The problem is ’ ludicrous as it sounds ’ his budget doesn’t quite stretch to his wants and I’m held accountable for that
‘Why are we seeing this?’ The disgruntled face from which this utterance comes is set, as it was in the first two viewings. It’s rare to do any business in August so when I had a call from a vague connection who said the son of an oil-rich sheikh was in town and wanted to buy, I could hardly refuse.
He made it sound easy – he was over here, 22 years old, had a fixed idea of what he wanted, a limited timeframe in which to purchase it and a relatively fluid budget of around £10 million.
His specification is a portered building in Knightsbridge, Belgravia or Mayfair; a flat with all the knobs and whistles: finger-touch keypads, bath temperature controlled from your iPhone in Riyadh – ‘fully loaded’ in short. He wants underground parking for at least two of his boy's toys and a gym in the building. It must have a ‘wow’ factor master suite and living room, the secondary accommodation for the retinue he’ll bring over.
The problem is – ludicrous as it sounds – his budget doesn’t quite stretch to his wants and I’m held accountable for that. He imagines himself in a penthouse at One Hyde Park or equivalent in the Bulgari (both these have the location and facilities he wants but also a price tag north of £40 million).
The entourage of driver, paid companion and I’m not sure who look equally miffed, mimicking their employer’s stance. I simply want to shout ‘PERSPECTIVE! You’re spoilt beyond all belief with a sense of entitlement and blindness to wider world that’s frankly repulsive.' I don’t, of course.
Treading the boards
From the ridiculous to the sublime, I go and meet the Thesp for a drink. The Thesp used to work with me while roles were thin on the ground. He’s of a certain age but got a call-up for pilot season in LA a couple of winters ago – I encouraged him to grab it.
With the vagaries of that business, he has been on the point of making it countless times over and is now back here for the summer, contemplating his next move. Fortunately I can offer him two weeks work as GG (my business partner) and I are away for the latter part of August.
He’s very funny about ‘the industry’ and should really have a stand-up show entitled ‘How to Almost Make It'. The thing with the Thesp is that he never complains and though down to his last sou, he always presents what the Italians describe as bella figura.
It’s about form, loyalty and offering your best possible self even if you’re on the skids. In the language of the theatre it’s called ‘putting on the show’ and we all have to brace ourselves and do it sometimes. The Thesp does it, unlike anyone I know, with elegance and good grace. I’ve missed him.