Pat Kavanagh, esteemed literary agent, died yesterday and her friend and client Clive James has written a warm tribute. She seemed to belong to a different world of publishing where the mark of success wasn’t so much screwing a massive advance out of a publisher, but ensuring her clients had long term success. “The secret”, she told James, “is to be a long term asset.”
I thought of that when my husband and son were watching the X-Factor and playing armchair executioners. “Nah, nothing special” they yelled as one trembling kid after another wearing a tight shiny dress, or poofy sequins, and about three hundred tons of makeup, warbled their way through a Very Famous Song. They seem to have turned that lovely boy Austin (the one who cries a lot) into a spiky haired Marc Almond ladyboy. Then last year’s winner, a nice Scottish lad, came onstage to rapturous applause and sang something very ordinary to more pant wetting screams. By this time next year, nobody will remember who he is.
The secret is to be a long term asset. I think it’s true.