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

anthony-costa

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.

Antony Costa Alvin stardust

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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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.