A Christmas Tip
Submitted by Ray on Fri, 23/12/2011
Shopping tomorrow? A last present to buy for someone who slipped through your Christmas net? High Streets are always busy on Christmas Eve, aren't they? To make your journey along these streets that are a seething mass of shoppers, here's my tip.
Walk behind two fat people or a mother with a pram, stay there and your path will always be clear. Nobody wants to bump into these people do they? Mowed down by a pram or two ten ton wobblers.
Anyway I thought I'd share my recently acquired knowledge with you.
Happy Christmas and a smashing New Year.
Is anybody there?
I may have mentioned it but late October I was at the Excel at The Victoria Docks promoting my CD. Next month, on Sunday the 22nd, I will be at the Galaxy Four in Sheffield between 1.00 and 3pm doing the same thing.
Now, there is a difference between these two events. No, not just the location or the year, no, no, no. Give up? Of course you do. Here it is: at the Excel they (Dexter of Phantom Films the organiser) charged £15 for a signed photograph with me getting 50% but at the Galaxy, he's only charging £10.
Has my stock fallen through the floor in three months? Mind you, if I'd had Dexter on my side when I was signing thousands of EastEnders cards, I'd be a millionaire!
Of course, £15 or even £10 for a scruffy signature is stupid. Mind you, I made exactly £1,146 from the sales of my autobiography where as I received £246 for my percentage for my autographs. There's something wrong there.
Two years to write the book and about three hours signing pictures!
A bitchy actor turned up at my table at The Excel. '£15 for an autograph!' he screeched.
'Yeah, not my idea.'
'Well, I've heard.' he whispered. 'That David Tennant is charging £45!'
The world has gone mad.
Submitted by Ray on Sat, 19/11/2011
At the end of last week I set about writing a blog about my experiences in the Excel complex near the Victoria Dock to promote my CD of my autobiography. The wit was flowing from my fingertips. I was describing the maniacs dressed as robots, spiders, Batmen, nurses, cowboys and Indians, there were thousands of these people mincing around, me, at my table, looking mournful, round the corner was a wrestling match going on, across the way was a robot wars arena and booming from another part of this vast space was a cat walk where contestants were attempting to become the next super model. A man was standing at my table looking at the array of photographs on display. He points at a picture of me pouring a drink for Charles Hawtrey.
'Where's the elephant?'
Woken from my dreams of having a pint later. 'Eh?'
'Isn't that Carry On up The Jungle?'
At about this point in my hilarious take on the Excel chaos....I pressed a button (by mistake) and everything was wiped.
A few years ago I was happy with a biro and a sheet of paper now it's blogging, tweeting, face booking, skyping and chapters missing from my autobiography. The world's gone mad.
But out of all this my novel is about (!) to be printed AND, having flicked through the CD of my autobiography, I made a discovery.
The last three lines on disc 3 are fantastic!
I urge you to buy this CD because those lines are the best I've ever written, they'll lift your spirits, make you laugh and they sum up my attitude to the whole shebang.
Me Vs The Publisher. I retire hurt. Battered by the bills. As I said in my email to the solicitor 'I'm throwing away the Paracetamol and going for a long walk.' I would have won but they are obdurate tykes and my pockets aren't deep enough.
Next the printer, who was going to supply my novel, has gone into liquidation.
My literary career is costing me a lot of money.
A slight glimmer was the meeting with Mike Leigh, not the Mike Leigh, the film director, as I soon discovered. There's me looking for a little fat man with a white beard and a smart shiny suited man turns up. No beard and as thin as a pencil. A very nice bloke, who seems willing to take me on. One strange thing that he wanted me to find out from my old agent is 'Have you got a reputation for being difficult?'
Walking yesterday in the park with my grandson Beau, this bloke hails me. 'Hullo, Ray, I'm Gary I produced 'A Question of Sport' when you appeared in it in the 80's.'You could have knocked me down with a feather.
He asked me what I was doing. I didn't go into detail.Apparently, he left the BBC and went to work for Sky. Then was made redundant. He's been unemployed for 18 months.'I write off for jobs every week and nobody even replies.'
Poor bugger. And there's me worrying about my shitty month.
I'm going to stop all this navel gazing and find someone else to print the book.
Oh, and next Sunday the 30th I'm out to the Excel Complex near the Victoria Docks from 10.30 to launch the CD of my autobiography.
That's something I'm looking forward to.
Next week: a little old lady to hospital on Tuesday: Wednesday a V.O. : Thursday meeting Mike Leigh to see if his agency will take me on to try and save my wobbling career.
My novel is with the printer and I'm sweating on getting them delivered before the end of this month.
Talk to my solicitor early this week about the next move in 'me vs the publisher'.
Finally, talk to the pubs in Brighton to establish dates and try to gather some people in to have a chat.
Also I've got to work hard on what I'm going to talk about !
I had a letter the other day from my solicitor. It was about my dispute with the publishers and the phrase he used was 'the clock's still running' which I suppose is short hand for saying my bill is racking up by the minute.
Stanley Baker, the actor, didn't like to lose. Forty years ago, flying back from Hong Kong, I got into a poker game with him. He always played no pot limit. I didn't know what was going on, just filling in the time on a long flight.
People in the game were falling out like flies, because when the pot got tasty, no matter what cards he had, he'd glance around the table see what money they's got and he'd get out his wallet in stick in a few hundred, which he knew they couldn't match and wipe them out.
I was £79 up and I needed to go to the loo, bumped into the director of the film.
'What are you doing?'
'Playing poker with Stanley.'
'You bloody fool, he'll skin you. Sit down and pretend to be asleep.'
I did. I kept my eyes closed for the remainder of the flight but I could hear the Welsh giant moaning 'Where's that bloody boy!'
Stanley never forgot that I'd walked away winning. All through the picture he talked about it. Even, many years later, I met him in town, he still hadn't forgotten.
He was earning fortunes but it niggled him that I'd done him out of £79.
Now the old clock's running for my novel. At the end of October I'm on the the road promoting the CD of my autobiography and I need copies of my novel to sell at the same time.
Dear Reader, I'm back blogging after a couple of months.
A lot seems to have happened since my last effort.
I had lunch on June 14th with the publisher of my autobiography to discuss the in's and out's of why two chapters were missing from the printed version, which I believe I've mentioned to you before.
'You signed off the proof copy.'
'Did I? I don't remember.'
'I have the document that you signed.Do you want me to send you a copy of it or shall i send it to The Society of Authors?'
'Send it to me, please.'
That is the crux of the matter. Nothing has been sent. I phoned them to remind them of the promise. Then I receive a letter from them.
'I cannot see why (we should send you the document) when we went over everything during our lunch meeting.'
I politely replied again requesting a sight of the now elusive document. This was three weeks ago. Two months after the initial meeting.
I put money towards the publishing. They, they tell me, have been in the publishing business for 30 years and I would have assumed that they should have taken care of my book through all it's stages. They have let me down and I believe that they should return some or all of my investment.
I'm now contacting a solicitor for advice. I will keep you informed.
On the positive side I have got the rights of my book back. I have completed a recording of a CD version of my book. Three dates have been planned in October and November to promote it.
My novel is a squeak from being finished