Monday, August 26, 2013

The Gravy Train

In these hard economic times when the arts are suffering cuts and redundancies there are still individuals who know how to milk the sacred cow, make hay while the sun shines or, rather, dig their greedy little piggy snouts in the trough (Three clichés in a row, whatever next?) There are bankers, industrialists, big business men, con-artists, politicians and, in this particular instance, I am referring to a lady who has herself been a part of the Arts Council and has in consequence reaped a rich reward. Who cares what is happening elsewhere and who’s to say she shouldn’t ride the gravy train? (Another cliché for you.)
The lady’s name is Andrea Stark who left her job with the Arts Council on a Friday, picking up a six figure redundancy cheque and on the Monday started a £95000 a year post as chief executive of High House Production Park, a workshop for the performing arts! Do I hear someone mention the glass ceiling here? As I read it for six months she had been on a fully paid sabbatical from the Arts Council while at the same time doing the High House job.  She knew she was in line for that magnificent pay-off and, sabbatical or no sabbatical, remained a member of the Arts Council long enough to ensure she got it.
Now she has obviously done nothing illegal but pardon me if I can’t help wondering whether our modern society is going stark staring mad and just where does the morality lie in her type of behaviour? If what I have read is true the facts speak for themselves. If I am in error perhaps Ms Stark would like to put me right and I will apologise.
In the meantime I will continue to think of her as a not very nice human being. That’s the mildest way of putting it. I could think of more explicit adjectives. Fortunately there are still those for whom money, more than they need, more than they can possibly use, is not the be all and end all in life. (More cliché?) I think of those who give large chunks of their fortunes to charity and on a smaller but equally praiseworthy scale someone like David Headly, owner of Goldsboro Books who has turned down the chance of making £100,000. He bought 250 signed copies of JK Rowling’s book before she was revealed as the author. They are signed “Robert Galbraith” and, once the cat was let out of the bag, (cliché’ again – you’re getting bored with this aren’t you?) They’ve been selling on e-Bay for over £1000. The shop had sold 130 signed books before Rowling was unmasked but the remaining 120 were sold at the cover price despite being worth about £120000.
Headly kept four copies, one for himself, the others for his staff. Now I have no doubt there will be those who consider him to be a total klutz for not grabbing this opportunity but I for one, in comparison to the lady above, have nothing but admiration for him and it’s a great pity there aren’t more like him.
Christopher Beeching has criticised my Blogs. He says I just sound like a querulous old man so my books must be the same and no one will want to buy them. Well no one’s buying them anyway but I’m sure it’s not because I’m a querulous old man but because there is no incentive. Rowling’s thriller sells like hot cakes (cliché) riding on the back of Harry Potter. Would it have done the same signed Robert Galbraith? Somehow I doubt it no matter how good it might be.
Well I am here to tell you my books make no pretension of being literature but they are (well the Thornton King series anyway – comedy thrillers) light, witty, entertaining, pacey, and fun; ideal summer beach reading and those who have bought them and found reading them on trains and planes, buses and trams, have been considered slightly mad laughing out loud. What more do you want?  Comedy thrillers are hardly likely to be intellectually demanding.
Unfortunately my website is well out of date. I have just looked up books by Glyn Jones on Amazon to discover there are ten thousand four hundred and sixty eight Welshmen of the same name, all scribbling away and the only book of mine found among that lot is my autobiography NO OFFICIAL UMBRELLA. I have recently started to use my middle name, Idris, as I haven’t discovered another Glyn Idris Jones though more than likely one is lurking somewhere. I should have changed my name years ago – too late now.
Well, if anyone’s interest has been piqued (second definition) these are the Thornton King Private Eye titles:-

Maybe Mister Headly would like to stock them at Goldsboro Books?

No comments: