Category Archives: writing

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

Writers, why your ideas are currency.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceIf you talk to any writer, they will tell you that their heads are, generally speaking, pretty fucked up. Not in the sense that they/we have some kind of mental issue (well, not all of us), but in the sense that our brains are constantly filtering random thoughts and ideas. Be they for books, characters or even simple scenes.

This is especially true of those writers who tackle contemporary issues because if we have any intention of injecting reality into our work it is vital to actually get out there and experience a bit of it. In my case, as someone who tends to feature football in most of my work, watching games really is research (which is why my local and most fabulous Watford FC supporting tax officer always tells me to deduct it against my tax!). It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Sometimes of course, an idea will fly in and fly out, other times it’ll hang about for a bit and then be forgotten whilst a few will eventually find their way into a project. But there are others which, by virtue of the fact that they are just too good to ignore, simply wedge themselves into my consciousness like some kind of mental post-it note. And if an idea can survive my Alzheimer like memory, it generally means it is worth taking notice of.

I have a few of those hanging around and hopefully, most will see the light of day at some point in the near future. Indeed one in particular already has me buzzing even though I have two books to write before I can even think about tackling it. And much as I’d like to tell you what it is, I can’t. Or rather I won’t.

Because you see in my warped world, ideas are currency. They are after all, the very basis of my creative output and so I need to not only nurture, but protect them!

I mention this now because my new book, a comedy entitled Wings of a Sparrow, is the result of such a process because it stems from an idea I first had over six years ago. I actually pitched it to my publishers at the time and even though they turned it down, I knew it was a great idea which is why I kept tinkering with it. Now, thanks to the joys of self-publishing, it will very shortly see the light of day. Hopefully as soon as the first week in December.

Full details of what will be my fifteenth book (how did that happen??) can be found on its dedicated website but I have to say that I am genuinely excited about this one, more so in fact than I have been about a project for a long time. It just feels…. well, right, although ultimately of course, that will be for you lot to decide!

And now, having finished Wings, I am already onto the next one which is, as promised, the sequel to Top Dog, the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

The plot-line I’ve developed is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with and as I’ve been fleshing this out, I’ve been buzzing with ideas including some which will involve characters from the previous books. Indeed, I am almost certain that I’ll be writing this in a way which means it will be quite difficult to read it without having read the previous two. To me, and to others I’ve discussed it with, given the nature of the central character and the world he inhabits, that makes perfect sense but if you have any thoughts, please let me know.

Two things I am certain of are the title and the fact that it will be released as an eBook initially, all being well around late spring.

But in the meantime, I have the release of Wings of a Sparrow to deal with and that should hit the online stores in the first week of December. Test-reads have been universally positive and hopefully, given the subject matter (and the fact that there is no mention of hooliganism!) it should attract some decent press.

As ever… watch this space!!!

violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, bum,
The Crew. Still #1 after 15 whole months!

I know I seem to say this every month but thanks to everyone who continues to keep The Crew at number one on the free soccer book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes.

That’s into 15 straight months now which is some kind of achievement and something I am incredibly proud of. Top Dog also continues to sell really well (it’s currently at #2) so here’s hoping the new book does just as well.

Happy days indeed!

Offended on Twitter? Maybe the problem is you.

twitter, writing, social media, indiefilm, screenwritingTwitter, as anyone who uses it will know, is a funny old place.

From genuinely household names to people who are little more than legends in their own minds, it plays host to every kind of character from every corner of this planet we call earth.  And I love it.

It’s fair to say that I’ve met some brilliant people via the little blue bird and I’ve certainly sold lots of books. I’ve also obtained a reasonable amount of work and even achieved the odd thing of which I feel quite proud. But more than that, it’s a huge source of entertainment. 

From football to films or military to moron, there isn’t a subject or issue imaginable which isn’t being talked about at the exact moment you log in and want to talk about it. And in an age which is being increasingly dominated by Brexit and Trump, it has become the perfect place to poke and prod the opposition both for sport and for personal gratification. I mean,  what’s not to like about that?

There is of course, a flip side. There are some seriously deluded people out there and if you let it, Twitter can eat up time like nothing else on earth. Not so good when you’re a writer on a deadline, not so bad when you’re bored and there’s nothing on TV.

It’s also troll heaven but as long as you know how to deal with them and understand that most are too stupid to realise when they’re being mocked, they can actually be great fun. They certainly make me laugh.

But at the end of the day, Twitter is whatever you want it to be. Toy or tool, whatever works for you.

Just take it seriously at your peril.

@dougiebrimson

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

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

The two keys to keeping your inner writer motivated.

writer,writing,motivation,author,screenwriterAs a professional writer, I’m often asked what I find most difficult about my job. Aside from the obvious answer of ‘getting paid’ my usual response isn’t finding an idea, nor is it getting motivated, it’s remaining motivated. Indeed, when a project will inevitably take many months to put together, it takes a special kind of commitment (or madness) to keep the enthusiasm and motivation going long enough to be able to sit down every day and drive it along to completion.

However, it is important to remember that motivation isn’t within us, it’s something we have to provide for ourselves. And having been at it for over twenty year now, I have learned that key to doing that are two things: routine and reward.

WRITING ROUTINE
There is no way to write, only ways. Therefore it is vital that you find what works for you and stick with it.

For some, that will mean an office, a quiet corner or even the sofa whilst for others, it will mean Starbucks or even the local beach. Some like to write in silence, others like noise, some in the morning, some late at night. Whatever it is, once you have established a routine, stepping into it will help your creative mindset and you’ll be away.

WRITING REWARD
 A simple love of writing or a desire to tell a specific story may well be all the reward you need but for others, like me, there have to be two specific and personal incentives. The first when you hit your daily word count can be something as simple as a glass of wine or a Mars bar and the second, when you hand over the finished work, can be something major such as a holiday or even a new motorbike.

Whatever they are, keep them fixed firmly in your mind (maybe even write them as your screensaver) and make sure that when you’ve earned them, you take them and you savour them.

Fairly soon, these, like your routine, will become part and parcel of your writing life and with any luck, the process of writing won’t ever be a chore, it’ll become relatively easy. Which is pretty much what’s happened to me although to be fair, I have been doing it a long time.

So I know what works for me, the question is, what works for you?

@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

 

hooligan,hooliganism,writing,writer,author,screenwriting,greenstreet,sex,

Why the remainers must stop whining and embrace Brexit.

brexit,leaveEU,government,europeRemainers really are a funny bunch.

Not content with refusing to accept Brexit, they seem determined to convince those of us who voted to leave the EU that we are somehow inferior to them.

We were lied to (read stupid), we didn’t know what we were voting for (read stupid), we are racist (read stupid), we are guilty of selling future generations down the river (read stupid) or best of all, if we could vote again, we would vote to remain (read stupid).

Condescension is of course, a standard tactic of the modern day left and despite the fact that it has failed them spectacularly for over ten years, there seems little indication that things will ever change. Indeed, when condescension fails, the default is now hatred and if you doubt that, post something pro-Tory, pro-UKIP or pro-Trump on Twitter and see how long it is before you come under attack.

The reason for this is of course, that a change of tactic would involve admitting that a different opinion has a degree of validity and since there’s more chance of Diane Abbott becoming PM than of that ever happening, it’s far easier (safer) to continue doggedly along the same badly worn path and suppress (shout down) those who don’t agree with the party line.

However, this lack of respect for differing opinions is not only staggeringly offensive, it also has consequences and those consequences are potentially dangerous for all of us. The left might call for free and open debates on a regular basis but they know full well it will never happen. After all, how can you ever hope to have a discussion on anything when one side is hampered by the petulance and arrogance of the other? The truth is that you can’t, yet thanks to the rantings of the left in recent years, that is where both politics and our supposedly free society have ended up. That’s incredibly sad because such arrogance can only result in one thing and that’s division. And what does division cause? Anger, suffering, hatred and ultimately, failure. 

I’m not saying that everyone on the right is an angel, far from it, nor am I saying that there is no place for an opposition because obviously, be they left or right they have a vital part to play in the democratic process. But with intransigence seemingly part of the average lefties DNA, on the issue of Brexit there has to be a point where those who are opposed to it take the individual decision to set aside their bitterness and start helping to make the best of what the nations voters have delivered.  

Patriotism might be a dirty word to many on the left but it is a fact that the only way to secure our future prosperity is by backing ourselves and our country to the hilt. Failure to do so can only spell disaster.

In other news:

Three Greens is on it’s way to pre-production and the team is hoping to be able to make a huge announcement about our principal cast within the week.

In addition, I’ve been working on an entirely new project which I hope to be able to announce after the Berlin Film Festival which is currently in full swing. 

Positive vibes please people! The more the better!

@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, brexit, trump

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Graham Taylor. Watford legend.

watford,graham taylor,epl,premier league
Such sad news and there’s nothing I can write here that will make it any easier to bear.

Graham Taylor wasn’t just a former Watford manager, he was the man who took our little club and built it into the entity it is today. Not once, but twice.

Indeed, amongst the thousands of memories he gave me over the decades following Watford, one of the best was the play-off victory over Bolton which took us into the Premiership for the first time.  Not just for my sake, but for his. As a slap in the face for all those who had criticised him for his time with England, it couldn’t have been any better than that. Not that you would have heard him say that because he was far too much of a gentleman.

RIP Mr Watford. You’ll be sadly missed for sure, but you’ll never be forgotten.

Come on you Horns.

 

The joy of Brexit… and Trump… and ‘Yes’.

brexit, trump, EUI am, by nature, something of a miserable sod. Indeed, as anyone who knows me will know, moaning isn’t just second nature to me, it is my nature. Football, work, politics, telly… the subject is irrelevant. If it irks me, I’ll moan about it. Often for days.

There will however, eventually come a point where I’ll say ‘f**k it’ and move on. For even I will realise that the only thing moaning will ever change is my mood.

Sadly, this is not a lesson the ‘remainers’ of this little island of ours seem capable of learning. For despite it being months since they woke up to the gut wrenching feeling of being proved wrong, they are still moaning about the result of the EU Referendum. And they’re not alone. The tide of bitterness which followed the Scottish referendum shows no sign of abating and now they’ve been joined by the anti-Trump brigade. A group who are giving new meaning to the term ‘bad loser’.

Now whilst their continued angst is all highly amusing to those of us who voted to leave the EU, to remain as part of the Union or to put Trump into the White House one does have to wonder how long they are going to continue whining before they actually accept the result. Because at some point, like it or not, they are going to have to and that’s going to be a huge problem for them. Mostly, I suspect, because the vast majority aren’t football fans.

You see those of us who follow the great game are all too familiar with the gut-wrenching feeling of defeat and so are quickly able to put it behind us before moving on. Those who don’t, have no idea what humble pie tastes like and so would rather choke on it than swallow it.

OK, I know I’m being flippant, but be it in the UK or the US, there has to be some reason why people refuse to accept the outcome of a democratic process which millions have died to defend. And that reason has to be more credible than the idea that those individuals are so arrogant that they are incapable of accepting that they are in the minority.

Doesn’t there?

.

@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 both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information can be found at dougiebrimson.com

 

Why we write movies. (The Curse of Bovver).

bovver,greenstreet,hooligans,indiefilmAs anyone who knows me will know, I rarely describe myself as either a screenwriter or an author. Not out of any kind of false modesty, but because I’ve never felt that I’ve earned that right.

Yes, I know I’ve written a few books and a number of movies but I’ve always considered the ’S’ and ‘A’ words to be far too grandiose for the likes of someone like me who basically got lucky. And let’s face it, given the lack of acknowledgment or recognition from either industry over the years, I have a feeling I’m not alone in that thinking although that’s another debate.

However, the other day I had an experience which has actually made me rethink things and consider the fact that I haven’t actually done that bad. It happened, ironically, in a pub where I was having a late afternoon drink with the actor Leo Gregory who starred in both Green Street and Top Dog.

As we were chatting, the door burst open and in came a group of Man City fans on their way to their FA Cup tie at West Ham. Within seconds, they’d recognised Leo and as the cries of ‘fuck me, it’s Bovver’ went up they came across and surrounded us. As gracious as ever, Leo took the time to shake hands and pose for selfies and fairly soon, the pub settled back into normality.

Now this is a fairly routine occurrence when you’re with Leo and god only knows what it must be like to have the shadow of Bovver follow you around all the time as it surely must. But as I reflected on it later, it struck me that whilst that’s my fault for creating that role, I have every right to feel pretty pleased with myself.

After all, Green Street was released in 2005 and whilst huge credit must go to Leo for what he did with him, to have created a character that people still recognise in the street 12 years later is an achievement to be proud of.

And d’you know what, I bloody am.

.

Talking of movies, thanks for all the messages about my next project, Three Greens. As is the way with these things, there’s not much I can say at the moment but I’ll release more details as soon as I can.

@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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When Harry met Ally.

harry the hornet, sam allardyce, watford, crystal palace, premier leagueI’m not generally a fan of mascots, at least not British ones. Not because I find them pointless, but because unlike those in the US where it is pretty much an art form, our versions tend to be either scruffy or embarrassing (often both).

But more importantly, it’s usually obvious that the people who inhabit these costumes are not actually performers. Indeed, having seen mascots at all kinds of events over the years, I often get the impression that the only reason they have donned the outfit at all is because they drew the short straw that day.

There is however, one exception and he happens to be the mascot at my club. His name is Harry the Hornet, and entertainer doesn’t do him justice. I would even go so far as to say that there have been plenty of times over the last few season when he’s been the most entertaining thing on show at Vicarage Road.

Central to this is the fact that the guy who inhabits that strange yellow outfit has a fantastic sense of humour and is not afraid to use it. Be it with home fans, visiting fans, officials or even players. Which brings us nicely to the events of last Saturday and the mocking of Wilfred Zaha for diving. An offence for which he was rightly booked.

To his credit, Wilf eventually saw the funny side and the two exchanged a series of tweets (yes, Harry has his own Twitter account) but sadly, the same cannot be said of the former England and now Crystal Palace manager, Sam Allardyce who seemingly took grave exception to one of his players being ‘abused’ in this manner. He even suggested that the FA intervene which, given the subsequent social media piss take, has to go down as one of the great managerial PR own goals of our time. Given what happened with England, you’d have thought that he’d have been wary of anything even closely resembling a sting.

But whilst there is a huge amount of humour to be found in all this, there is also a very serious point. For the truth is that Harry was only mirroring the feeling of the home support and that was a frustration at the antics of certain players in the Palace team. Diving is cheating and a number of Palace players were guilty of that and more on Saturday.

As a former England manager who is now back at the helm of a Premier League side, maybe Mr. Allardyce should be focussed not on the antics of a man wearing a large yellow head, but on those of his team.  

This will be my last blog of 2016 so I would like to say a huge thank you to all of those who have continued to support me in any way shape or form.

independent film, screenwriting, screenwriter, script, writing, indie, RAFWhilst I haven’t been exactly prolific on the book front these last 12 months, a lot has been happening behind the scenes, primarily on the movie front and that will hopefully start to deliver in 2017. Indeed, as some of you may have seen, my next movie, Three Greens, has recently been announced.

So can I take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and productive New Year.

Keep the faith!

@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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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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