One year on…

father, dad, brimson, family, eulogyIt is, somewhat unbelievably, a year to the day that my dad passed on.

I can’t speak for the rest of the Brimson clan (although I suspect I probably do), when I say that I still haven’t fully accepted that the old man has actually gone. But then again, I talk to him pretty much every day anyway so whilst he might not be ‘here’ in the physical sense,  I know he’s never far away. Besides, since I’m increasingly being told that I’m morphing into him, a brief glance in the mirror will always jog the memory.  

I won’t however, go on about the old git and write about how our lives are a little less full without his input, even though they are. Instead, I thought that the best way to mark today would be to post the eulogy I gave at his funeral. Not just because it encapsulated pretty much everything I wanted to say about him, but because it provides a timely reminder of what was actually a pretty perfect send off. I certainly can’t recall ever going to a funeral which was capped off by a round of applause. A genuine masterstroke of an idea courtesy of my brother.

So here it is. If you knew him at all, I hope it brings forth a smile. If you didn’t, well you missed out but I hope this gives you some insight into the type of man he was and how much he meant to us all. 

There’s an irony about today which I don’t think is lost on anyone in the family and it’s that dad would have loved it. He was after all, at his best in front of an audience and his happiest when he was the centre of attention. Indeed, I’ve often considered the possibility that one of the reasons he had six kids was so that there would always be someone around for him to talk to, about himself.

That’s not a criticism of him, far from it. Wanting everything to revolve around the world of Del was just a part of what made him both the great entertainer we all know he was and a pretty awesome dad. 

And he was an awesome dad. Not in the traditional sense as the graft of actually bringing us up was mostly left to our fabulous mum, or even in the sense that he was always great fun to be around, which he was. But in the sense that whatever he did, be it music, golf, photography or even astronomy, he was passionate about to the point of obsession. And he was the same with his kids. For whatever any of us decided to do, he was always incredibly supportive and backed us to the hilt.

I don’t think I ever fully appreciated that until I sat down to write about him. Nor did I realise quite how much he had influenced my own working life.

 You see unlike my brothers, who all followed in his musical and comedic footsteps, I have zero musical ability and I can’t tell a joke to save my life so having trod a different path to the others I’d always thought that his impact on my various occupations was negligible. But since his death I have come to realise that the only reason I’ve been able to forge a career as a writer is because his storytelling DNA runs through every single sentence I have ever written, and it always will.

I wish I had acknowledged how grateful I am for that when he was alive but I think he knew it anyway, I certainly hope he did. I do know how proud he was of all of his kids because he never tired to telling anyone who would listen about us and what we were up to. Not that he was adverse to taking a chunk of the credit for it. Indeed one of dads greatest gifts was his incredible ability to turn any and every conversation around so that it ended up being about him.

That was never more evident than in recent years when his deteriorating health gave him a lot to talk about. Not that he ever complained, he just liked everyone to know he was ill but that like the old trouper he was, he was struggling on regardless.

I mention this now, of all times, because in recent months, his various ailments meant that whenever he left the house, he would require the use of a wheelchair. But for my old man, far from being a pain it was actually a win-win situation. For not only was he being handed a legitimate excuse to play the poorly card, he was also gifted a captive audience in the shape of the poor bugger who had to push him around.

This task fell to me on numerous occasions however far from being a chore, it quickly became a source of hilarity for the two of us. For whenever I’d take him anywhere we’d spend an hour or so entertaining each other purely by seeing who could embarrass the other the most. And I’m not talking about stuff like introducing me to the checkout lady in Tesco as his slave, or telling her that he might not have enough money in his bank account because he thought I’d been stealing from him, both of which he actually did, I’m talking proper embarrassment.

One of my favourite examples of this took place during what turned out to be our last shopping trip together when he told me that he wanted to go to Primark as he needed some new socks. As I was wheeling him between the racks of clothes, he suddenly announced that he also wanted a new belt.

Normally, something like this would be a routine purchase however, nothing was routine with my old man. For not only did he insist on finding one that looked good, he insisted on trying it on. Or rather, since he was unsteady on his feet, he wanted me to help him try it on.

Despite my protests at the fact that actually having to touch him filled me with horror, I soon found myself kneeling in front of him with my face far too close to his groin for comfort and my hands around his waist threading a belt through his trousers as he held up his coat with one hand and rested the other on my shoulder.

He of course, found both my discomfort and my embarrassment hilarious but bad though things already were for me, they were made even worse when I suddenly realised that we were being stared at by a middle aged woman who having put two and two together and come up with a solid five, wore a facial expression which was a perfect mixture of horror and disgust. 

To dad of course, this was like an open goal and even as I turned beetroot, he flashed his immortal grin at her and said ‘It’s alright love, he’s almost finished’.

Sadly, as I said, that turned out to be our last trip out together and so I was never able to extract revenge. But whilst I will have to concede defeat in that particular battle, I can take a little comfort in the fact that I did manage to get the last word in.

On the night he fell ill and was taken to hospital, I sat alone with him in A&E and as there was no indication of how the night would unfold, we ended up in a cubicle talking about anything and everything to pass the time and inevitably, talk soon turned to the politics of the day. In fact his very last coherent sentence was ‘I really like that Theresa May’ which kind of summed him up. A Tory to the end.

And it was the end. For shortly after that, he began to slip quietly and peacefully away as I held his hand.

But whenever dad and I parted, our closing words to each other were always ‘be lucky’ and I will be forever grateful that those were the last words he heard during his life. Because they were.

So wherever you are now old man, be lucky. We certainly were.

 

Why Jocelyne Larocque was right to take off her silver medal.

Jocelyne Larocque, Canda, Ice Hockey, OlympicLike everyone who saw it, I was gripped by the women’s ice hockey final at the Olympics. It was an astonishing event played by two teams at the very top of their game.

Sadly, the event has been overshadowed by what happened during the medal ceremony when one of the Canadian players, Jocelyne Larocque, took off her silver medal within seconds of if being placed over her head.

This was, according to many, disrespectful, petulant and even childish behaviour of the type we should never expect to see from anyone representing their country. Well I’m sorry, but they are wrong. This is EXACTLY the type of behaviour we should be hoping to see from our top flight sportsmen and women.

Let’s be clear, in team sports you don’t win a silver medal, you lose the gold. This is especially true at the top flight and even more so at an occasion like the Olympics in a tournament where you are expected to win gold. But when you don’t win but instead, lose in the final to your fiercest rivals and in the cruelest possible way, are you supposed to stand there and actually be happy about it?

Get real.

In the cold light of day, maybe Jocelyne Larocque would have done things differently and indeed, she has since apologised. And yes, arguments that she is a role model and should be proud to represent her country at the very highest of levels all have some validity.

But in that moment, when her dream had been snatched away and the agony of defeat was clearly uppermost in her head, tearing off that medal showed just how much she was hurting. That, to me, is exactly the kind of passion I want to see in each and every sportsman or woman representing my country -and my football team come to that!- because I want them to win and win big!

And when they don’t, I don’t want to see smiles and handshakes, I want to see agony. Because that’s how sporting legends are made.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpool I desperately need to do some work on my Amazon author page , primarily by adding some new titles to it! So I’m happy to pass on news that there will be at least two, maybe even three new ones coming in 2018! 

In the meantime, you can buy all the existing books including the soccer comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog from either Amazon or iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

hooliganism, russia, football, soccer, violence, gangs, writing, publishing 

The Falklands War – My guilty secret.

argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierNormally, at around 4.00 in the afternoon, my writing life will be dominated by one of two things.

If I’m in writing mode, it’ll be the sounds of Bjork in my headphones and if I’m in skiving mode it’ll be some crap TV show like Come Dine With Me or Deal or No Deal as I lounge on the sofa.

Recently however, I have discovered the delights of Simon Mayo on Radio 2 and having been listening to his excellent ‘Confessions’ slot, I have been inspired to confess something of my own. Not because I feel guilty about it and need forgiveness, but because I just feel the time is right to get it off my chest. So here goes…

In 1982, whilst a young, impressionable and innocent Corporal, I was dispatched to Ascension Island as a part of the Royal Air Force detachment involved with the South Atlantic Task Force. For those who do not know, Ascension Island is a volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic. It’s hot, windy and dusty which can make things extremely uncomfortable when you’re living in tents and what with that and the huge amount of aircraft movements taking place, sleep was at a premium during the day.

More importantly, the island is home to a beautiful and very long runway which meant that it provided the perfect operational hub for the men and equipment being put together to repel the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands. As a consequence, by the time I arrived, at around the same time as the first British ships heading for war, it was somewhat busy.

Now, my job will remain secret for reasons which would be obvious if you knew what they were but suffice to say, my shift pattern was 24 on, 24 off. Unfortunately, the ‘on’ portion involved my sergeant and I remaining both awake and alert which whilst fine at first, was not fine after about a week. Zombies comes close.

As a consequence, we began a rota where one would snatch sleep whilst the other remained awake doing the work of two men. This worked well for a few days until it all went horribly wrong. Or to be more specific, I cocked it up.

It’s fair to say that being on an active and very busy airfield during time of war is extremely exciting but as you can imagine given our location, the facilities left something to be desired. And by facilities, I mean specifically, toilets.

This was fine for ‘number one’s’ but when the body placed additional demands on you (if you get my drift) you needed an actual toilet. And let’s face it, I wasn’t in the Army, I was in the RAF so our much higher standards meant that we couldn’t and indeed wouldn’t, just ‘go’ anywhere! 

Unfortunately, the toilets for us lowly airmen were about half a mile away and consisted of what are known universally as ‘long drops’. These being basically long planks of wood with holes cut in them. I will leave you to work out the rest but to say they leave a lot to be desired is an understatement. Especially at 3.00 in the morning when it is pitch black.

war, falklands, ascension, RAF, royal air forceHowever, within one hundred yards of my building on the side of the aircraft pan were four chemical toilets of the sort you see at music festivals and on building sites. The problem for me was that these were specifically for officers, pilots and aircrew and we oikes had been expressly forbidden to use them under pain of disciplinary action. Indeed, so serious was this threat that they were actually surrounded by barbed wire with a small gap providing the only entrance.

As you can imagine, being lowly non-commissioned officers, toilet envy rapidly became a huge factor in our lives. Something exacerbated by what I can only describe as  the habit of ‘showing off’ by those eligible to use them.

Well, at some ungodly hour of the morning during one particular shift, I was, to be blunt, caught short. With the airfield reasonably quiet and my sergeant fast asleep under his desk, I took the decision that rather than wake him and endure my long walk to the long drops, I would risk it. My thinking being that not only would I be away from my desk for a shorter period but I would obtain a small victory for junior ranks everywhere by taking a dump in the officers bogs. Such victories are, after all, what the British Armed Forces are based on.

So within minutes, I’d crept out of the building and in full SAS mode, has slunk through the darkness across the extremely crunchy volcanic ash, ducked through the barbed wire and was sitting comfortably doing what came naturally.

Inevitably, after two or three minutes I heard footsteps approaching and it suddenly struck me that I could soon find myself in serious trouble. I was after all, disobeying a direct order. But just as importantly, so could my sergeant who was at the very moment blissfully unaware that I wasn’t actually there holding what should have been a very secure fort whilst he was fast asleep on active duty. Being one of the most serious offences in the military, had he been caught he would almost certainly have faced a court martial which could well have resulted in a demotion and possibly even a prison sentence and dismissal from the service. We were after all, at war.

As all this ran through my brain, all I could do was sit and hope to goodness that the fast approaching officer would not even try the locked door to my cubicle (something which might well have led to him asking who was in there) but would simply enter one of the three empty cubicles thus allowing me time to escape.

It was at this point that I noticed that I had neglected to lock said door and I also realised that I couldn’t simply place a boot against it because it opened outwards. It was lock or nothing but even as I reached for it, it swung open to reveal a very senior officer silhouetted against the South Atlantic sky.

As he took a step forward, I suddenly realised that it was so dark inside that he hadn’t actually seen me sitting there and so all I could to was shout ‘BOO!’ at which point he let out a high pitched scream, turned and ran back at high speed toward the collection of portacabins which formed the operations centre.

Within seconds I was sprinting after him and made it through the gap in the barbed wire just as an alarm went off and all hell broke loose.

By the time I made it back to the safety of my building, the first of the armed patrols had arrived as rumours spread that the very real fears of an Argentine Special Forces attack on the airfield had been realised.

It was some hours before things calmed down and an investigation began into what had caused such a flap. Of course, being the closest building to said toilets, suspicions that the culprit was close to home soon centred on yours truly but my vehement denials as well as my sergeants assertions that I had not left our office at any time meant that I escaped unpunished.

A few days later, the first shots were fired down South and the incident was forgotten but it has stuck with me ever since and the time has now come to put my hands up.

Not because I almost gave a senior officer a coronary or caused him a degree of embarrassment (after all, he screamed like a little girl and ran away) or because numerous police and soldiers ended up spending hours scouring the locality looking for non existent invaders, but because of my sergeant.

For not only did I almost cost him a twenty year career, his pension and a spell in military prison, but he spent the next five weeks terrified of shutting his eyes whilst we were on duty in case I actually did drop him in it. Mind you, that did mean I got all the sleeping time.

So sorry Tim. I hope you’ll be pleased to know I feel much better for getting that off my chest.

.

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watford

My latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow  is available in ebook and paperback format from either Amazon or iTunes.

The audio version of Top Dog is now available to download via the link and joins the ebook, paperback and movie to make the clean sweep of all platforms! Not too shabby if I say so myself.

RAF, army, military, forces, hooligan, british film, top dog, green street, self publishing, manchester united, liverpool, sex, maggie thatcher, veteran, UKIP, tory Argentina

The remain camp is doomed to fail the Brexit battle, and it only has itself to blame.

brexit, leaveEU, remainI have recently been having some social media fun at the expense of the remain camp, or as they have come to be known, the remoaners. They really are a funny lot.

Indeed, playing with them is like a game of Twitter Tetris. You know what’s coming and at what speed, you just don’t know in what order it’s going to drop. It’s hilarious.

However, like any online game, what’s interesting to those of us who play it is how this one has evolved over time. For example, in the last week we have seen a marked shift from ‘we have to have a referendum because the polls say *insert fictional percentage here* have changed their minds’ to ‘we have to have a referendum so that we can draw a line under it’. It almost appears conciliatory, except of course, it isn’t. What it is, is desperate.

For the truth is that the remain camp are starting to wake up to an inescapable fact. Because ever since the referendum decision was announced and their anguished cries for a second referendum began, they have got it wrong. Very wrong.  Indeed, to a man and woman, they have fought an appalling campaign on behalf of a second vote. 

The big mistake they made was that from the outset, they refused to acknowledge that those of us who voted to leave the EU might have done so based on a legitimate opinion. Instead, they foolishly adopted the age old bully boy tactics of the left and went on the attack. From the bog standard ‘you idiots fell for all the lies’ to ‘you’ve stolen our future you racist bastards’ we heard it all. We’re still hearing it.

The problem was that we on the leave side didn’t bite. Instead, the collective 52% sat back and waited for something that never came, a coherent argument which might suggest to us that things might be better if we changed our minds. Instead, all we have seen from them is how much worse they are going to be when we leave. Thus, if we follow their thinking, our choice as Brexiters is more of the same or more of the same, only worse. And what kind of choice is that? Certainly not one which lends weight to their desperate plea that we should join their anguished calls to put it to the vote again.

Things might have been different had they actually engaged in a debate, but this of course, is exactly what they didn’t want because that, as previously stated, would have meant admitting that we might have actually voted for Brexit with our heads and not because The Mail told us to. 

As a consequence, anyone brave enough to stick their head above the Brexit parapet will quickly find themselves under a vicious and sustained attack designed not just to shout them down, but to shut them down. And don’t make the mistake of thinking this is in the past, it’s still going on as I type this. In fact, it’s even worse because the truth of the matter is that the remoaners are the political equivalent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and like the nations favourite doorsteppers, they don’t want to debate, they want to convert.

They even have their own hash tag (#FBPE which means ‘Follow back, Pro-European Union’) which effectively allows them to gang up on you almost immediately with each one liking or retweeting the others smug comments like playground cowards desperate to be liked. It’s hilarious.

Now, we are seeing the same kind of thinking with Donald Trump. This rabid minority, who view him as the very devil, are dominating the social media discussion about his forthcoming visit with promises to flood the streets not merely to protest, but to spew even more of their hatred. And true to form, if you post anything remotely pro-Trump, the troll pack will be on you like the dogs they are. So the debate is stifled. Again. Thus, their side is effectively, the opinion of the public.

Yet if you go out and actually speak to people, there is huge support for Trump in this country. Indeed, I suspect that a sizeable majority of the 52%  in this country would love a leader who actually puts his country first and delivers on his promises. Dare to voice that opinion on Twitter and see what happens.

But their tactics aren’t working and ultimately, they can never work. The British are the most tolerant people on earth but anyone who knows anything about us will be aware that the silent majority don’t like being bullied. It might take some time to get us riled up, but once we’re there it’s game over.

And thanks to the stupidity and arrogance of the remoaners, we’re pretty much there.

Onwards.

@dougiebrimson

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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How Hoolie-Lit conquered the world (and my part in its downfall).

hooligans, Russia, World CupI recently wrote this article for The Football Collective on the rise and fall of the literary genre which became known as hoolie-lit.  Feel free to let me know what you think.

It’s fairly safe to say that over the years my name has become synonymous with the subject of hooligan related literature, or hoolie-lit as it became known.

Indeed, at various points I have been described in the press as ‘The Yob Laureate’ and ‘the football hooligans pornographer-in-chief’. As good an epitaph for my future headstone as it’s possible to have been granted.

Yet prior to 1995, writing was never really on my radar. Up to that point, my entire working life had been pretty much taken up by a career in the Royal Air Force.

What changed that was the fast approaching Euro 96 or to be more specific, the growing media furore surrounding the possibility of mass hooliganism at the tournament. For it’s safe to say that as someone who had followed football home and away for years and had occasionally been amongst the very worst the terraces had to offer, some of the things being written by certain so-called experts about a world we were relatively knowledgable about, were not just wide of the mark, they were laughable.

The more of these bizarre ramblings we -my younger brother and I- read and heard, the more it struck us that what was missing was some kind of balance. Something that provided an honest and frank examination of this fascinating world from the inside. In the end, we decided that if no one else was going to provide one, we might as well try. The question was how to do it and the obvious answer was to try and write a book.

More here:   https://footballcollective.org.uk/2018/01/16/how-hoolie-lit-conquered-the-world-and-my-part-in-its-downfall/

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpool I desperately need to do some work on my Amazon author page , primarily by adding some new titles to it! So I’m happy to pass on news that there will be at least two, maybe even three new ones coming in 2018! 

In the meantime, you can buy all the existing books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog from either Amazon or iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

hooliganism, russia, football, soccer, violence, gangs, writing, publishing