Tag Archives: female

Everything you wanted to know about being the ex football hooligan author Dougie Brimson (but were afraid to ask)

football, soccer, books, brimson. hooligans, violence, coin thrower, matt haig, manchester city, manchester united, violence, racism, amazon, itunes, ibooks, writer, author, self-publishing

As I sit here, pondering my navel and doing pretty much anything I can to avoid actually writing, I often stumble across things which not only make me laugh, but strike a chord. One of the most recent items to achieve this double whammy was a blog I read today entitled ‘Everything you wanted to know about being an author (but were afraid to ask).

The reason this caused such mirth in Brimson Towers was because only this morning I received not one, but two emails asking me about that very thing. Now in both cases, given that Matt Haig, the author of said blog, is a far better and more accomplished writer than I will ever be and had pretty much said everything I would have said and more anyway, I simply passed on the link and wished the individual well.

However, as I mulled it over whilst standing in line at Tesco’s an hour or so ago (I’d had an urge for pie. Seriously) I decided that if I was going to accurately apply this excellent list to my own writing life and process, it would need a tweak or two.

So what follows is a bastardised version of the list in question. I have included the original in italics for reasons which will become obvious and hope that Mr Haig will accept my apology for brutalising his excellent efforts which, if you would like to read them, can be found here: 

1.     We live on toast. And cereal. And caffeine. And wine. But mainly toast.   Since I am banned from eating bread due to my lard arse frames dislike of wheat and rarely drink alcohol of any description, I only survive at all thanks to a daily plate of eggs and bacon, this being supplemented by a ready supply of Bourbons. On reflection, this could explain my aforementioned lard arsed frame.

2.     By the time our book comes out, it feels like a childhood memory. But more distant.   As an author who is intent on spewing out ebooks on a scarily regular basis until such time as readers finally suss out that I am a talentless hack (a fact I am already well aware of), I am no longer hindered by the agonising time it takes publishers take to get books from emailed file to the shelves of Waterstones. Hence, when a book is released into the marketplace, or as I prefer to call it, Amazon, it is still scarily fresh in the memory.

3.     Our daily word-count was approximately three thousand words higher before the arrival of Facebook and Twitter.   Absolutely true. Indeed, there is a whole heap of irony to be found in the fact that whilst the world wide web provides the engine for what passes as my writing career, it also does all it can to slam it into reverse on an almost minute by minute basis. Proof of which can be found by looking at my Twitter and Facebook timelines.

4.     At parties someone will always say, ‘So have you written anything I’d have heard of?’ Or, ‘How are the books going?’ Both questions end in awkward silence.   Again, absolutely true although the reality is that I rarely get invited to parties. In fact for rarely, substitute never. I suspect people assume I will turn up, get pissed and wreck the place. This being as far from the truth as you could possibly get.

5.     If we were number two in the bestseller charts, the only book we would ever be thinking about is the one selling more.   Partially true. Well OK, mostly true. Although in some instances, I do look at who is languishing below me and mutter a contented ‘take that you fucker’ to myself.

6.     We never know if the book we are writing is the right one until we have written it. And even then we are not sure.   In my case, I know it’s the right one because I ask my readers in advance and they tell me what they want. That’s the joy of being a digital author who actually talks to the people who buys his books.

7.     It is harder to make friends after you become a writer than it was before. But way easier to make enemies.   True and very true.

8.     People think you are automatically a bit weird. (Or is that just me?)   No, it’s not just you. Although in my defence, I am actually a bit weird.

9.     We need editors ‘like a fat kid needs cake’ – to quote that sensitive literary soul, 50 Cent.   This is golden rule number 5 in Doug’s golden rule book of writing. It is so, so true.

10.    The best day is when we get to see our book cover. Unless we don’ t like the book cover in which case it is the worst day.   Being a digital author, my publishers involve me in developing covers from day one and often I have the final say so this isn’t the case for me. My best day is usually when I write ‘the end’ and the worst is when I realise that it usually isn’t.

11.    ‘Royalty statement’ is Latin for disappointment.   Thanks to the web, I see my sales figures on an almost daily basis. Sometimes they are orgasmic, other times I want to kill myself.

12.    We get stomach pains every time another writer wins something. (We have continual stomach pains).   Not only have I never won anything, I’ve never even been nominated. Come to that, I’ve never even been invited to anything where any author won anything. My stomach pains are entirely due to my Bourbon intake.

13.    We all want to be Hemingway, minus the suicide part.   I’m quite happy being me.

14.    We would probably all be writing poems, if people actually bought poems.   If I could earn a living writing football chants or perhaps greeting cards for lads, I’d be happy with that. Who wouldn’t?

15.    We spend a lot of our time going on five hour train journeys to events where eight people turn up (and only three of them buy the book).     The only events I get invited to involve court or family and generally speaking, I tend to avoid both of them like the plague anyway.

16.    We chose not to choose life. We chose something else.   This is true. It’s called solitude.

17.    We are generally quite bad at dancing.   Untrue. I have the moves! Or at least I did before my back gave out.

18.    In most cases, the person we don’t like more than any other just happens to be another writer. But then, the person we admire most is one too.   This is true. Although in my case it is more to do with personality than the nature of their output.

19.    We may have our name on the front of a book but we always feel slightly outside the publishing industry, looking in. Like Keats at that metaphorical sweet-shop.   Despite my apparent success, I am firmly on the outside of the publishing industry and always have been. I fear that is unlikely to ever change.

20. If we were a neurotic wreck before we were published – and we were – we remain one afterwards. Our brain chemistry doesn’t fundamentally change.   This is absolutely true although my insecurities tend to be more about my other efforts at writing than about my books. Screenplays are terror inducing.

21. If we get good reviews, we want good sales. If we get good sales, we want good reviews.   I want both. Is that too much to ask?

22. We are happy for five whole minutes after a book is sent off. Then we realise all the mistakes we made.   True. Although thanks to the magic that is the eBook, we can if need be, continually edit!

23. We start off wanting to be published. We get published. Then we want a nice review. We get a nice review. Then we want an award. We get an award. Then we want a film deal. We get a film deal. Then we want a film to be made. And so on. For ever. (We are never happy).   Well as previously discussed, I know I’ll never earn an award although I have had a movie and plenty of film deals. Another première would be nice though as I wasn’t actually invited to the first one… (long story)

24. If someone reads our work midway through the writing process we need them to faint in awe or it goes in the bin.   People are constantly reading my work at every stage from one-line idea to final manuscript. As a consequence, if they are happy, I am happy. If they’re not, I listen to what they say and change things until they are. They are legends!

25. We are a little bit lonely.   True. Thankfully, despite coming from a large family, I have always been a bit of a loner and my favourite company is er… me. That has stood me in good stead over the years.

26. Bad reviews are always taken personally. Always.   Totally and absolutely true.

27. Writing a novel is like a relationship. During the early stages every other possibility looks incredibly attractive. But commitment pays off.   True. And since manuscripts, like screenplays, are always females, occasionally, when you get to the end, you’re glad to see the back of her.

28. We rarely write in coffee shops.   True. Instead we watch and listen and use the fact that we are writers as an excuse for loitering. Or is that just me?

29. Writing is heaven. Re-writing is hell.   Oh god yes.

30. We are rubbish at other jobs. And DIY. And most other things too.   I was an engineer in a previous life so I can do pretty much anything. The biggest problem I have is getting myself motivated to actually do it whatever it is that needs doing.

31. We say the wrong things at parties.   I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago. I don’t get invited…

32. The definition of discomfort is the moment after your mother reads your semi-autobiographical novel.   Substitute ‘mother’ with ‘daughter’ and you’re about right.

33. There is no praise more treasured than that of an author you worship.   I wouldn’t know about this. It’s never happened.

34. The best book we have ever written is the one we are about to write.   It better be!

35. The best ideas we have are the ones that arrive accidentally.   True. In fact the idea for my next book actually arrived thanks to an accident. I was in hospital with my wife who had broken her arm when the plot came to me!

36. There is no email in the world nicer to receive than the one from a reader who has been moved by your work.   Oh yes. Thankfully, I have had many of those over the years and each and every one is valued.

37. We know, in our heart of hearts, that we have the very best job in the world.   The truest of all truths. On which note, thanks to everyone who has downloaded my new book Wings of a Sparrow. Feedback and reviews have thus far been brilliant which makes all the effort and late nights worthwhile.

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritanceWork is progressing on getting more media exposure although many publications are reluctant to give reviews to eBooks and of course, as many of you know, I am banned from certain magazines and TV shows on account of my criticism of them in the past. The only thing I can ever see changing that would be if a book becoming too popular to ignore and since Wings of a Sparrow is a hooligan free zone, it provides possibly the best opportunity for that to happen so could I once again be cheeky and ask you all to keep spreading the word because the more people who know about it –and buy it- the better.

One other thing which would help is of course, the film version and I am still working hard to make that happen. The stumbling block at the moment is the financing although we are making progress with that so fingers crossed. I’m also in tentative talks about a new movie based on my previous novel, Top Dog which would be quite awesome!

And finally, on the subject of Top Dog, work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy is progressing nicely. It’s much darker and more violent than the first two books but the plot line is quite possibly the best I’ve ever come up with. I’m aiming for a publication date in the spring and will release more details closer to that point.

Laters…

Samantha Brick – A male perspective on a very public bitchfest

I love me. End of.
I love me. And quite right too!

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?

A female brick.
A female brick.

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.

The Crew. A thriller by Dougie Brimson
Still #1

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!

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.

Feminists Suck.

Feminists should man up!
A Feminist

I won’t bother to list any of those here as some have already been tackled whilst others are on my ‘to do’ list. There is however, one subject I have been putting off tackling primarily because I’ve been wary of causing offence. But now, in the spirit of my new found approach of ‘not giving a toss’ (see previous blog) I am happy to turn my opinionated howitzer in its direction. That subject is women.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love women, really, I do. As I’ve said before, I think they are more fun, more supportive, usually more intelligent and generally better all round human beings than the average bloke. I’d even go so far as to say that if I had to list my top ten favourite mates and working colleagues, at least 8 of them would be female.

Yet in spite of that, in common with the majority of my fellow males, I find women totally confusing. Well, to be brutally honest, I think they are all barking mad.

In essence, that was the central theme of my novel Billy’s Log. Written as a response to the anti-male propaganda that was Bridget Jones’ Diary, I used it to try to convey the shear frustration increasing numbers of men had come to feel whilst trying to find a long-lasting relationship in the face of the feminist man hating onslaught that took hold of the UK in the early 90’s and which manifested itself most visibly in the horrific ‘laddette’ culture.

Much of Billy’s Log was based on my own experiences as a relatively shy and very average looking male but it struck a chord with a lot of lads who had been through similar experiences (and response to the recent launch of the eBook version has shown little has changed!). Unexpectedly, it also attracted favourable comments from a number of women many of whom told me that it had finally helped them understand that being a bloke isn’t always quite as simple as they had thought. 

However, this isn’t a blog about blokes, it’s a blog about women. And the older I get, the more it becomes increasingly clearer to me that much of the confusion which forms the core of the modern day battle of the sexes stems from one simple truth. For whilst women have quite rightly sought equality both in the home and the workplace, when it comes to their relationship with the male of the species they have never actually been able to come up with a true definition of what equality actually means. Or to put it another way, they have no idea what it is they actually want.

What this means in real terms is that they are, to coin a phrase, fucked. Because without that definition the only thing they can do is to aspire toward what men have. That’s fine if you think equality means being able to get shit-faced, vomit in the street and act like a complete twat every Friday and Saturday night but not so fine if you actually want to hang on to your self-respect.

But more importantly, what this also means is that in the drive to be ‘equal’ (whatever it means) too many young women have given up the one thing that defines their sex; femininity. I mean for gods sake, this very weekend London will see women protesting under the banner of a ‘slut walk’. If it wasn’t so sad it’d be funny.

For me, this self-inflicted demise of femininity has been an own-goal of Ryan Giggs proportions. Not least because it has completely baffled entire generations of men who now take their emotional life in their hands whenever they open a door for a woman or perish the thought, pay her a compliment! (and lads, just for a laugh the next time you are out, say something complimentary to a random woman. Trust me, it will freak her out) and as a consequence prefer instead to seek solace in the company of other like-minded and equally baffled male souls. 

The tragic but inevitable result of this has been that the art of courtship and romance has all but vanished. Indeed, to me one of the great ironies of the modern age is that single women spend their lives bemoaning the lack of romantic men when they are the ones who have scared them all off! Women of course will argue that until the cows come home but from where I’m sitting it’s a cast iron fact. And let’s not forget something here…. that word, equality. It works both ways remember. So lads, when was the last time your other half did something romantic for you? I’m not talking permission for the odd fumble (which they told us for years wasn’t what they actually meant by ‘romance’!) or the odd pack of Primark pants, I’m talking flowers, chocolates, tickets to football or even an unexpected pack of Bud! I rest my case.

And that’s the bottom line here. Equality might mean equal but when it comes to relationships too many women don’t actually want real equality at all. They want the pick and mix version. The one where they get the good bits such as the romance and the emotional support but without having to give too much if anything back in return.

women, know you job. It's cooking, kids and sex.
Happy Wife

Yet what the hell is wrong with the idea of a woman who actually wants to stay at home to make it a warm and welcoming environment in which to bring up her kids? Absolutely nothing, that’s what! Let’s be honest, can you honestly say that this would not be a better country if more mums did that? Bloody right it would. Thankfully there are plenty of women who are happy to fulfil that most important of roles and so shouldn’t one of the major aims of the feminist movement be to recapture the dignity of the housewife rather than continue to tag it as some kind of subservient occupation for women who aren’t clever or ambitious enough to want to do something ‘real’ and more productive!

Domestic slave

For as most blokes know only too well, the truth is that women actually hold all the power already. Be it in relationships, work or in the home. They’ve just forgotten how to wield it.

 

It’s true. I’m in love.

Yes, I have recently fallen head over heels in love. Such an admission is, I know, not exactly blokey and I doubt many people who read these all too infrequent ramblings of mine will ever have expected to view those words here but it is nevertheless, a fact. I am besotted.

I’d actually go so far as to say I’m happy which, as anyone who knows me will understand, is not a phrase which normally sits comfortably in my shoulders but hey, a good female can have that effect sometimes.

We met, like increasing numbers of people in these hectic times, via the internet and it took just one brief glance at her picture for me to know that we were destined to be together. Call it love at first sight if you like but within 48 hours, we were a couple and I know my life will never be the same.

The object of my affection? A 1997 Mercedes Vito van who I met via the petrol heads dating site that is the motors section of eBay. And I say who rather than which for a reason. Because my van isn’t simply a collection of metal objects thrown together on some assembly line in Germany and used and abused first by the RAC and then an electrician from Redbourn, she has a soul.

I know that because she’s already responding to the love, care and attention I have been pouring upon her. I’m not just talking stuff like the obligatory scrub up here, I’m talking proper maintenance. Oil & filter changes, sorting dodgy wiring and let me tell you, nothing helps forge a bond between a man and his vehicle like changing a dodgy driveshaft.

The result? Well at the risk of this sounding like a sexual metaphor, each time I climb inside her she seems more pleased to see me than the last time. She starts easier, runs more smoothly and little things that didn’t work when we first met have suddenly and mysteriously started to function. It’s like my own version of ‘Christine’ but without the brutal massacre of people who cross me (although I am hopeful that may begin any day).

As for me, well driving, which I’ve always loved, has suddenly taken on new levels of pleasure and I feel increasingly like Toad of Toad Hall as we bowl around the country together, windows open and without a care in the world. And let me tell you, having a mobile space the size of a garage available to you is even more useful than you can imagine! Oh yes, I am a van convert.

But equally, the fact that she only cost me £500 means that….. no, I can’t say that. Of course I care about her and in no way is she disposable!

Yet deep in my heart I know that even though we are still basking in the dawn glow of our relationship, one day it will end and she will shuffle off to the great big car park in the sky (or more likely, Africa via Tilbury Docks). And whilst I will be heartbroken for a time, I’m sure that eventually a new love will come into my life almost certainly via eBay dating and possibly even a slammed VW T4 with air con and some decent alloys.

But until then……. 

 

Football YES, Women NO!

As someone known for being somewhat opinionated on the subject of football, it can come as no surprise to hear that in the wake of ‘Sky Gate’ I received numerous requests to comment on the issue of females and the great game. It might shock you to discover that all such requests were declined.

The reason has nothing to do with either Richard Keys (who I always thought was the luckiest not to mention hairiest man alive) or Andy Gray (who I’ve regarded as nothing more than a cheating bastard since the 1984 FA Cup Final) but the actual subject matter. It’s not that I have an issue with female officials who as far as I have seen, have generally done a decent job, it’s the fact that as far as I am concerned, they shouldn’t even be there in the first place.

Now I know I have blogged on this subject before, but for reasons too boring to go into, I have recently been re-reading my book ‘The Geezers Guide to Football’ which for those who do not know, is a bluffers guide along the lines of ‘How to behave like a proper bloke at football’. Contrary to what certain reviewers think, it was never written as a serious examination of the male of the species but was instead, a piss take of how stupid we can be when it comes to the great game.

Of course lots has changed in the world of football in the 13 years since the book was first published but I was amazed at how much of my book still rang true with regard to football fans. That is especially true when it comes to the subject of women and with that in mind, I have included that entire section below.

To put the extract in context, it is part of a chapter which introduces the novice football fan to the different categories of supporter he can expect to encounter on a match day. Categories which include lads, sads, old gits, young gits and anoraks.

Read on…

Up to this point I have broken down the support into a number of specific types, but there is one group that has yet to be mentioned and that is women, and there is a reason for that. I have said it before, and I will say it again: women and football do not mix. As a geezer, you will spend your day in the company of other men, and therefore women who go to football are to be totally and utterly ignored. Furthermore, if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself sitting near a woman, you should never moderate your language. In fact, it is your duty to become even more colourful as she may well move, which would be a bonus. To be perfectly honest, if I had my way women wouldn’t even be allowed inside grounds, and I certainly believe that if a ground is sold out and a male of the species is locked outside, someone should go in, grab the nearest female and throw her out so that the bloke can have her seat.

I have to say at this point that I get into a lot of trouble for my views on women at football, but I’m afraid that’s too bad. I have yet to be told by any football-loving male that my opinions are contrary to theirs and that is good enough for me. And let’s face it, being a geezer is about being a bloke and doing blokey things. That’s one of the attractions. Women who watch football will, of course, argue this point until the cows come home. They will argue that they love the game as much as me, go to every game home and away and can discuss tactics with anyone who cares to listen. Unfortunately by this time I am not listening, as I simply do not care about anything a woman has to say on the subject of my obsession. However, at some point or another during your life of geezerdom you will have to defend this stance, and so I will explain the reasoning behind it once again.

Generally speaking, men live for their football. They sleep it, worship it and, if they can, they play it. When they watch the game, they go through every emotion known, but in the background there is always an element of frustration. This frustration is borne out of the fact that if they had practised harder as a kid, they could have been out there doing it while some other sad git watched them. Women cannot do that because they can never play football and that is the difference. Men love football: women like football. It really is that simple. If ever you get into an argument with a woman about football, you do not need to sink to the level of ‘you only go to look at the players legs’, but merely ask her to explain how she can possibly talk about Beckham dropping a 40-yard pass on to the feet of Owen when she could not kick a ball with any degree of accuracy over a distance of 40 inches. That will shut her right up. Alternatively, if a woman begins talking football with you, merely look at her and say, ‘Yeah, right-oh love,’ before returning to your paper and you will be unbeatable.

In any case, there are only two reasons why most women go to watch football. For the married ones, it’s the only chance they get to spend time with their old man whereas, the single ones only go to spend a few hours surrounded by men in a testosterone-fuelled frenzy. This is clearly the case; because most single females who go to football are pig ugly.

A brief mention here about women’s football. Football is, and always will be, a man’s game. It is played by men for the enjoyment of other men and it is hard and aggressive, fast and skilful. All things that women’s football isn’t. The argument that women’s football is all about grace and skill is a joke. I mean, have you ever seen any women footballers? Having studied the subject at great length, it is clear to me that women who try to play football fall into three categories: they are raving feminists and play the game because, if men do it, then they should have the right to, or they are geezer-birds. And by that I mean women who really want to be men (if they were under 11 we would call them tomboys).  Or, they are lesbians. Women’s football is crap. If it were any good people would go and watch it, but it isn’t and they don’t. And, to be honest, I doubt they ever will.

End… Please feel free to comment!

Cooking the books (and the telly)

For some time now, I have watched bemused as the cult of the celebrity cook has taken an increasingly tight grasp hold on the consciousness of this country.

Almost every evening these days our television channels are swamped with programmes made by smug twats showing us how to cook pretentious food which no one other a wannabe smug twat would ever even attempt to try and cook. As if that isn’t bad enough, a visit to any bookstore or supermarket (sic) will see shelves positively sagging under legions of weighty tomes written by the same smug twats for the delectation of the same wannabe smug twats.

Quite how this cult ever came to pass escapes me and normally I would say a hearty fair play to all of those currently making fortunes off the back of the great British public. After all, I’ve done much the same thing albeit on a (much) smaller scale.

However, the fact that both television and publishing have become obsessed with celebrity chefs is becoming an increasing irritation to me. Not least because some of those at the ‘sharp’ end are seemingly so far up themselves that I’m amazed they can actually see daylight. Saint Jamie Oliver clearly believes that he alone (well, with a bit of help from Sainsbury’s obviously) can save the nation whilst Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall definitely lives in a different world from me. River Cottage my arse.

Antony Worrall Thompson has a face you would never tire of hitting, Gordon Ramsey, clever though he obviously is, brings new meaning to the word annoying (really Gordon, saying ‘fuck’ over and over again might have worked once, now it’s just tedious. Ask Roger Melly) and as for Heston Blumenthal (a man so ‘talented’ he doesn’t have a kitchen on his show, has a lab!) he’s quite possibly the most annoying git on TV.

Aside from being irritating, the one thing all the above have in common is that they are male and hereby lies my biggest problem. It’s not that these ‘cooking’ shows are inevitably slanted toward women (which if nothing else, reinforces the idea that the average bloke can’t or won’t cook) nor is it the fact that by virtue of the fact that these blokes can cook, they are elevated to god-like status in the eyes of the female population. It’s the fact that when you add together the amount of time cooking shows consume on our airwaves and then combine that with the hours of soap’s and home decorating shows which increasingly dominate our evenings viewing, it is clear that the nations broadcasters have forgotten that 50% of the population are actually male! And aside from Top Gear (and even that’s arguable these days) there are next to no programmes on terrestrial TV which are actually directed solely at men! Daytime TV is even worse! Some of the shite on there is bordering on anti-male! Loose Women… please, do me a favour and piss off!

It’s got to the stage now where if we men want to watch something made for ‘us’ then we have  to go to satellite TV and channels such as Discovery, Dave and the History Channel. That’s just not right.

So the next time some woman moans about the amount of sport on TV, feel free to show her the TV schedules and give her a bit of a reality check. Better still, inform her that having wasted countless hours listening and watching as some smug twat instructs her in the art of stuffing a hedgehog with stewed venison tongue coated in elderberry jelly or some other such bollocks, she might actually put some of her new found knowledge to good use by heading for the kitchen and rustling you up a meal. 

After all, you might as well get something out of it. Even if it is inedible.

Things That Baffle Me (Shopping)

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to understand what makes women tick and as I have stated on numerous occasions (and as anyone who knows me will happily testify) I have generally failed miserably. So much so in fact, that in recent years I have all but given up and instead, take whatever flak my ignorance earns with all the humble pie I can consume.

For the most part, adopting this life of bewilderment has turned out to be a good thing. Not least because the older and more childlike I become, the more the mystery seems to deepen and the more interesting women become. However, there are still aspects of female life that bemuse me to such an extent that I have to give them serious thought. One such thing is shopping. And I don’t mean a trip to Tesco’s or even Ikea, I mean a full-on full day clothes shop with the coven.

For years I have struggled to understand why women derive such pleasure from what to most blokes, myself included, is a loathsome activity. I’ve never been able to grasp the idea of spending hours wandering clothes shops or worked out what it is about shoes and handbags that females find so orgasmically fascinating. However, after a recent and extremely illuminating discussion with a female who best remain nameless in the way that ‘whistleblowers’ do, I now think I get it.

You see I suspect we males have been missing a fundamental truth. It’s not that we can’t understand womens fascination with shopping, it’s that they don’t want us to understand it! And the reasons for that are best summed up in three particular words.

The first is occasion. For females of all ages, a trip to the shopping mall with the girls is an event. One where giggling ensues, gossip undertaken and worlds put to rights. More importantly, it is one where men are unwelcome for the sole reason that they inhibit their discussions, behaviour or perish the thought, spending!

The second is escapism. Shopping allows women to step outside the humdrum world of everyday life and become whoever or whatever they want to be for a while. It is, in essence, the same as dressing up when they were a little girl and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The third word is perhaps the most controversial and perhaps most worrying because it is deception. And I’m not talking the kind of self deception women practice when they convince themselves that they really do need, will wear and can afford those Christian Louboutin shoes when they hand over their Mastercard, I’m talking about the subversive thrill derived from deceiving the old man. Be it by hiding receipts, cutting off labels or even throwing in words such as ‘bargain’ ‘cheap’ or ‘sale.’ 

Thinking about all this has been an interesting experience. Not least because it’s made me understand that shopping is for women what sporting events are for men. And now that I’ve finally woken up to the fact that the old adage ‘what happens on X stays on X’ (insert football, stock car track, stag night, rugby tour as required) which we’ve employed for decades is also being employed by the fairer sex, I am able to look things in an entirely different light. Not least because when I step out of the door and head out with the lads, I won’t ever have to feel guilty again.

A version of this blog previously appeared on www.moanaboutmen.com

Things That Annoy Me (Part Two – Women)

Since my last blog, I’ve received numerous mails supporting my thoughts on those morons who hog the middle lane on motorways as well as suggestions for future topics to write about.

Not surprisingly, the majority of those suggestions relate to the thorny subject of women which is quite handy really as that was always going to be the theme of my second rant because let’s face it, women are a bloody nightmare for the average male.

The only trouble I’ve had is where to start. Since writing my novel ‘Billy’s Log’ I’ve been in the habit of analysing pretty much everything women do which has, in the main, involved trying to work out why we males put up with them. And in most cases, I have come to the conclusion that it’s because we’ve been conditioned to believe that we are either stupid or inferior which is ironic given that they spent so long trying to gain equality with us (and that’s a whole blog right there!).

The tragedy is that it has worked. Women do things on a regular basis which when you look at them objectively, make absolutely no sense. Yet when a male dares question the logic of any of these acts, we are the ones looked at as if we are raving mad.

Cushions are a prime example. Women seem to be obsessed with them these days with six seeming to be the bare minimum required on a bed but that the hell is that all about? The only point they seem to have from a male perspective is that they make making the bed an even more tedious task, getting into bed an event and a trip to the loo in the middle of the night a positive danger!

The argument that they ‘look nice’ would stand up were it not for the fact that generally speaking, bedrooms are places where only one or two people venture which, unless the housewives of Britain are conducting guided tours around their homes when their men are at work, merely reinforces the simple truism that women and logic are two words that rarely sit comfortably together. After all, why moan that you have too much to do around the home when you are seemingly happy to make additional work for yourself for no apparent reason?

And so, as someone who is past caring, I’ve decided that rather than write one single blog about the things 50% of the population do to annoy the other 50% and possibly miss out something important in the process, I will post up occasional thoughts relating to the madness of the female species as and when they occur to me. That is after all, the logical thing to do.

So with that in mind, here’s the first: Why do we put up with women moaning about us leaving the toilet seat up when it’s equally as reasonable for us to moan about them leaving it down?

Things That Annoy Me (Part One – Middle Lane Hogs).

driving, motorways, middle lane, road hogs, £100 fine, police, watford, brimson, top dog, the crew, farting, sex, women, guys, cars, motorcyclesFor some reason, I am often accused of being miserable.

Quite why is something of a mystery to me as in spite of the fact that life continually builds brick walls in my path, I consider myself to be generally speaking, a cheerful and optimistic soul.

I suspect this misconception has much to do with the fact that I have a face which was specially constructed to look grumpy. I’ve certainly never gone for all this ‘you use more muscles to scowl than smile’ rubbish as my scowl has always come perfectly naturally and without any effort whatsoever!

That said, there are numerous things which irritate me on an almost daily basis and whilst I generally try to let them wash over me, they do occasionally drive me to distraction. Therefore, it strikes me that now that this blog is up, running and increasingly popular apparently, it might provide a useful vehicle for me to let off steam with a selection of rants. A kind of online counselling if you will.

The hard bit is deciding what to rant about. For the more I have pondered today, the more I’ve realised how irritating life can be. Well, I say life but what I actually mean is people.

Of course, it surely goes without saying that if everyone were like me, life would be a lot easier but they’re not. Instead, generally speaking, they are a pain in the arse. Primarily because of the things they do. And by that I mean things they do that piss me off.

Now it’s fair to say that smugness, ignorance, disrespect and plain rudeness are personal traits I have no time for which is why I tend to avoid trains whenever possible. For it is here that I usually find the very worst excesses of bad manners. Quite why people feel the need to regale an entire train carriage with inane details of their sad lives by talking loudly on their phones escapes me and as for ‘males’ who remain happily seated whilst leaving a female to stand…. Grrr!

However, trains are not the worst places. Roads are far worse and it is on motorways particularly that people do things that sometimes have me boiling with rage. Chief among these, and quite possibly the most irritating thing I ever encounter, are those morons who drive along in the middle lane oblivious to the chaos they cause. I hate them, all of them.

It genuinely escapes me how people can be so stupid. Do they notdriving, motorways, middle lane, road hogs, £100 fine, police, watford, brimson, top dog, the crew, farting, sex, women, guys, cars, motorcycles understand that by driving along in the middle of a three lane motorway, they are effectively blocking off an entire lane to other motorists? How many times have you come up behind slow moving traffic only to find that at the head, driving along in the centre of three lanes, is some idiot in a Nissan Micra or a people carrier? And why do they do it anyway? Are they incapable of driving in the left hand lane? What is the thought process of driving along an empty motorway and deciding to drive in the middle instead of on the left?

The sad thing is, the people with the power to deal with this (the government!) seem loathe to do anything about it preferring instead to focus their attentions on what to my mind, are less pressing matters such as the economy and world peace. Even the police seem incapable of acting in spite of the fact that these people are driving without due care and attention (and let’s face it, by causing an obstruction that’s exactly what they are doing!) and quite why those signs which seem to spend most of the time warning me of impending doom ahead are not being used to tell these dickheads to drive with a little bit of consideration for everyone else escapes me.

What really annoys me is that I am reduced to flashing them to get out of the way when in reality, what I really want to do is utilise the skills honed in my stock car racing days and simply spin them off into oblivion. Yet if I were to do that, I’d be the one hauled in front of the courts! How does that work?!?!

And of course if they do deign to get out of your way (only to move back the second you have passed) they have the temerity to look at me as if I’m either mad or some kind of irritation. Which merely makes me even more rabid.

If there is an answer, I don’t know what it is. But I tell you one thing, if someone ever invents a way of letting me inform a guilty party exactly what I think of them as I drive past, I will be the first in the queue.

Rant over… that’s better. For now anyway.

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