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Tales from my father. Volume One

Derek Brimstone, father, folk singer, comedianMy father died recently, he was 84.

I won’t go into the medical details other than to say that whilst it wasn’t exactly unexpected, his ultimate demise was quite sudden but it was also very peaceful. I know that, because I was with him when he died.

He was a great man my dad, a legend in fact. I know many people says that about their fathers but in his case, it was true. Indeed, he is cited by many of his peers, including Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott, as being one of the most influential figures on the British folk scene that exploded in the 60’s and 70’s.

However, it wasn’t simply his undoubted abilities as a musician that earned him that accolade, it was as much his skills as a story teller. Oh yes, the old boy could certainly tell a tale. Indeed, a quick search of Facebook will reveal numerous threads containing ‘my favourite Derek Brimstone’ joke.

I mention this now because one of the questions frequently thrown at me is how, and indeed why, I made the transition from humble serviceman to best-selling author and screenwriter.

Usually, my answer is something along the lines of ‘it was the only way I could think of to earn a living sitting at home watching football’ but the truth is, it was because of my father. For he was the one who taught me not only how to to weave a tale, but to construct humour. Be it as a simple one-liner or in a full length novel such as Billy’s Log.

Sadly, I never really acknowledged that until recently and I certainly never thanked him for it. But the truth is that every book and film I’ve ever written has the DNA of my dad running through it and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

RIP old man. Thanks for everything but especially the laughs. On which note…  Derek Brimstone at his finest. 

@dougiebrimson

Dad’s funeral will be on the 24th March. If you would like details, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

derek brimstone, folk singer, banjo, guitar, musician, comedian, cockney, cambridge folk festival

I wish to announce my retirement.

author, screenwriting, writing, veteran, publishing, football A couple of weeks ago, whist sitting at my computer as I do most days, I had one of those gut-wrenching writing related moments when I begrudgingly accepted that what I was working on wasn’t working.

These, as you can imagine, are painful times for a writer because not only do they signify wasted creative effort, but wasted time. Worse than that, they inevitably kick off feelings of frustration and anger and can even signal the start of what some people refer to as writers block (and my feelings on that are well documented).

Anyway, when such a moments occur in Brimson Towers, any one of a number of things will happen:

1. I will make tea before simply dumping everything I’ve written and starting again.

2. I will make tea and settle into a few hours of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

3. I will make tea, curse my life and lack of talent and settle into a few days of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

4. i will switch on the internet and waste hours of time arguing with someone in the name of research and/or spend loads of money on eBay before going back and finding a way to make it work.

5. I will go out on a motorbike for a few hours and return with not only a way to make it work, but a way to make it better.

Sadly, due to the ravages of time on my knackered back, number 5 is no longer an option which left me with only four choices, or so I thought. Because as I switched on the obligatory kettle, it suddenly struck me that I wasn’t actually enjoying writing. Not just the project I was actually working on, but at all. This light-bulb moment instantly presented me with a fifth option and it was one which, as someone who lists ‘laziness’ as a personal attribute, had an obvious appeal. So much so that right then and there, I grabbed it with both hands. It was retirement.

Yes, that’s right. I didn’t tell anyone about it but early on in November I made the conscious decision to retire from writing altogether. It was bliss, and it lasted approximately two days.

But what dragged me back to my keyboard wasn’t boredom, it was a series of phone calls informing me that two scripts I’d written had taken major steps forward along the development path whilst another idea I’d thrown into the mix had begun to generate some serious excitement.

As motivational tools go, mentions of A-List actors and doubled budgets sit pretty high on the list and so I am happy to announce that my short-lived retirement is now at an end. In fact my writing life is more hectic than it has been in ages. 

Watch this space.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

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

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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Never mind FIFA, Theresa May’s the wrong ‘un when it comes to Poppygate.

remembrance sunday,poppy,football,fifa,faLike many people, I’ve been somewhat irritated today by the news that FIFA, that most honourable of institutions, has refused permission for the teams to display Poppies on their shirts during the World Cup Qualifier at Wembley on Armistice Day.

Inevitably, a sizeable chunk of the nation went ballistic at this news whilst the British press, another honourable institution, have been almost rabid in their condemnation of football’s governing body. And to be fair, I had my say as well.

However, as the day has gone on I have mellowed somewhat on the subject of Poppygate and to be fair to FIFA, I have actually been able to see their point. After all, we are brought up with the poppy and understand exactly what it represents but not everyone overseas is familiar with it as anyone who has ever spent Nov 11th in either America or Russia (for example) will know only too well. 

Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that whoever received the request from the FA simply responded as they would to the potential use of any symbol (OK, I’m being generous but let’s be honest, someone screwed up somewhere). It’s also not unreasonable to assume that inevitably, some kind of compromise will be reached and that this most special and poignant of days will be suitably marked. As of course, it must be.

The result of course, is that Poppygate will simply fade into the background and become yet another non-story of the kind which the British press are prone to create these days in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from something else.

But, there was one comment today which really got my goat and as the day has gone on, I have become more and more angry about it. It was made by Theresa May during Prime Ministers Questions today and was this:

poppygate,poppy,FIFA,football

Now I am a big fan of our PM but in this instance she is out of order. Bang out of order in fact. Because to use a phrase from the good book, ‘let those without sin cast the first stone.’

If we didn’t have veterans living on the streets, if we didn’t have veterans committing suicide because their mental health issues aren’t being addressed, if we didn’t have veterans scrabbling around for help from the NHS and if we didn’t have a Marine languishing in prison after being unjustly convicted of murder, then she would have a right to say what she did. But we do, so she doesn’t.

So here’s a message for Ms May from one veteran speaking on behalf of many veterans: If you’re going to tell someone to get their own house in order, especially when it’s made in the context of the military and veteran community, make sure that yours is squeaky clean first. Because I’ve got news for you, you have some serious tidying up to do before the UK is going to pass that particular inspection. 

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

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

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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Why I support ‘Free Marine A’.

marine, army, Afghanistan, Iraq, This morning, suited and booted, I will be joining the ranks of the masses commuting into London.

This in itself, is hardly a big deal. After all, there are millions of people who do the same thing every single day but for me, it’s a very rare occasion. Normally, I avoid the rush hour like the proverbial plague.

Today however, isn’t a normal day. It’s actually a very special day. For at 11.30, a large group of military veterans led by a sizeable contingent of former Royal Marines, will gather in Parliament Square in a silent show of support for Sergeant Al Blackman who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a Taliban insurgent. And I will be one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, Sgt Blackman served in a very different military from the one I did. His career as a member of one of the worlds elite military fighting units involved front line combat in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places. Mine, as a ground engineer in the Royal Air Force, generally involved avoiding work where possible and trying to squeeze as much money as possible from the RAF Motorsports Association.

However, we have one thing in common: we wore a British military uniform and whilst the colour of our beret’s was, and is, vastly different, it gives us a common bond. Which is why, like all the veterans in attendance tomorrow as well as the many thousands who cannot make it, I will be doing my utmost to show my disgust at the fact that a brave man languishes in prison simply because he was hung out to dry by the very people who were, and are, supposed to protect him.

So if you’re in London todayand you see anyone wearing anything which marks them out as ex-military, you know where they’re either going or have been.

I know they would appreciate your support.

If you would like to know more about the background to the case of Marine A, please read this article by the author Frederick Forsyth.  

@dougiebrimson


football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy 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.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The joy of a s**t list.

karma,revenge,writing,film,indiefilmGiven my youthful good looks (sic) it might shock you to discover that I’ve been around for a long time. Truth is, I’ve made so many trips around the block that I frequently navigate it in my sleep.

Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people but inevitably, I have also encountered some who are, shall we say, less than incredible.

That’s life of course. It would be a bizarre world indeed if we liked everyone we met just as it would be extremely odd if everyone who met us were dazzled by our individual charms. I’ve certainly met plenty of people who have come to regard me as an arsehole. Or worse.

But I can live with that. Life’s too short to work with people you don’t like and that obviously works both ways.

However, whilst normally I consign these individuals to the ‘bad experiences’ folder of my meagre brain, there will occasionally be someone who irks me to such an extent that they make it onto my s**t list. And if you make it onto that, watch out. Because at some point I will repay you in kind. 

Oh yes, I carry a grudge.

I mention it here simply because I was recently given the opportunity to dust off said list and cross two people off it. Not because I had forgiven them for their transgressions, but because the opportunity had arisen for the delivery of some payback and I’d grabbed it with both hands.

Yes, I know it’s childish and yes, at my age I should be above such things, but when I’m looking at a potential cast list and see that two of the actors on it also feature on my s**t list, there is no way on earth that either is ever going to get a sniff.

The only sad thing, as I sit here basking in a warm glow of revenge, is that I doubt either of them will ever know that karma paid them a visit on my behalf. 

But I know. And ultimately, that’s all that matters.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

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The film pitching process (and 6 reasons why it sucks).

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordA lot of people have been contacting me recently to ask if my football comedy novel, Wings of a Sparrow is ever going to make the leap from book to screen. My response is always the same, I’m working on it. However, the truth is that whilst I continue to push it as much as I can, the next step isn’t really up to me. I wish it were.

In an ideal world, I would write a script, show it to someone and they would hand me a few million pounds to get it made. Better still, they’d buy it off me and I could sit back while they did all the hard work. However, it doesn’t work like that, not for me anyway. Instead, like hundreds if not thousands of other scripts, Wings is having to go through what is called ‘the pitching process’ and since I suspect that many of you don’t understand how that works, I thought I’d put together a layman’s guide and tell you where my baby is currently sitting.

1. You write a script. – Done. Both film and TV versions have been written together with various outlines ranging from two sentences to 15 pages. Plus there’s the best-selling novel of course.

2. You send it all to your agent who identifies those production companies who might be interested and sends it out to them. – Done.

3. You wait. And wait. And wait. In the meantime, you network the shit out of it and maybe attach potential cast members or even a director. If you can add a well known name, this is a huge plus. – Doing.

4. If you’re lucky, one or two (from up to ten or even more of the companies it will have been sent to) will actually come back to you and say that whilst they like it, it’s not for them. This is normal as many production companies will only be looking for certain types of films although in many cases, some of the reasoning for the rejection is questionable (but never open for discussion). ’Football films don’t ever work’ being the most irritating response we’ve had to Wings. – Done.

5. You wait some more, and possibly follow up with those who haven’t responded. You also send it out to more potential producers and maybe a director or two. Then you wait, again. – Done/doing.

6. You give up pitching it and go onto the next project in the hope that one day, someone will possibly stumble across it and like it enough to show interest. – Pretty much done.

And unless someone actually comes in with an offer to either option or make it, which can be at any point in the process or the future, that’s the brutal and frustrating reality of how it works for most of us. It’s even harder for those writers who have never had anything produced because you have no track record to back you up. However, we all know that and as I’ve said many times, if you don’t like it, don’t do it.

Do I think that Wings would make an awesome and very funny low-budget movie? Of course! Do I think it would work on TV as either a two part comedy drama or even a sit-com? Too right!  But what I think doesn’t matter. It’s all down to what a person sitting behind a desk at a production company or studio thinks and more importantly, what they are looking for at that moment in time.

For whatever reason, Wings of a Sparrow isn’t it. Yet.

PS: If anyone in the business would like to have a read of the script, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

The business of public speaking.

public speaking,author,writer, screenwriterAs anyone who knows me well will know, I am by nature, quite shy.

Yes, it’s true. Behind this gruff exterior beats the heart of someone who abhors networking and dreads having to indulge in small talk. Especially if it means having to talk about myself or my work.

This is actually one of the reasons why I write for a living because being tied to a computer means that I spend most of my time in my own company. Although given that I’m possibly the most interesting person I know, this isn’t exactly a trial.

Having told you that, it may surprise you to know that I have never had a problem speaking in public. Indeed, although they arrive infrequently, I don’t think I’ve ever turned down an invitation to speak at an event no matter how large or small the potential audience.

However, whilst I’ve always tried to entertain, inform and motivate, it has always bugged me a little that I’ve been cheating people in the sense that I’ve never really treated public speaking seriously and certainly not professionally.

So with that in mind, last week I attended a course run by an amazing bloke called Brad Burton, the UK’s #1 motivational business speaker and to say that ‘Be A Better Speaker’ was an eye opener would be an understatement. It’s safe to say that there wasn’t a single element of my speaking performance that didn’t warrant either comment or attention. In the majority of cases, both.

Brad1I certainly ended the day a better and more confident speaker and if standing up in front of people is a part and parcel of your job or indeed, if you want to earn money from telling your story, then I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It genuinely will help you.

Oh, and if you ever need a speaker, give me a shout.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

author,writing,screenwriting,indie film,public speaking.hooliganism,gangs,veteran,RAF,military

Five reasons why writing a novel is better than writing a screenplay.

author,screenwriter,ebook,self publishing,indie filmThe other day, someone pointed out that I am one of a very few writers who have enjoyed a degree of success with both books and screenplays. Not only that, but according to them I also hold the dubious honour of covering a range of genre which very few writers anywhere can match.

Whilst I’m not sure about any of that, it is fair to say that in a writing sense I have certainly been about a bit. Mostly, it has to be said, because I get bored easily.

However, whenever the subject of my work comes up it inevitably leads to one particular question and that is ‘which one do you enjoy the most?’

Whilst both have their merits, and leaving aside the simple truth that I’ll write anything for anyone who pays me, the answer is always the same. Because if I have a blank page and am left to my own devices, I will start writing a book. All day, every day. And for five very specific reasons.

It’s easier to write – That might shock a few people but the truth is that I can have far more creative fun constructing a 75,000 word novel than I can working on a 110 pages script. And if I’m having fun, I can promise you that the words will be pouring out of me as opposed to having to be dragged out. Something which not only makes it easy for me to write but which will almost certainly make for a better read once it’s finished. 

It’s easier to produce – Working with publishers can be hard work sometimes but if all else fails, I always have the option of self-publishing. It might not see the shelves of Waterstone’s or WH Smiths but let’s face it, it will certainly see Amazon and if it sells and is earning, who cares? Certainly not me.

With a film, the whole process is a nightmare which can fall apart at any moment. That’s if it gets anywhere at all which to be frank, it often doesn’t.

Control – With a book, I have no restrictions on subject matter, genre or even length. Being able to write what I want, when I want and just as importantly, say what I want, is not only liberating, it makes the whole thing both more interesting and enjoyable for me. If you need any more proof of that, have a look at my backlist and you’ll see a book about farting. Case rested. 

With a screenplay, once I hand it over I have no control over anything. At all.

The End Result – A book is mine. All mine. Praise or criticism are therefore personal and either enjoyed or dealt with as appropriate and I’m fine with that. A film however, is only mine if someone slags off the script even though by the time the camera’s roll, my input into the development process will have ended ages ago. 

The people – For an author, publishing is a relatively solitary game and as someone who prefers his own company, that’s exactly how I like it. For a screenwriter, the writing process is part solitude, part collaboration, part chaos. This would be great if it were an industry inhabited solely by nice hard-working honest people but sadly, it isn’t. Instead, amongst the many awesome individuals I’ve worked with are far too many arseholes who, if they aren’t simple crooks, are either bullshitters or incapable of making a decision. Or both.

So there you have it. Five reasons why I’d write a book over a movie any day of the week. And with that in mind, I’m happy if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on the sequel to my novel Billy’s Log. Indeed, starting work on this has underlined everything I’ve written above and more because I’m loving it.

All being well, it’ll be finished by the time we start moaning about the cold but more as and when. I might even post a teaser or two!

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

The future’s bright, the future’s British.

brexit,leaveEU,europe,great britain,

So there it is, we won.

Thanks to 52% of the population, Britain will now be unshackling itself from the controlling mess that is the European Union.

Inevitably, the doom and gloom merchants have been bemoaning the result claiming that it is a disaster for the country and clinging on to the ‘half the country didn’t vote for this’ line but it is far from that. For as Diane Abbott so brilliantly put it (and that’s a sentence I never thought I would write) ‘what we have seen is a roar of defiance against Westminster’.

After years of being patronised, criticised and even bullied by those we elect to run the country for us, the British people have spoken and we have cried enough. And by doing so, we have sent a clear message to the politicians that we are no longer going to put up with their crap. Instead, we want them to do their jobs and actually govern on OUR behalf as opposed to their own.

As a supporter of the leave campaign from day one, and who has taken plenty of flack for it from certain circles, I would be more than justified in going on a bit of a gloat now, but I won’t. And I won’t for one simple reason; I don’t have to.

This is a great day for my country. This is Independence Day.

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

 

Brexit? It’s a no brainer.

brext, europe, britain, politics, referendumThe other day, I employed the power of Facebook to ask for a single sensible reason why we should remain as members of the EU.

Amongst the deluge of responses providing me with reasons to the contrary, I received only a single pro-Europe voice which made the claim that were we to vote to leave, the banking industry would flee our little island in droves and as a consequence, the banking industry would suffer.

Well with the utmost respect to those at the coal face of the industry, in terms of eliciting sympathy, bankers rate fairly highly on the ‘fuck off’ scale and indeed, the majority of people who responded to me would seemingly be delighted to see them getting a taste of the medicine they’ve spent years creating. (Go and see The Big Short. Honestly… go see it!)

This reaction didn’t exactly come as a surprise. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m English first, British second and European never and for decades I’ve watched helplessly as my country slipped ever deeper into the cesspool that is the EU. As a consequence, the opportunity to leave genuinely excites me, and for two particular reasons.

Firstly, I think it’s fairly obvious to anyone who lives in the real world, as opposed to an ivory tower or the wilds of Cumbria, that our housing and public services are at breaking point. And despite the liberal-left screaming that this is all due to a lack of investment by the Tory government (whilst conveniently forgetting the 15 years we endured under Blair and Co) the stark reality is that we are in this situation because our population has risen by around 10% since 2000. We might not be full, but it certainly feels and looks that way in parts of the country. It is therefore imperative that we gain proper control of our borders which is something we simply do not have at the moment and nor will we have whilst a member of this mess.

Secondly, membership of the EU costs us £55,000,000 per day. Think about that for a second. Yes, we get chunks back in subsidies but official figures still put the cost to us, the British tax payer, at between £33,000,000 and £20,000,000  per day. Do I really need to say any more on why that is utter madness?

Inevitably, having finally woken up to the fact that the majority of the population want out, the ‘stay’ campaign have begun a policy of scaremongering (‘jungles’ in Kent’… seriously?) whilst even that well known lover of all things British, the joyous Ms Merkel, has begun pleading with us to remain. Of course she has, she’s suddenly realised that fairly soon she’s going to be looking into a daily black hole where our £33,000,000 should have been as well as having to deal with a refugee crisis which could not have been handled any more appallingly if she’d tried.

Well those are her problems, not ours. And whilst I’m not daft enough to accept that it won’t be a bed of roses from day one, I fail to see how in the long term, the UK can fail to prosper away from an organisation which is absolutely nothing like the one we originally signed up for back in 1973. We might even start putting the Great back into Great Britain.

It’s a no brainer for me, Brexit all the way. The sooner the bloody better.

PS: I must reluctantly make reference to this, if only because it’s one of the sticks being used to beat the ‘Leave’ lobby. If you’re reason for voting to remain in the EU has anything to do with UKIP, I would urge you to think again. Don’t vote to stay because you don’t like Nigel Farage, vote to leave because it’s the right thing for the country, and ultimately, for you.

Speaking of Facebook, and apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy 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.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger, UKIP, Farage, Sothcott