do you know how much a man has to pay six members of an early noughties rap boy band to do a make believe video for the NUS about fire safety? This much:

I think in total we would have the guys for around 7 hours in total. We would arrange transport and food and a fee of £600 each.

They were on it like a business of ferrets on a stick of rock (i.e. voracious, just take my word for it). It was, as the French like to say, le game on. Now the real fun began. I toyed with the idea of sending my dad down to Highams Park station to pick them all up in the back of his two seater van like a bunch of scally builders out for their first day on a new site. First things first though, I needed a date, time and location. I thought why not have them turn up at my old alma mater, King’s College, London. So it was all arranged. I was just waiting for the agent to confirm the names of the members who would be turning up, and in time I got this:

Names are;

Sam Foulkes
Oliver Georgiou
Marcel Somerville
Lee Bailey
Stuart Baker
Chris McKeckney

Errr, sorry what the fuck is this? Which one is Freek? Where is Reepa or Rocky B? She couldn’t legitimately think this was proper behaviour. They built their reputations on funky nicknames and now I was having to deal with a Marcel and an Oliver. Fuck off.

As it turned out I was a bit bored of it all and I had a trip to Lebanon coming up that needed a bit of organising for so I kind of forgot about it all. I had really planned on sending a very dorky script over, to give them the jitters about what they had actually signed up for, but before I knew it I was in Beirut and this had all but been completely forgotten about.

I don’t tend to check emails much when i’m away and when I did, I had some panicked messages in my inbox from their agent. I then realised the scheduled day of filming was only three days away. Shit!! I like to have a laugh, but I didn’t want to be a total dick, so I had to come up with something quickly, and it had to be good. I asked my brother to email this message:

Dear X,

I am emailing on behalf of Celebriteasing (not my real name) regarding the upcoming work he has scheduled with Blazing Squad. Unfortunately he has been detained by police in Monaco and we are not sure when or if he may be released. I have spoken with him very briefly on the phone and he has asked me to contact you to apologise and cancel the planned meeting and filming session. He will be in touch when he is back in the UK.

She was not happy and remarked loosely about the lack of professionalism and how I had let the boys down. Sorry what? I’m in the nick, love. No concern about my wellbeing, no sympathy for the monotony of my daily rations of baguette and brie. What a bitch. Anyway, it was of course quite some time before I was ‘released’. My time inside a make-believe Monacan prison has served me well, though, and I now had something masterly planned for a certain Antony Costa.

Blazin Squad’s Fire Safety Tips, Pt. One

There is a melancholy fatalism in some of the lyrics of Blazin’ Squad’s biggest hit, Crossroads, as Melo-D raps, ‘The way it is now is the way it’s gonna stay. There’s no choice left but to hope and pray’. Young Melo-D, real name Chris McKeckney, was described in 2002, by CBBC Newsround, as ‘the most talkative’ of the group, and I would like to venture that with that resigned attitude he was perhaps the most destructive influence on the career of the ten-piece rap crew that emerged out of the hardened streets of Higham Park in the early Noughties.

Even though those lyrics were penned more than a decade ago, I feared the complete lack of optimism and the absence of a belief in the mastery of one’s destiny may still be lingering in the minds of the Blazin Squad boys. So, I took it upon myself to make them believe there was hope yet and that Blazin Squad could burn hot once more. Perhaps not hot like an iron, but definitely like a strong radiator that you really shouldn’t lean against for too long. Thus began an episode of Celebriteasing that ran away from me.

I was familiar with some of the members of Blazin Squad growing up. Krazy (real name Lee Bailey who was given the moniker Krazy for antics that were so wild that ‘Crazy’ just didn’t cut it) and Strider (Mustafa Omer) were both keen runners and I would occasionally see them at training in Mile End and Victoria Park. Strider got his name as a result of a renowned burst of speed in the 400m, although back then we called him ‘Rikki Lake’, ‘Silly Sauce’, and my personal favourite ‘Fatter-Turk’, which was a play on ‘Atatürk’ the first President of Turkey. Strider always swore he wasn’t even Turkish, but we were never ones to let geography get in the way of good banter.

Krazy was actually a good middle-distance runner and I remember one hilarious incident that sums up his youthful exuberance and nutritional ignorance. We were up at Parliament Hill for a meet and I was geeing up some of the younger runners and noticed Lee drinking a strange looking concoction out of a soup container. I found out it was a pre-race mix drink he was trying out that was made up of Lucozade NRG, Red Bull, Gatorade, Nourishment and Dioralyte. The curdled mix left him in a right mess, and after the sugar crash we found he had vomited in his kit bag and was in no fit state to run. Talented kid though.

So when the Blazin Squad really emerged I was amused and pleased. It was good to see these guys having fun and what not. Their prancing and posing didn’t fool me though, and when it was suggested ‘that they were to So Solid Crew what S Club Juniors were to their senior counterparts, S Club’, I was in humored agreement. But, in their relatively short time in the limelight they amassed six top-ten hits so all credit was due to them.

It was back in August this year, while I was doing a bit of training at home, that I searched ‘psych up music’ on Youtube and got a bit of a shock. Alongside Eminem, Jorge Quintero and Fort Minor this particular compilation had ‘Here For One’ by Blazin Squad on it. This 2004 single had passed me by first time around, and indeed it was their last release before they first split. With the opening verse containing the lyrics ‘Cos we hip this hop this, y’all can’t stop this’, delivered with a totally unnecessary American twang, it is no wonder the crew fell apart soon after.

I sent my first email to their management agency almost straight away:

Hope this email finds you well. I’m enquiring about the availability of Blazin’ Squad for a project I have lined up. My small team and I are involved in video production, working primarily on educational or corporate training material. We have just been contacted by the NUS and Universities UK about producing a video that will be shown at universities throughout the country during Fresher’s Fairs. Whoever they hired previously has dropped the project and we have been asked to step in at the last moment and deliver something by the middle of September, which is why I’m getting in touch.

The video is to be an informative piece about fire safety in university halls. We want Blazin’ Squad to front this. I think the recent Big Reunion show has thrust bands/acts from the early/mid 2000s back in the spotlight, thus making the boys ideal for us to maximise the impact of this initiative. The target audience (18-20 year olds, generally) will remember the Squad and we’re planning on maximising this nostalgia effect. I have some great concept guys who have been working on ideas, but of course we’re open to collaborating with the boys about how we deliver the necessary information.

I would be very grateful if you could let me know if they are available soon so we can move this forward asap if possible.

I got a one line response back, but this one was different to the other one liners of rejection I had received in the past. This one smacked of the palpable desperation of an agent who has ‘celebs’ on his books that never throw up any work and who he doesn’t have the heart to get rid of. This line I could work with:

Hi, it sounds interesting, but the band are not fully reformed?

Oh my friend, trouble yourself not with such such trifling matters, I will take whoever you have. Whether that would mean another chance to wind up Fatter-Turk or not meant little to me. I was soon going to have some fun with the Blazin Squad.