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.
Like many chaps, I have looked on bemused as the drama (or should that be saga) of the Samantha Brick story has unfolded across the media.
Now for those who do not know, Samantha Brick is an average looking woman who wrote a piece in The Mail telling the world that she thought she was beautiful and that she received all kinds of compliments and attention from men who clearly agreed. As a consequence, other women not only felt threatened by her beauty but they were often less than friendly. If you haven’t read it, the initial Samantha Brick article can be found here and speaking as a bloke it’s worth a perusal for one particular reason. I’ll get to that later.
Whatever the truth of her claims regarding blokes walking up and paying for cabs or buying coffees etc, (and I don’t know, nor really care) what is fascinating about this story is the reaction from the sisterhood of women because to say she attracted a negative response is an understatement. In fact vitriol doesn’t come close whilst even hate could be judged ‘abuse-light’. Both in the media and on social networking sites women went for her with a ferocity the like of which I haven’t seen since my days living amongst the legendary hunting females of South Wales! The notorious Valley Commando’s.
Amongst other things she was accused of being self-centred, having a mirror made of beer goggles and being seriously deluded. It was to be fair, quite funny primarily because it did kind of prove her point! However, looking at it objectively as I am want to do, there was one simple reason for this bitch-fest and that is that she had broken the golden rule of womanhood; she had admitted that she is happy with her looks. Or to look at it another way, the female way, she’d become arrogant.
Oh yes, women spend their lives trying to feel great about themselves and read countless magazines and books packed to the gunnels with information on how to try and achieve it. Indeed, it’s the fundamental ideal which underpins the entire chick-lit genre! But for a woman to actually come out and say that she feels fabulous and that men adore her….. well, that’s not on. Especially when she’s only average looking.
And that is the fundamental reason for this jealousy –and that’s what it boils down to- because it’s not her looks but her confidence, her self-belief even. If she’s that secure in her appearance, why aren’t I? If random men pay her attention, why don’t I get it?
I, of course, made this point frequently and was shot down for my trouble. I wasn’t the only one either. When she was interviewed by Ruth and Eamonn Holmes on ITV’s This Morning, Ruthie was almost struggling to control her fury whilst poor Eamonn was clearly fearful of saying anything which might result in retribution from his angry wife later on. Fair play to Ms Brick though, she gave as good as she got in pretty much every interview she gave.
In the following days, Samantha Brick wrote more articles about her life and provided more explanation for her self-confidence. She lives in France where men are more attentive and has a loving husband who adores her. But most importantly she also has a father who told her from a very early age that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
Now other than providing me with a great deal of amusement as I’ve watched (and heard!) the wrath of women unfold and leaving aside the fact that as a career maker, Samantha Brick’s original article was as fantastic a pitch as I’ve ever seen, for me as a male this last sentence is the one which struck a chord. Because speaking as a proud dad, my two daughters are the most beautiful girls/women I’ve ever seen and every father I know thinks the same thing. And quite right too.
And the more we tell them, the more we hope that they believe it because I never wanted my girls to grow up feeling anything other than fantastic about themselves and I’m proud to say that they don’t.
Writing in her autobiography Dawn French makes great play of the fact that her father told her every day that she was beautiful and Gwyneth Paltrow says the same thing. Both took it as gospel because it came from their dads and it shaped their lives which is exactly what it should do. Yet neither of those attracted any condemnation when they put those words into the public domain because they are famous. Yet Samantha Brick isn’t or wasn’t and so she is an easy target.
Yet rather than have a pop at Samantha Brick, shouldn’t we all be giving a hearty pat on the back to her father because whilst his daughter might be lacking in the humility department, in terms of instilling confidence he did a fantastic job with her.
And sadly, there are an awful lot of dads and indeed mothers who could learn a huge lesson from him.
Could I once again say a very humble thank you to everyone who has kept my books so high up in the various online charts. The Crew and Top Dog have been at the top of the Amazon football download charts for over 6 months now which is some achievement so thanks to you guys for downloading them.
A new book is on the way and this will almost certainly be followed by the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy!
More news and details on my website which you can visit via this link!