Paying the Rent. September 2016.

Dear Rowley,

Let’s get the official business out of the way first. Sartorial Treasures: A Gentleman’s Guide to Fine Jewellery has been commissioned by Thames & Hudson and we go to work as of this month as soon as the ink on the contract is dry. It took me a long time to get the title right which is half the battle. Now we need to put the team together: the most important member other than yours truly being the photographer.

The book will rise or fall on the strength of original photography and the styling. Sartorial Treasures has been a long time in development so I am raring to go. Lucky I am off the bottle again and this time it might be for good. OK, I fell off the wagon in a rather spectacular fashion. Nobody likes a quitter. But it is now or never. I rather liked me off the booze. Let’s hope the ones who matter to me most feel the same.

In some respects, now is a good time to be alive. It seems the more flaws one has to reveal, the smoother the career path. What’s the betting Keith Vaz will be on Strictly Come Dancing next season after the rent boy scandal? As of writing, I don’t think the egregious Vaz has resigned yet. He must. Private life is private only when you aren’t in public office.

I’m just watching Loose Women in bed. It is Sherrie Hewson’s last day after fourteen years in the chair. I have adored Sherrie ever since she starred as Joyce Temple Savage in Benidorm: surely the finest comedy writing out there. I had no idea Sherrie had such a tempestuous life. She was trapped in a marriage that was rotten for a decade and allegedly abusive. The more her mascara ran on Loose Women the more we loved her. There’s a lesson there I surmise.

Project Savile Row is also going to keep me occupied in the coming months and – one hopes – years. The team is a dream but it is all very hush-hush for now. Not so hush-hush is my novel Tomster, KitPlay, Starboi & Me. I am half way there and it is currently with a super agent who may be able to place it in the right hands. I think I would have a heart attack if it was commissioned.

Funnily enough, we do have one or two renters in Tomster. You’d have thought that Grindr and Scruff would have seen the end of the rent boy industry but nothing could be further from the truth. There are scads of students looking for ‘generous’ daddies on Grindr. Whenever they approach me, I tell them I too am on the game. Who knew suits were such a turn-on…

Work is always my salvation or rather writing is. I know all is well with the world when my words are flowing. I know my mental and or physical health are off kilter when I can’t even be bothered to open a laptop. Something always gets me back to my desk however desperate the breakdown or crisis might be. As Anthony rightly said, I have to live so that I can get to Act Three because it is going to be a dillie.

Quite like the idea of being a Grand Dame or a National Treasure a la Dame Judi. OK, so national treasure might be a bit of a stretch but I can do Grand Dame. Oh, did y0u see Wei made it into Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner? The legend read ‘…that transcendent paradigm that is the nude female form’. Enough to turn your stomach over, no? I like a nude but objected from day one to suited men and naked women in Rake shoots.

One thing The Rake misses entirely is the sense of camp on Savile Row. Well, it didn’t as long as I was a columnist but it has to be over a year now since I ‘resigned’ having had a dust-up with a Singaporean accountant who had an ambiguous name. Incredible to think that political correctness has any place in a magazine called The Rake … especially when the shoots are dafter than a 1970s edition of Razzle.

Actually I do miss writing for The Rake though my favourite editor, Christian, is long gone. He once told me he had changed precisely four words in over five years and countless thousands of texts commissioned. Of late the subs were putting mistakes in as did the Financial Times in the latter years of my writing for the Pink ‘Un. Thank God I do not have to rely 0n journalism to earn an honest crust these days.

I am still thoroughly enjoying my work at Henry Poole. By the end of the year I should have indexed all the great and the good in the company ledgers from 1846-1970. That’ll be a day to crack open the Champagne, serve it to everyone else and have an Angostura & Tonic to celebrate. The book is going to be a winner as and when I get it off with one of the preferred publishers.

So it is once more unto the breach, Duckie.