NEILSON’S COLUMN (November 13, 2014): Social network SOS helps my high-speed search for an agent

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In my last column I mentioned that “my pants are now in Cairo and are appearing in Cinderella”.

For those of you who do not know about my pants, I will explain.

When I was in Abu Dhabi in February performing in Zorro, someone kidnapped a pair of my underpants as they were drying in the laundry.

I refused to pay any ransom, of course, so they are still captive. They have been having fun though. Since I last saw them, they have been to Dubai, Egypt and...Kent. I guess they had to come back to renew their visa.

For those of you who wish to follow their exploits, they have their own Facebook page, ‘Mike’s Pants on Tour’. There are some wonderful photos of them at the airport, in the hotel, performing in cabaret and even attending a wedding! But what about the bloke who owns them?

October was a quiet month for me, mainly because my agent decided to retire from the business after thirty years. Professionally and socially we got on extremely well and his retirement, although not a total shock, was still unexpected.

So I needed to find a new agent and quickly.

Years ago an actor would write to prospective agents or phone friends for recommendations: “Is your agent any good, I need a new one, mine is dreadful/hasn’t submitted me for anything for months/died/retired” (delete as appropriate). Mine of course, was the latter. But this is 2014 I thought. How should I find a new agent now? Facebook! Yes, that was it. A quick SOS to a few chosen friends and back came a flood of suggestions. Good old friends.

So I travelled up to London, met the agents and drank gallons of coffee in various offices.

One of those I met was the delightful Paul Spyker. Paul and I have known of each other for years. He has seen me in several productions and I have known several of his clients, so although we’d never met, we chatted to each other as if we were old friends reminiscing about old times.

The upshot is, I now have representation and everything is back to normal. Within a few weeks I shall be moaning about the lack of castings and lack of work, as every actor does. My pants, however, have nothing to moan about. After all, they’ve been on an international tour since February.