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 rushing 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 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, toilet envy 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 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 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 prison sentence and demotion if not even 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 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 sending 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 is how much worse they are going to be when we leave. Thus, 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 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.

Instead, anyone brave enough to stick their head above the Brexit parapet would 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.

But it isn’t working, and it will 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.

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