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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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?

Danny Dyer: Diamond Geezer

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On the back of my failure with Dean Gaffney’s agent, I decided to try my luck at a proper actor, who’d been in films and everything. The career of Danny Dyer, Canning Town’s most famous export, had been slightly on the wane and I thought he might be ripe for the picking. He had come under fire for an apparently ghost written column in Zoo, where he told someone searching for love advice to ‘cut his ex’s face’ and so I guessed he might be up for something different.

Could the show I had in mind for him be his salvation? That would be up to his agent.

Dear Ms Thompson,

I’m hoping for some information on the availability in the coming months of Mr Danny Dyer. I’m pitching an idea for a show to a variety of production companies and believe I will have a far greater chance of success if Mr Dyer has already expressed his willingness to be involved.

The show is to be titled Diamond Geezer. Running for an intended eight shows, the premise is that Danny will head to Botswana to work at a diamond mine, mucking in with the full variety of jobs these facilities have. I have a contact at the famous Jwaneng mine who will be able to arrange work and visas. While the subject matter is undoubtedly engaging, I am pitching the show on the weight of Danny’s personality. I really believe his approachable yet gritty style of presenting, as showcased in Deadliest Men, would be perfect for a show dealing with an issue as serious as that of the conditions in African diamond mines.

Would TV’s most famous Cockney survive in Botswana? Would he try and learn a bit of Setswana? Does that language make much use of the ‘h’ sound and if so how would Danny be understood? These were all questions I pondered as I waited for a reply. Later that day the reply came.

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Diamonds are forever?

Hi

Thanks for getting in touch however this is not something Danny wants to do at the moment he is concentrating on theatre and film. Thanks for thinking of him.

Regards Becky

Crushed. Two knock backs on the trot. This must be what it’s like to get to judge’s houses on X-Factor and be rejected. Yet I had no Louis Walsh to offer me a consolatory hug. I decided to get straight back on the bike.

Cockneys. I needed Cockneys. I needed a Diamond Geezer. Go on, think of another Diamond Geezer. No, not Eric Bristow, the other one. Ha, yes! Ray Winstone. I sent exactly the same email, but just changed the name and deleted the reference to Deadliest Men. A day later his agent Lucy Doyle got back to me.

Hello

Thank you for your email. Ray is not available but thanks for thinking of him.

best wishes

Lucy

How much more of this could I take? These were bloody good ideas dammit. What was going wrong? I took a few days out to reflect and once I had calmed down I’d realised what had gone wrong. Dean Gaffney had been the butt of many a joke for years and they’d obviously smelled a rat. Like the kid bullied at school who, when you try to reach out to them, rejects you because their trust is gone. That’s why he knocked it back. Danny and Ray were obviously too big and I’d been too ambitious even considering them. I’d save that gem for Jeff Brazier, he’ll lap it up. But for now, I had to find a celebrity who was itching for work and a concept that would snare them.