The art of killing for fun.

I kill a lot of people, I hurt a lot more. And believe me, it’s great fun.

I am of course, talking in the purely literary sense (officer) but it is fair to say that there is something extremely satisfying about inflicting pain on someone even if it is only in my warped brain. And since I’m currently working on something which involves doing it to an awful lot of people in all kinds of settings, I thought I’d write a quick blog about how I go about it.

There are actually two elements to scenes of this kind, the actual mechanics and the set up and execution (pun intended).

To deal with the latter first, there is obviously a huge difference between screen and book given that most film tends to remove the element of imagination. So as a screenwriter, what you’re looking to develop is a scene that will stick firmly in the viewers mind. Primarily because those ‘Holy Fuck, did you see…’ moments are marketing gold. Both for the film and, just as importantly, for the writer.

But generally speaking, for me they come not from what is being done but how it’s being done. The electric drill scene in We Still Kill The Old Way is a good example as this is the one most people ask me about when talking about that film. However, I’d had that specific idea in my head for years and in truth, whilst it’s not very nice, it’s hardly anything spectacular. What actually makes it memorable is the dialogue and in particular, the almost comedic matter-o-fact way in which Butch goes about his gruesome work.

The printed word requires an entirely different approach because as an author, you have to effectively outline the picture in the readers head and give them the space to colour it in. The key to doing that is to be both inventive and realistic in the setting and totally honest with your characters and their motivation. If you can take a reader to the point where they can imagine what they’re reading being done to them (or by them in certain cases!) you’ve cracked it. 

Central to it all of course, is the mechanics of the infliction and to be fair, this is where the writers imagination comes to the fore because if there are a lot of incidents, each one needs to be different from the last. But, and this is quite important, I never plan those when I’m actually writing. By the time I’m putting pen to paper, I’ll already have them firmly fixed in my head because I want to put all my development time into characters and plot rather than detail. 

Indeed, it’s fair to say that I’ve whiled away many an hour between projects thinking about ways to inflict pain on people with everything from cable ties to hot exhaust pipes and all points in between!

Doing it like this has other benefits. Not only is it a great way to pass the time when driving but if someone has pissed you off, you have a ready made victim which believe me, is often a great incentive to be extra brutal! 

In fact, if you ever read or see anything of mine which really makes you wince, pound to a pinch of poo that when I came up with the idea, I had a very specific individual in mind.

Who knows, it might even have been you!


sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

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The picture that shames a nation.

shame1A photograph appeared this week which shamed this nation.

No, it’s not the one you are thinking about, horrific though that was, it’s another one.

This one.

I know something of the background to this and I’m glad to say that thanks largely to the veteran community on social media but primarily to some of the excellent charities who support homeless veterans,  the guy and his family are now receiving the help he needed. But that’s not the point, the point is that he ended up in this desperate situation in the first place.

That he did so is a source of shame to us all.

A nation is defined in many ways but to me, a key reflection of a country is the way it looks after those who have served to defend and protect it. One only has to look toward the US to see the reverence with which it treats its military veterans to see that and the same can be said of many countries across the world. So why is it not the same here?

For sure, things are much better than they were 20 years ago when telling someone you were an ex-serviceman was akin to an admission of leprosy, but even now, veterans are frequently regarded as second class citizens. That’s especially true when it comes to the issue of social housing which goes some to explaining why there are in the region of 4500 veterans currently living on the streets of Britain.

Yes, that’s right. Four thousand five hundred.

That isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it’s actually contrary to the Armed Forces Covenant which states that local authorities in England give additional priority to members of the armed forces community with urgent housing needs. Well if being homeless isn’t urgent, I don’t know what is yet all too often, and for all kinds of reasons, elected officials are allowed to duck their duty of care and instead, abdicate their responsibility toward veterans to charity.

But at a time when this country is once again on the verge of asking our men and women in uniform to place their lives in danger to protect our way of life, should we, and especially our elected officials, not be doing better for their comrades? Of course we should. Not just for their sakes, but for the sake of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Be it on The Somme, Normandy, Burma, Korea, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan or any one of a thousand conflicts in which the British military have been involved.

One homeless veteran is one too many. It always will be.

If you would like to know more, please visit Homes4HomelessVeterans or Soldiers Off The Streets.