"I've lost count of the amount of risible manuscripts I get in the post from journalists who want to be proper writers," says top London literary agent Chazory Greenfingers, while she daintily gnaws at a custard cream. "I received a particularly godforsaken one last year which was simply garrulous smut masquerading as satire."
Here, Mrs Greenfingers shoots the breeze with ghostwriter Gunint Tanner, as the pair discuss books recently written by Fleet Street's finest.
All The Men I've Ever W**ked Off
by Lara Crumble
CG: Deary me, this is enough to make one reach for the bromide and Jaffa Cakes.
GT: Not only does prolific confessional journalist Lara Crumble list all the men she's w**ked off but she also jams that information into a wider treatise on how the newly single gal about town can understand the t*ts-obsessed minds of 'guys'.
CG: One of the writers I represent - who sells a barrowload of books and keeps me in Hobnobs - said to me the other week: 'Chaz, isn't all writing just a love letter to someone who's special now or someone who was special back then?' Good point. Awful writer though.
I Have A Reem: The Joey Essex Story
by Mitchell Shark
(Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton & Hamilton)
CG: Lordy. Tabloid showbiz editor Mitchell Shark's 'biography' of TV personality Joey Essex made me wince. In fact I haven't winced that much since I erroneously glugged down a carafe of corked Corbières at the French House in Soho. What a farrago.
GT: I had to ghostwrite this book because Mitchell has been busy at the Leveson Inquiry.
Alison Smithson's Ghost Is Trying To Tell Me Something
by Vilchetta Clamproof
(Bunch Of Bananas Books)
GT: High concept novel influenced by BS Johnson which consists of 311 blank pages and comes with a quill and ink. Readers have to sit in an adjacent room thinking about what it is that the ghost of pioneering brutalist architect Alison Smithson was telling arts editor Vilchetta Clamproof in the hope that Alison's ghost will miraculously communicate those thoughts using the quill and ink. Bear in mind that if you think your housemate or partner might be even vaguely considering compiling a shopping list, it's wise to wait until they're out before you start 'reading' this book.
CG: Vilchetta's own review section gave this book the full five stars.
The Thoughts And Feelings Of Everyone Sitting On This Bus
by Emaline Stretton
(Three Kind Mice Publishers)
GT: A remarkably mature and edifying effort; utterly inimical to the usual rash of sickeningly self-centred ego-fuelled first person novels from former journalists which tell the shallow story of some imagined protagonist who is of course a thinly veiled facsimile of the book's author. Here Stretton - a courageous local newspaper reporter in Birmingham - takes a fictional group of people on the number 35 bus as a starting point and delicately looks into their souls, teasing out their sadness, their joy, their anxieties.
CG: Unlike this one, most novels work on the disgusting principle of masturbating in the mirror.
GT: I do that a lot now I'm divorced.
LOL Up Your Life
By Oulu Franchester-Hellcombe
CG: Find out from blogger Oulu how to get a boyfriend with a preposterous haircut and a penchant for wearing red chinos, bake a cake shaped like a whale, locate the latest trendy speakeasy where cocktails cost £35 and "find the most ROFL-iest fun times on Twitter".
GT: What does ROFL mean?
GT: The first half of this novel by film reviewer Casppar Fzzzf is a kind of hyper version of Ulysees - with everything taking place during a flirtatious seven minute cigarette smoking session in the beer garden of a Leeds pub, as two people grow closer to each other and discuss their shared love of free-form urban exploration. In the book's second half we catch up with the unnamed male protagonist, who lost his paramour in the boozy melee.
Because he's so drunk, all he remembers is that she likes to walk every Saturday, so he too goes walking round Leeds every Saturday to search for her. After a year of fruitless attempts to find the girl of his dreams, he finally bumps into her at Greggs The Bakers by the Bus Station. But, tragically, his fantasy flaneur reveals she has a boyfriend now and after a clumsy conversation, it transpires that his entire importunate quest was pointless. He buys himself a consolation Steak Bake and a can of Tango then slinks off towards the Inner Ring Road, slumps on a verge and has a little cry. Did I give away the ending?
CG: None of this has been very funny, has it?
GT: Not everything has to be funny. Anyway, it's all made up. Everything is made up. Every character in every novel is made up. We're made up.
CG: This is getting a tad meta, my dear.
GT: You're telling me. We're both just fictional characters existing like so much flotsam inside the brain of the same writer.
CG: You're f*cking sh*tting me?