Here is a Tales From the Wagon Article from Opus Vol 2 first published in October 1988. It is “warts and all”… We have resisted the temptation of correcting all the typos and spelling mistakes… It is here in the original form except for the column layout which I haven’t learnt how to do yet!!!
Well you can buy the whole Volume 2 with a couple of clicks of your mouse…
At the end of July, as regular readers will know, I did a five minute spot for New Faces 88. (For our overseas readers this is a national TV talent show). By a combination of many things it seemed to go quite well. The panel must have been in a good mood, the audience was packed with supporters and the rehersals had been a pleasure thanks to the camaraderie of the competing acts.
The results for me seem to be far better than I ever dreamed and the show hasn’t even been screened yet.
On one of the rare, sunny days this summer I was on my front piece of grass, I’m not allowed to call it a lawn, in my shorts, when a red Mercedes pulled up and out got The Agent complete with cigar.
I couldn’tbelieve my eyes. It was the manager of one of the acts that had appeared with me on the programme. (I was the only act not to have a manager or agent representing me at the recording). He wanted to have a chat, so on with a shirt and down to the local where, thanks to the friendship of the landlord and an item known locally as The Slate’, transactions can be made without the inconvenience of cash. (The shorts did’nt have any pockets.)
I was in a daze but slowly the message sank in. The Agent had liked what he had seen, not only of the ‘act’ but also the off stage behaviour, and would like to discuss the possibilty of ‘taking me on’. After years of ironing silks, packing pack-flat tricks into my box-table and going off to some distant village hall to do forty minutes for some agency that had never even met me, someone from the ‘other side’ of the business had shown an interest in me.
The first feeling was that of total gratitude, I wanted to givehim a hug, he could have any deal he wanted, 50% no make it 90%, I don’t care, I would have a manager and my problems of finding work were over. The phone would go once a month and the manager, or his secretary, would read out the places I would be going next month, Blazers, Lakeside, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, what’s more, the plane tickets were in the post!
Slowly my brain simmered down and reality fought its way back. For once I managed to stop talking and listen to what was being offered. Luckily there were one or two cards up my sleeve. I had spent a long time talking to the ‘act’ that this man managed, (it was in the middle of a six night a week, 26 week summer tour, it had just come back from Germany and was fully booked until March 1989. By contrast my diary looked like the snow covered slopes of the lower Alps),the Agent didn’t want to finalise anything until I had visited his office and seen his operation and perhaps for me the most significant ‘card’, I liked the guy.
To cut an unfinished story short, I went over to see the operation and while listening to all the phones ringing I asked myself, “Will this team get me more work than I’m getting now?” and duly agreed to the package on offer.
People have told me I’m mad and that I should have waited until the programme was shown after which much bigger fish than this guy would be offering me the moon, but I say an agent outside your front door is worth fifty on the other end of a silent telephone!
I’ll keep you in touch with developements if you are interested.
And, if you are wondering, of course I didn’t win.
You catch watch the performance mentioned above here