Category Archives: politics

Why we will never see an end to racism in the UK.

racism, john terry, bigot, football, soccer, serbia, sex, scum, Kick racism out of footballThe other evening, whilst taking part in a late-night radio debate on the disgraceful scenes in Serbia, I was asked if I thought we would ever see an end to racism in the UK. My answer was an instant and resounding no. I then added that my thinking was based on the simple fact that we had never had a free and open debate on the issues of racism, immigration and multiculturalism in our country and more importantly, would never be allowed to have one.

When asked why not, I made the point that in my opinion it was because the powers that be were afraid of the answers the vast majority of the population would provide. I was cut off almost instantly. As proof of my point, that’s as conclusive as it gets.

Now let me quote something to you. It’s lengthy, but bare with it.

Racism and multiculturalism have become two of the key issues affecting the way we live but by allowing the anti-racist and politically driven lobby groups to occupy the moral high ground, we [as a society] have become terrified of openly questioning anything relating to race for fear that we will be labelled as racist. A fear that is especially prevalent amongst the white Anglo-Saxon and Christian communities who lest we forget, actually form the majority of the population.

As a consequence, they [the liberal-left and the anti-racist groups] have been allowed to get away with things that they really should not be allowed to get away with. We may laugh at the stupidity of banning piggy banks or replacing the seven dwarves with the seven gnomes but in their own way, each act of petty political correctness drives the wedge between the various ethnic groups ever deeper.

More importantly, by suppressing a much needed and long overdue debate about the impact these issues have on us all, we as a nation are clearly storing up huge problems. If only because ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds resentment which could, potentially, play right into the hands of extreme political groups. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the implications of that would stretch far wider than the turnstile or the playing field.

However, racism is an issue which not only should be talked about it is one which we must talk about. Dialogue is after all, the only way we, as a society will ever understand things and we have to do that if we are ever to be rid of this most shameful of scourges. That will only happen when we are brave enough to allow everyone to have their say and more importantly, listen to what is being said. Tragically, even though we live in a supposedly free society, I cannot ever see that happening. Indeed, there is something to be said for the idea that if Enoch Powell achieved one thing with his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, it was to suppress forever any chance of anyone having a free and open debate about either immigration or race in Britain.

Ironically, the area of society that has done more than any other to combat racism in Britain is football. In recent weeks I have witnessed racist abuse being hurled by blacks, whites and Asians in shops, pubs and even at a motorway service station yet I can count on three fingers the number of racist incidents I have encountered inside a stadium in this country since I began writing in 1996 and two of those have been at non-league games. And I’m not alone. Even Thierry Henry has been quoted as saying that he has not heard any racist abuse inside a stadium since he came to play in this country yet still we routinely hear football being slaughtered. Why? Surely the fact that on the rare occasions an incident of football related racial abuse takes place here in England it is roundly and swiftly condemned by all parties is proof of how serious this issue has been taken. Similarly, the fury with which we react to abuse targeted at English players abroad must indicate how far we have come as well as how far others lag behind.

I’m not saying that we should sit on our laurels, but we shouldn’t be so self critical either. As fans, we should be proud that for the most part, the only colour we care about is the colour of the shirt and we should celebrate the fact that people come from all over the world to play the game here free of the abuse and intimidation seen all too often in Spain, Italy, Germany and most of Eastern Europe. We should also be thrilled that so many black players represent us at international level but equally, we should enjoy a smug smile of satisfaction that these days we don’t even really notice. All we actually see is eleven proud Englishmen and that in itself says everything to me.

That’s an extract from Kicking Off which I wrote in 2004 and to me, it’s sadly still as relevant now as it was back then. However, if there is a silver lining to the horrific events in Serbia this week it has been to highlight just how far we as a nation have come in the drive to defeat racism and as I wrote in the piece, no section of society has fought more valiantly than football. Although let’s be honest, as the John Terry affair has proven, whilst the fans continue to do their bit there is much to be said for the idea that football’s administration needs to up its game not least with an ounce to two of consistency.

But there is still much work to be done and the great game can’t do everything, nor should it even try. For sure as we saw only too clearly this summer, sport can be a fantastic unifying force but if we are ever to see a resolution to the cancer of racism in our nation and legitimately sit upon the moral high ground where we so richly deserve to be, it can only happen if we, as individuals, can freely and honestly discuss all of the issues associated with it.

The last I heard, this is a free country. So why can’t we?

.

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The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

Just a quick note to let you know that Amazon have now price matched most of my titles with iTunes so that the bulk, including The Art of Fart, are now just 99p. The only exceptions are The Crew which is free and Top Dog and Billy’s Log which will set you back £1.99.

So if you’re missing a book, now is as good a time as any!

Why now more than ever, we must all show pride in the Poppy.

poppy appeal 2012This blog was written two years ago. Sadly, in light of recent events involving allegations made that some of our major supermarkets and motorway service station operators have banned veterans from selling poppy’s on their premises, it is more relevant now than it was when I wrote it. The fact that I have to even think that let alone write it is a shameful reflection of what is being allowed to go on in this once great country. 

I am, it is fair to say, something of a patriot. Indeed, I am as proud an Englishman as it is possible to be and certainly follow that old mantra, English first, British second and European never.

To some of course, this will immediately label me as some kind of racist xenophobe but to be blunt, I don’t care. I’m too old, too set in my ways and have been through far too many mills to give a shit about what anyone else might think of me and as such, have neither the inclination, desire nor as far as I’m concerned, need to justify myself to anyone else. Take me as I am, or don’t take me at all. Simple as that.

I write the above for one very simple reason. You see as I wrote in my last blog, I have passed the point where I’m going to pull my punches and if something gets me fired up, then I’m going after it with all guns blazing and write what I actually think. This is one of those times.

In little under a month, it will be Remembrance Sunday and like the vast majority of the nation, I’ll be taking the time to pay my respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In actual fact, as a veteran of the Falklands War I will once again be taking part in the parade past the Cenotaph in London as part of the South Atlantic medal contingent and am proud as punch to be doing so.

Now the build up to November 11th is always a poignant time for the British as there can barely be a family in the country who have not been touched either directly or indirectly by war either past or present. However it is especially so for those of us who have been lucky enough to serve in the military because to everyone who has done time in uniform the fallen and the injured were, are and always will be our comrades. There but for the grace of god and all that.

That’s also why the poppy has such a special significance for us. For the mere sight of a person wearing one indicates their support not only those who have served and given, but for those who continue to serve. Just as importantly of course, buying a poppy puts money into the amazing charities that support those suffering as a result of injury. Be it physical or mental.

Equally, it is the reason why we get so angry when we see stories about poppy sellers being harassed in the street or of groups planning to burn poppies as some kind of protest. For the poppy isn’t a flag or any kind of political or religious symbol and it most certainly is not any kind of celebration of war, it is a symbol of gratitude. Indeed, if you are anti-war (as most right-thinking people are) then the white poppy is an excellent way of signifying that.

But whilst I readily accept that anyone has the right not to wear a poppy if they so wish -the notion of free speech being at the very heart of our democracy which so many fought and gave to defend- what I do not and will not accept is the defacing or abuse of something which signifies so much. Because to do so is at best disrespectful, at worst incitement. It’s certainly provocative.

The irony is of course, that the scum who do such things can only do so thanks to the freedom those who made the ultimate sacrifice have provided for them. Yet of course they are too stupid to understand that. Instead, they simply take the piss and hide behind the law and the freedom which they seemingly so despise  And worst of all, we allow them to do it. In some cases, they are even protected by the police whilst committing this most cowardly of acts because in this free country of ours, they have the ‘right’ to protest.

Well fuck that. What about the rights of the old boys who want to sell poppies as a way of paying homage to their former colleagues but who are spat at or abused when they try to do so? Why are they not being afforded the same kind of protection as they seek to go about their lawful business as the bastards who support those who seek to harm us are seemingly handed on a daily basis?

More importantly, what about the rights of the lads whose bodies still lie strewn and unburied across the Somme or Ypres? Or the poor souls who never made it off the beaches of Normandy? What about those who lie at the bottom of the South Atlantic or who lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan? They aren’t just names on a memorial, they are heroes. And this country owes them a damn sight more than simply standing by and watching as the vermin who we have somehow allowed to infest our society disrespect their memory.

For that is what they are doing, disrespecting. Yet at the same time they have the gall to demand that ‘we’ respect their opinions, their beliefs, their way of life whilst showing none toward ours in return. The hypocrisy is staggering and if it wasn’t so tragic, it would laughable. But not only must it stop, it must be stopped fast.

Now I absolutely acknowledge that what we are talking about is a tiny minority of a minority but I seem to remember another minority stepping out of line not so long ago and the law of the land going all out to stop them and exercise control over pretty much everything they did. Something it succeeded with great efficiency and stunningly quickly. Yes, I know it might be trite to bring football into this but as a precedent, the war waged against hooliganism isn’t actually a bad one. So in the same way as laws were rushed through to seize passports from suspected offenders and impose banning orders on those convicted of football related offences, given that this problem seems to be increasing each year why haven’t laws been rushed through to afford the poppy -and for that matter, our flag- the status of a national sacred symbol with the result that if you desecrate it, you can expect the full force of the law to come down hard upon you?

I for one would wholeheartedly support such a law and with the poppy such a source of pride and importance to so many and the flag now more a symbol of unity than hate thanks to it’s long overdue rescue from the right-wing, I can’t imagine many people would be against it. So why not?

After all, we can’t make people wear the poppy and nor should we even try. We can’t even make people respect it. But we should certainly not sit back and let anyone disrespect what it means. For to do so dishonours the memory of those who made this great nation what it is.

However, until such time as those who are supposed to reflect the opinions of the majority see sense, let me put on record one simple fact. Burn a poppy or abuse a veteran trying to sell them in my presence, you’re fucked.

That’s a fact.

.

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The Crew continues it’s quite astonishing run at #1 on the free sports book download charts and is now well into it’s second year at the top! It’s also been receiving some great reviews which is always heartening (and if you haven’t left one, why not?).

If you use iTunes to download books, you might be interested to know that with the release of Wings of a Sparrow approaching, we’ve slashed the prices of all my books with most, including The Art of Fart now just 99p! The Crew and Everywhere We Go are still free so just click on the following link to download all or any! iTunes

Hopefully Amazon will follow suit fairly quickly as they operate a price matching policy however, you can let them know about the lower price by clicking on the relevant link on the page of the relevant book.

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Hillsborough. The ugly truth everyone is avoiding.

Liverpool, 96, justice, Hillsborough

Out of respect for the families, I had no intention of commenting on the issue of Hillsborough primarily because everything I’ve had to say has been said in print many times.

However, having received a number of mails about it over the last 24 hours I’ve had a read back over some of the things I’ve written over the years some of which, it’s fair to say, have attracted a degree of criticism. Albeit primarily from people who have no concept of what it was like to be a travelling fan in the mid-80’s.

So let me say one thing, I stand by every single word and my conclusion remains the same. Because however you look at it, the ultimate responsibility for Hillsborough lies not with the thin blue line, the government or even Kelvin McKenzie, it lies with those of us who followed the game back then.

Specifically, everyone who ever threw a punch at a game, charged across a terrace, invaded a pitch, smashed up a high street or yes, who steamed a gate because they didn’t have a ticket.

It was the fault of the fans who laid waste to Europe whilst following England or their club in the 80’s, who caused the tragedy at Heysel or who were involved in any one of the countless football related deaths which had happened in previous years. Because they, we, are the reason why football pitches were surrounded by horrific steel fences and the reason why, on April 15th 1989, the police had become so jaundiced against football fans that they couldn’t or wouldn’t recognise the difference between crushing and fighting.

Yes, there were clearly huge flaws in the police operation and it is about time that those responsible were held to account and that the families gain the justice that they have so valiantly fought for. But those of us who either played our part in dragging the game down to that point or who simply sat back and watched while others did it are equally guilty.

And we should all feel slightly ashamed of ourselves today. I know I do.

RIP the 96.

.

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

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The Art of Fart – Bargain!

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

fart sex love anal "bodily functions"
The Art of Fart – Bargain!

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

Dear Daily Mail, an open letter from an ex-reader.

A genuine role model
Amen!

Dear Daily Mail,

Re: the photograph on the left.

As I type this, Britain is enjoying what will surely go down as one of the great events of the modern age. Coming 12 months after the world saw the very worst this country has to offer being conducted by the very worst our society has to offer, we are now seeing Britain at its very, very best.

Our nation is full of joy and optimism, our athletes are quite simply astonishing and each day brings things we never thought we would ever see. And as if that isn’t enough, we have the Paralympics to come. Surely as wonderful an example of the triumph of the human spirit as anyone could hope for.

You look at all that, all this and it’s clear, Britain really is Great. Despite the best efforts of Labour it always was and always will be. TeamGB, that sums it up perfectly.

Yet the truth is that this is the tip of the iceberg and that iceberg has been gently drifting along for decades driven by the quiet resolve that is middle England.

From our amazing troops to the women of the WRVS and a million points between , this country of ours has always been full of hope, goodness and inspiration. And this brings me to my point.

Why is it that you feel the need to ignore these good people and their amazing stories and instead feed us a daily dose of crap? Why do you assume that anyone has any interest in page upon page of PR spin about airheads who have contributed little or nothing to the fabric of this country?

Yet every single day you dish up a diet of bullshit about The Only Way is Essex and Big Brother as if the people involved are somehow important. Newsflash: they aren’t and they never will be.

Furthermore, why do you assume anyone cares about Imogen Thomas, Sophie Anderton, Katie Price or any other of the myriad of nomarks who fill your ‘news’ paper every single fucking day? Most of them might as well be names in a phone directory for all the meaning they have to me and I’m certainly not going to waste time reading about them in an effort to find out who they are because chances are I won’t care anyway.

And why this fascination with the Kardashian family? From what I can tell all they are is a bunch of good looking dysfunctionals who have somehow managed to manipulate the media into thinking they have some kind of value. Manipulation which you have clearly fallen for because they actually don’t. They are only a story because you make them a story!

The Daily Mail was once a great news paper. Sadly, thanks to a seemingly fanatical desire to avoid listening to its readership, it has become little more than a down market version of OK magazine and you should be ashamed.

Look at the photo to the top left of this post because it says everything the people of this nation feel. When we are in positive mode, we are untouchable and as you may have noticed, we like being in positive mode.

If you follow that message and give us positivity, maybe I and the many thousands of others who have deserted you will come back.

Respectfully yours.

Dougie Brimson

 

Thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it and whatever I’m doing, it’s working!

Thanks folks.

Finally… my next movie project goes public! Soldier, Soldier.

I am delighted and not a little relieved to finally release brief details of my next movie project.

Provisionally entitled ‘Solider, Soldier’ it centres on the rehabilitation of a British Muslim soldier who loses both legs as well as his best mate in an IED incident in Afghanistan and touches on all kinds of issues ranging from family loyalties to the problems faced by Muslims fighting in the British Army.

The script has been written by myself with additional writing by my old friend Clare Perry and is being produced by Rakha Singh who made ‘The Killing of John Lennon’. The awesome David Blair who made the brilliant ‘Accused’ series for the BBC will direct.

We are currently looking at casting but former Eastenders star Ace Bhatti will play the lead role and since the plan is to film in Bradford, we have been lucky enough to secure an agreement from local MP George Galloway to play a cameo role.

Financing is well under way and I will of course release more details as and when I can.

Exciting times!

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

BTW, continued thanks to all of you who are keeping The Crew at number 1 in both the Amazon and iTunes football charts. It’s held the top slot for pretty much 8 solid months now and that’s entirely thanks to you lot.

Work on the third book in the trilogy will commence as soon as Wings of a Sparrow is complete and that won’t be long now. Honest guv.

 

Why I’m the Forrest Gump of Lad-Lit (and a moan about EURO 2012)

truth, blow jobs, anal sex, football , euro 2012, racism, hooligans, writing
The truth, the whole truth……

As a writer who doesn’t exactly shy away from contact with the outside world, I receive a steady stream of emails from people asking me questions. These range from requests for advice on writing to comments about books and all points in between.

All are welcome, all appreciated and all replied to. After all, if someone has taken the trouble to mail me, it’s usually because they have taken the time to read something I’ve written so the very least I can do is respond. Time is, after all, the most valuable commodity any of us have.

However, there is one particular question thrown at me, and on a fairly regular basis, which always provides a warm glow of satisfaction; ‘what’s the next book about?’

The great joy of this question is that it provides both affirmation and confirmation in equal measures. For it provides proof that not only is my work liked, it’s anticipated! Could any author ask for more than that?

What makes it even more special is that my back list isn’t just varied, it could even be described as manic. I certainly can’t think of many authors who’ve published books about subjects as diverse as racism in football and farting although I’m sure there is much a decent psychiatrist could make of that!!

Yet as many people have told me, the eclectic nature of my work is part of the attraction. I am, as one reader put it, the Forrest Gump of lad-lit. I think that was meant as a compliment, it’s certainly how I took it anyway!

This ‘box of chocolates’ reference inevitably leads me onto another oft asked question, how do I pick the subjects for my books? The answer to that is simple, or at least it was.

Like most authors, I have a list of books I intend to write at some point. Some are based on personal experience, a few on a passion for something and others which stem from a simple nugget of an idea I have locked away in what passes for my memory. This list has always been fairly flexible and it’s fair to say that it contains books which will never, ever get written for no other reason than I simply don’t have the required skill to pull them off. And before anyone asks, yes, my autobiography is on there and no, it won’t ever get written. There are lots of reasons for this but ‘no one would ever believe half of it’ and ‘guilty your honour’ are two.

But in the past the underlying reason for the subject matter of a particular book was always purely and simply what I could persuade my publishers to print. A process which all too often was incredibly time consuming and frustrating involving arm twisting, deviousness and even grovelling. Indeed, it is a fact that Billy’s Log, which remains one of my personal favourite books (and is also one of my biggest sellers!) was only published at all because I insisted on having it tacked onto the contract for Barmy Army. But that process took two long years!

However, since the move into eBooks and the speed with which that allows me to both write and publish, things have changed immeasurably. For with the decision on what to write and when being mine and mine alone, not only am I in total control but I can be much more reactive to what my readers are telling me. The astonishing success of both The Crew and Top Dog since they went online (and however you look at it, almost 8 months at number one on both Amazon and iTunes is an astonishing feat) is a case in point. For with Wings of a Sparrow almost complete, I had already taken the decision on what to write next but such has been the volume of requests for a third book in that series, that has now become my next project.

That said, only yesterday I had a ‘bolt-of-lightning’ moment which got me so excited that I had to pull over and send emails about it from a lay-by on the A1 so it might be that things change again!

But that’s the joy of epublishing over traditional publishing. It allows me that flexibility which as a writer, is incredibly liberating.

And as long as my readers are happy to indulge me, I’m only too happy to continue along my meandering path.

God bless ‘em all!!!

*

One final thing I have to say. Just prior to EURO 2012, the BBC aired a documentary which made all kinds of accusations relating to the potentialfor racism and violence in the Ukraine and Poland and featured amongst other things, former England international Sol Campbell claiming that he thought some black and Asian fans might come home in coffins.

As I write this, it is the morning of the England vs Italy quarter final and without wishing to tempt fate, there has not been a mass outbreak of mass racism at a single game nor has there been a single England fan arrested.

We are all used to this type of media fed hysteria ahead of major tournaments but that does not make it right and it most certainly does not make it acceptable. Surely the time has come for the FA to make a stand against this ridiculous, insensitive and above all insulting style of sensationalist reporting and let it be known that it won’t put up with it any more.

But above all, Sol Campbell has done a huge disservice to his country and the many black and Asian England fans who stayed away from the tournament because of his ridiculous assertions. He was also incredibly insulting to the tournament hosts.

Thankfully, the England fans have already let it be known what they think of him with the brilliant ‘coffin parade’ in Donestsk but if he had anything about him, he’d have the balls to come out and admit he was wrong.

I won’t however, be holding my breath.

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

Why I love my readers (and why their reviews are so important!)

I love my readers.
I love my readers! Come on, give us a cuddle!

Over the last couple of years you might have noticed that the world of the ebook has changed publishing out of all recognition. This is particularly true for mid-list authors such as myself.

No longer under the control of editors or publishers we are now free to go it alone to write what we like and publish it when we like. Trust me, for all kinds of reasons that freedom is liberating!

For the reader, it has been equally revolutionary. Who would have thought five years ago that not only would there be a genuine alternative to good old paper but that there would be books available to download for free at the touch of a button!

But the rise of the ebook has added a new and very important element to the reading process and it is one which not everyone seems to have grasped. It is the power to review. Be it on amazon, iTunes, Goodreads or any of the numerous reader websites, if you enjoy or even dislike a book you are now able to tell the world.

That my friends, is power, real power. And I will tell you why.

As a professional writer of ebooks, whenever I release something new onto the market the promotion of that book falls not to the publisher as it used to, but to me as the author. As a consequence the normal routine is to bombard media outlets, social media, related websites and blogs in the hope that someone will help by providing some publicity.

This, as you can imagine, is an extremely important part of the publishing process because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good a book might be if no one knows about it no one will buy it! But this work can consume an extraordinary amount of time and whilst it can be fabulous fun, it can also prove to be both frustrating and soul destroying.

However, after a certain amount of time you have to get back to the actual process of writing which means that you have to let your latest stand on its merits and fend for itself. It’s at this point that all authors hope that their readers will kick in and take up the task of spreading the word on their behalf. Fundamental to that is the review.

From the readers perspective a review can have many functions but for the majority of authors reviews are promotional tools and in that sense they are almost unrivalled which is why we all ask, plead and even beg readers to post them. It isn’t that we want you to boost our self-esteem (nice though that is!) it’s because the simple truth of the matter is that nothing sells books like word of mouth and these days, that primarily means what readers have to say on the online outlets.

Of course there are people who would never review a book for all kinds of reasons. The usual three being ‘I wouldn’t know what to write’,’ I’d be embarrassed’ or ‘I can’t be arsed.’ But by thinking in this way they are actually missing out on what to me is one of the most exciting elements of the ebook revolution and that’s the potential for the reader to become directly involved in the publishing process.

Because when you download a book be it free or paid, you earn the right to have an opinion. And since your opinion is as good as anyone else’s, rather than keep it to yourself or simply share it with your immediate family why not share it with the global community? You don’t have to say much, just a sentence or two, but anything is better than nothing. Believe me, it can be a great deal of fun!

Equally and just as importantly, by posting a review on one of the online stores such as Amazon and iTunes –and this is the crux of the matter- you instantly become a part of the promotion for that book.

I won’t try and explain the mysteries of the various ranking systems and why every single review counts but think about it in its most basic sense; your glowing review could be the one which introduces someone to the delights of Billy’s Log or The Crew! Surely that has to be worth a few minutes of your time!

And speaking as an author, reviews have other benefits. One of which is that they help me to decide what to write next. For example, I had no idea that there was so much interest in sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log but now, thanks to both the sales figures and the fabulous reviews posted by readers, I do. Which is why you will hopefully soon see both, possibly within the next 12 months.

For me that last sentence encapsulates why I place so much importance on my readers opinions. Because by posting a review and helping to keep a title or titles selling, they/you allow me to concentrate on the actual process of writing and turning out fresh material.

At the end of the day, I hope that’s what people actually want me to be doing as opposed to trying to climb up some journalist rear end in the hope

Me at work
What I would much rather be doing!

that they might say something nice about my latest. It’s certainly what I’d much rather be doing.

So please, if you have ever read a book and like it, take the time to leave a review somewhere or even mention it on Facebook or Twitter. As I have said a million times each and every one of them genuinely helps and as someone pointed out to me today, a review is a fabulous way of thanking the author for his or her efforts.

One final point on the subject of reviews and just to confirm the importance of what I’ve said above, could I say a huge thanks to all the people who have been posting such kind things on Amazon and iTunes lately. It’s because of you guys that The Crew, Top Dog and Billy’s Log in particular are selling so well and sitting at the top of their respective charts. I am both humbled and eternally grateful for your fantastic support.

sexy lads romance love
Billy's Log - autobiography?

Two quick things I would like to add, I’m aiming to have a new book online by the end of May or early June  (details here) and I have just agreed to take part in what I hope is going to be a fabulous new project aimed directly at lads everywhere.

Watch this space or keep an eye on my website for more details.

Why this Thatcher fan will never vote Tory again.

Thatcher, greatest leader ever! And sexy too!
Come back Maggie. We need you!

It’s not often I write about politics but today, I have to make an exception.

Quite why this compulsion has hit at this particular time is unclear as the decision I’ve made and the reasons for it were made months ago but hey, my subconscious has decided that today is the day and so here we go.

I have never made any secret of the fact I have always voted Tory and am a huge fan of Lady Thatcher. My father led me along this road from an early age but it was reinforced when I joined the RAF (the military are traditionally right-wing) and set in stone when I headed south as part of the South Atlantic Task Force in 1982.

If anything, my anti-left resolve was hardened when Blair and his loathsome cronies came to power and set about their pre-planned destruction of the social (and as we later learned, economic) fabric of our country. A crime which is far more serious than the ongoing obsession with a so-called illegal war in Iraq yet which will similarly and tragically never result in any kind of justice being imposed upon those responsible.

Have no doubt, I was thrilled when Brown was ejected from number 10 and chuffed to bits that my vote contributed to his demise. I had high hopes for Cameron and even though he was forced to bring the Lib-Dems in, I was convinced that anything would be better than what we had been enduring. Yet as the weeks unfolded and the true extent of the damage Labour had inflicted on the country began to be exposed, I began to become concerned. And the more I heard, the more my unease grew.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually support many of the things the coalition are doing and whole heartedly back the cuts the government are making because at the end of the day, that’s my money being wasted by the NHS, the Civil Service and even the MOD (don’t get me started on that!). I also applaud the stance being taken over law and order and the growing calls to repeal elements of the human rights act. However, I certainly don’t support some of the cuts made to defence especially the destruction of the Harrier fleet which will surely rank as one of the most crazed military decisions of all time.

But there have been two particular issues which have enraged me since Dave came to power and combined, they have ensured that I will never vote Tory again.

The first is the issue of Europe. I’m English first, British second and European never. Whilst I understand the concept of a European state and accept that there are certain elements of it which are of huge benefit to the nation, there are other aspects which disgust me, others which terrify me. To me, it’s clear that the EU is a club which needs us far more than we need it and that alone is reason enough to leave. So where is my referendum? The one Dave repeatedly promised.

As each day passes, the clamour from the nation calls for it and whilst we are finally seeing noises that it might actually happen at some point, the stumbling block remains the construction of the actual question. But it shouldn’t, it should be a simple in or out question. If the people say we stay in, then fine. But if they say we want out, then it’s a total out.

Either way, it will be a democratic decision and those who voted contrary to the outcome will have to deal with it just as the country will have to deal with the consequences whatever they might be. But the fact remains, we want our say and we should be given it. The fact that we haven’t is a disgrace.

The second issue is the one which not only leaves me baffled, but furious. Indeed, even as I’m sitting here I can start to feel my blood boiling.

Britain is a wealthy country, of that there is little doubt. Yet at the moment we have, thanks to Blair and co’s mismanagement of our finances, a huge debt. As a consequence, the government have been forced to make massive cuts to public spending the majority of which, as I’ve already said, I support.

However, given the fact that we are in such a mess, why the bloody hell are we spending £8.1 billion a year on overseas aid (and that will increase to £11.4 billion in 2014. That’s a 34 per cent rise!)?

Cameron argues that it is essential to spend this money to maintain our status on the world stage and more importantly, that we have a moral duty to help those living what must be awful lives. But whilst I think the former is bollocks and do have some sympathy with the latter, surely as an elected government you also have an even greater moral duty to ensure that you don’t have kids in your own country who live in abject poverty or elderly men and women who, having spent the bulk of their lives paying into the system, are being forced to choose between eating and heating because their pensions are so low.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it made any sense. Call me old fashioned, but does a nation which spends £20 billion a year on defence and £1.25 billion

Tory party giving away our money. Not sexy politics David!
Overseas aid.... the sad reality?

space programme really need £280 million from the British taxpayer? Would it not be better all round if someone were to give them a quick call and tell them to get their priorities right?

And did it not strike anyone at the Department for International Development as odd that many senior officials in Sierra Leone went on a huge spending spree shortly after they handed them a cheque for £1.2 million to aid ‘peacekeeping’ efforts?

I know I’m being flippant but sadly, those are two examples from a very long list of bizarre decisions and whilst the sums involved might not make much difference to the old age pension or child benefit, they would make a huge difference to organisations such as Childline, Cancer Research, Macmillan, the RNLI and even the RSPCA who as it stands, are essential charities almost wholly dependent on public donation. And I for one, would far rather my taxes went in that direction rather than risk them ending up in some African despots Swiss bank account or to countries who wish us nothing but harm in return.

Quite why Cameron and company cannot see that escapes me and that, in essence, is why I will never vote Tory again. Not because they are crap politicians or even dodgy characters, but because after years of Labour destruction and miss-management, they have failed to adhere to the fundamental rule of political life. That as a politician you are elected by the people to serve the people.

To do that, you have to listen to and act upon the will of the majority and the sad fact is that at the moment, at least when it comes to these two issues, they’re certainly not listening to me and plenty like me.

So why on earth should they get my support.