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Making News - Anton Giles Meets Trainees

Making News - Anton Giles Meets Trainees

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Published by Tony Wilson
A scene from Tony Wilson's second novel, 'Making News'. In this scene, the boy wonder editor of The Globe tabloid, Anton Giles, meets a group of teenage trainees, including Lucas Dekker, the son of the book's central character, celebrity ex footballer Charlie Dekker.
A scene from Tony Wilson's second novel, 'Making News'. In this scene, the boy wonder editor of The Globe tabloid, Anton Giles, meets a group of teenage trainees, including Lucas Dekker, the son of the book's central character, celebrity ex footballer Charlie Dekker.

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Published by: Tony Wilson on Sep 05, 2012
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01/17/2013

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44 
Tony Wilson
45
 Making News
‘Look, I know about this because an assistant o Mr Giles’s calledthis morning, asking the school to pass on the invite. She said that,at the moment, it wasn’t really appropriate or them to call yourhouse – they were worried about the message getting through.Does that sound about right?’It did sound about right. His ather’s mood had, i anything,deteriorated since the encounter in the players’ tunnel. On theplane trip home, Lucas had encouraged his ather to read his essay,but it was hopeless. Charlie was convinced that his son had beenstooged. Lucas had won because o who he was, not what he had written. ‘They’ve suckered us,’ Charlie said, using the back o hishand to shove the magazine o the polished timber eating tray,just one o the private-jet accoutrements that seemed so excitingto Lucas on the way over, but had been dulled by the change o mood. ‘I don’t need to read it to know that Anton Giles suckeredus.’Later that night, Monica had sent him to Lucas’s room to apol-ogise. There was a whole section in
 Me, We, Us 
that discouragedamily members rom going to bed angry. ‘I’m sorry I yelled at you,’Charlie had grunted. ‘I checked out the article. It was ne.’ He hadthen turned disconsolately towards the landing, where Monica wascasting a mediatory ear. Charlie had ound himsel annoyed by thattoo. In the pick-and-choose o how she lived her sel-help agenda, why had not-going-to-bed-angry survived, when others o her so-called ‘cornerstones’ had not. Her hypocrisy was inuriating.Lucas hadn’t answered the goodnight. He was, i anything, evenangrier than Charlie. It was just so typical o his ather to deny himthis success. Just because he wasn’t good at ootball, he apparently couldn’t be good at anything. Then his mum, true to her interering ways, made Lucas get up, go to his ather’s room, and say a propergoodnight. That time, nally unsupervised, it was Charlie whodidn’t answer.‘You
are 
invited on Friday,’ Ms Sharma said. ‘I you can get asigned permission to go, I’d like to extend the same oer I madeto Millie. I’d love to drive you down there. Is your mother likely tolet you meet with
The Globe 
people?’Lucas nodded. I she didn’t, maybe it was time to get somebenet rom those book-signing sessions. ‘I think so.’‘And what about you? Do you want to do this weekend traineething?’Lucas waded through a muddy series o thoughts that encomp-assed his ather’s rage, his own rage, his ambitions to become a writer, and the prospect o orty minutes in a car with Ms Sharma.‘I guess I do. I mean, thank you, yes. I’d really like to.’ He lited hishead to meet his teacher’s eye. ‘And no, I shouldn’t have too muchtrouble getting Mum’s signature.’It only took twenty seconds in the company o Anton Giles orLucas to understand why his ather disliked the man, and to beginhatching some serious misgivings himsel. For starters, Mr Giles was an ‘apropos’ guy. In the rst bellowed sentence Lucas heardrom
The 
 
Globe’ 
s ‘boy wonder’ commander-in-chie, he usedboth ‘apropos’ and ‘uck her sideways’. The exact sentence was‘apropos that Melanie Grith story, you can tell her people thatthey either conrm the quote or we uck her sideways with thoserumours about darling daughter Dakota’. Lucas could overlookthe expletive and perhaps even the bullying, but wasn’t goingto orgive the mocha-ground pretension o ‘apropos’. What was wrong with plain old ‘regarding’? And he knew the rot wouldn’tstop there. There was not an ‘apropos’ guy alive who wouldn’t alsochance his arm with some
‘ 
 vis à vis’. Anton Giles ranted or another thirty seconds, and nished by telling the unortunate on the other end o the line that MichaelEllam could ‘ucking well wait on hold’, because ‘I’m with tenkids’ and that ‘introducing new blood to the Fourth Estate wasmore important than whether Gordon
 fucking 
Brown thought they caught his good side in a page our photo’. He slammed the phonedown and sat back, hands behind head, surveying the lucky ten.‘Okay, okay, okay. Here you all are. England’s best and brightest.I’m Anton Giles, you know that. You also know that I’m thirty-
 
46 
Tony Wilson
47 
 Making News
six years old, which makes me the youngest newspaper editor inEngland and potentially the person who can give you the careerbreak o a lietime. I hope you all know that it is actually impossible,statistically impossible, or you to land a job here. Understand that,and you might just understand how hungry you need to be. Theact is that or you ten standing there, I’m Willy Wonka, and you’reGloop and Veruca and Beauregard, and whoever the uck elsepulled a golden ticket out o their backsides only to go and stu up the opportunity when it was delivered to them on a plate.’ Heleaned back in his recliner chair and tucked a tan boat shoe intothe crook o his knee. He wasn’t wearing socks. ‘Look. I know  who you all are, or, at least, I’ve read your pieces, and …’ Gilesglanced distractedly at the fat-screen television on the interior wallo his oce, his twenty-our-hour-a-day Star News portal. ‘And …ater siting through god knows how many tons o shit with thisproject, you ten were the nuggets that stood out.’The nuggets stood awkwardly in a line, recruits acing the drillsergeant on the rst day o basic training. The drill sergeant had amost unmilitary mop o curly black hair that ell oppishly acrosshis brow. His cheeks were pink and his lips were wet. DespiteGiles’s relative youth, there was a shiny ullness to his ace thatLucas suspected had been achieved through hors d’oeuvres andalcohol. There was no doubting his ondness or the sound o hisown voice.‘And so the question is, kids, will you turn out to be nuggetso shit, or nuggets o gold? This exercise is about giving you achance to experience reporting. We want to send you out into theeld, match ve pairs with a senior each, so that you can eel what writing or this paper is like. We know you can string a sentencetogether. The ten o you are standing here right now because webelieve you can write, because we believe most o you have acreative streak, and, uck knows, you’ve got to be creative when you’re putting together a tabloid story. But what we don’t know is whether you’ve got a nose or this business; whether you caninterview. And we don’t know whether you can use all ve senses,and possibly a couple you don’t even know you’ve got, to workout what is going on in a given situation. What
the truth
is. Whetherit’s a
 story 
. A lot o that stu is instinct … but it also means work, work, work. Research, research, research.’ He paused, drinkingin his seventeenth-foor view, pretending to be lost in the Canary  Whar scenery. ‘I mean, right now, sitting here, I’ve already told you one lie.’ His voice was calm and measured, as i delivering areview on a Sunday arts program. ‘Who can tell me what it is?’Lucas didn’t want to be a nugget o shit any more than the nextperson. He knew not to swing at this.‘Come on. Think about what I’ve said. What lie have I spun youin the last ve minutes?’ A scrawny black kid with a West Country accent raised his handtentatively. ‘We don’t have seven senses?’ Anton exploded. ‘Oh, or uck’s sake. That wasn’t a lie. That was a gure o speech. Come on, you geniuses. What is the lie I’vetold you? Sharpen up, Sherlocks. You might even nd the answeron the ucking wall.’ With robotic synchronisation, they turned their necks to stareat the interior walls. Above a long wooden liquor cabinet andover the editor’s desk, there were ramed ront pages celebratingthe great scoops and news events o Anton Giles’s reign. Aremorseless, phone-throwing Russell Crowe was up there, tagged with the edgy, ll-in-the-gaps headline ‘Six Odd Foot O _unt’.Next to that was the wordless smouldering horror o a ront pagedated September twelth, 2001. There were maybe a dozen morearound the room, including a joke ront page, a or-sta-eyes-only mock Christmas edition eaturing the editor’s grinning mug andthe headline ‘ARSEHOLE: But Our Kind o Arsehole’. He had hungit beside a real ront page containing his visage, an eight-year-old souvenir o the rst edition bearing his handprint. Ater aninterminable thirty seconds, the black kid raised his hand again.‘It says on that ront page “Giles, 30, youngest editor ever”. And yet, that was beore September 2001, which means you must bethirty-seven or thirty-eight now. But just beore, you told us you

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