Tag Archives: lesbian

An interview with author Dougie Brimson (warning: it’s long!)

"not so hard bastard" sexy lover fighting books
A handsome devil.... not.

I’ve posted this as a page on my blog but thought it might be useful to post it as a standard blog as I know some people have connections set up.

So what follows is the text of an as yet unpublished interview I gave to a journalist just yesterday (Jan 9th 2012)! I’ve posted it simply because it provides reasonable answers to many of the questions I receive on a fairly regular basis.

I hope you enjoy it but if you have a question of your own, please don’t hesitate to mail me. Oh, and it’s quite long!

How and why did you become a writer?

I fell into it by accident really and it was certainly not an aspiration or anything like it! I had left the Royal Air Force after 18 years as an engineer and was ‘working’ as an extra on TV and in films. EURO 96 was on the horizon and I was on set filming an episode of Casualty for the BBC when the idea came to write a book about my experiences following football. That book eventually became ‘Everywhere We Go’ and it really was a case of right book, right time.

The rest as they say, is history.

How do you get your ideas?

In the early days, they were driven by the readership as I thought they would be. That’s why I wrote follow-on books about local derbies, England and the London clubs (all of which are now out in eBook format).

After that, I moved into fiction which largely came about as a result of an approach from the TV writer Lynda La Plante who wanted me to write something for one of her series and from that point on, I’ve tended to write about things which either interest me or which I am passionate about. Given the way I write and the fact that much of my work revolves around my own opinions, I think it’s vital to take that approach.

How long does it typically take you to write a book?

How long is a piece of string? I actually write fairly quickly but there are all kinds of things which impact on how long a book will take to complete. However, I usually aim to have a first draft of a full-length book completed in two to three months although I actually wrote the second half of my novel Top Dog in under ten days and some people say that’s amongst my best ever stuff! 

How do you write?

I’d like to tell you that I have a very clearly defined routine which involves writing at least 5000 words a day or a straight 8 hours at the keyboard but the truth is that I am horrifically ill disciplined and it doesn’t take much to distract me if I’m not very careful. Twitter for example, can keep me occupied for hours which is quite pathetic and if I know that there’s an old movie on telly it’s game over!

I actually had to sell my beloved motorbike because if the sun was shining I’d be out on the road, deadline or no deadline!

However, if I’m in the mood I’ll sit down and simply write for as long as I can and that can be anything from 2 to 20 hours in a day. All I need is tea, food and very loud soul or jazz funk music to keep me going but make no mistake, it’s bloody hard work sometimes.

So why do it?

Well it’s actually quite a decent way to earn a living! After all, I don’t even have to get dressed most days and you can’t say that about many jobs!

More seriously, writing can also provide a real buzz especially when I get in the zone and the words just come pouring out without me having to think too about them. Whilst writing ‘The Art of Fart’ for example, I was having so much fun that I actually had to keep stopping because I’d be giggling so much I’d get tears in my eyes.

It’s also fair to say that I derive a huge amount of pleasure from interacting with readers. That’s actually a huge part of it for me because having someone tell you that they like a particular book kind of makes all those hours at a desk worthwhile if only because it proves I’m doing something right!

You seem to have written books in pretty much every format there is which is quite rare amongst authors. Why did you branch out from non-fiction?

Simply because having written four books with my brother, I wanted to do my own thing. The problem was, I didn’t really know what and so I wrote a comedy book called ‘The Geezers Guide to football’ and then a couple of thrillers before going back into non-fiction. Now I’ve written another comedy book and my next project is also more humour so maybe that’s where I’ll settle. Who knows?

Where do your ideas come from?

Two places, my warped imagination and the market. Whenever I talk to writers I always tell them that if they want to write for publication it is absolutely vital that they get to know who their target readership will be, research what they are reading and then write something to suit.

That might sound mercenary but it’s exactly what a publisher will do when they’re deciding if a submission is right for them so why not make the process easier for yourself?

In my case, my target readership is lads and as a lad myself (albeit an older version!) I understand that we’re basically simple creatures who know what we like to read and more importantly, how we like to read.  I try to give them what they want, it really is as simple as that. Thankfully, it seems to be working!

However, don’t get the impression that I take my readership be they real or potential for granted because I don’t. As a professional author my readership is my livelihood and if I don’t keep them entertained, I’ll starve!

How much time do you spend on research?

That depends on the project. When I was writing non-fiction football stuff it was a 24/7 operation because football culture was and remains a constantly moving beast. Thankfully, I had loads of good contacts who kept me supplied with information and to be fair, I couldn’t have written half as much as I have done without their help.

For the fictional and comedy stuff, research hasn’t ever really been an issue because I’ve been able to draw on personal experiences. If you’ve read ‘Billy’s Log’ I’ll come clean and say that it’s very much an amalgamation of my own life and that of my mate who will remain nameless!

So are all of your fictional characters based on real life?

sexy lads romance love
Billy's Log - autobiography?

God yes! Everyone in every novel I’ve written has been based on someone real be they family, mates or even celebrities. I ever based one character on my local newsagent!

Character creation is actually a really important part of my writing process because once I have the outline nailed down, the next stage for me is to fully construct the people I will be writing about and that starts with three things; their name, their face and their voice. After all, to all intensive purposes that character is a real person with a real history and real problems of their own and so you have to know what they will look and sound like! But equally, if you’re going to put them through something you have to understand exactly how they will react and what they will be thinking at that moment and all of that has to be built up.

That’s so much easier to do if you use a real life base-line to work from not least because if you’re struggling, you can actually ring them up and chat to them or even stick something on YouTube to give you a feel of them. It’s amazing how simply hearing someone’s voice can help you work through something. It certainly does it for me!

So what other writing tricks do you use?

Music is fundamental to my writing because I can’t write without it. But it can’t be any music, it has to be the right music. As a result, before I start work on a new project I’ll spend ages picking the right album or tracks which I put together as a playlist on iTunes. That becomes the soundtrack and it’ll be on repeat throughout the writing process.

It fairly quickly becomes almost hypnotic and I soon find that I’m able to switch in and out of a project simply by pausing the music which is an awesome thing to be able to do. The downside is that once I finish the project, I can’t listen to any of those tracks again without instinctively starting to type!

Your novels The Crew and Top Dog are two fast paced and very tightly plotted thrillers. How much work did you do in advance?

Ah….. well I actually spent a huge amount of time on these two books but the funny thing about them is that in both cases I wrote the endings first. You see I knew I wanted specific twists within the last few pages and once I had those straight in my mind I had to commit them to paper. The rest of the book was about how I took the reader to that point.

Judging by the fact that The Crew is frequently ranked at #1 in the kindle download charts for football books and is still receiving good reviews over ten years since it was first published, it clearly worked!

So why the move into comedy?

My dad was an entertainer and comedian so I think comedy is in the genes! Truth to tell, I love writing humour more than anything else although in real life, I’m desperately unfunny bordering on grumpy!

You spent a long time in the Royal Air Force. Will life in uniform ever feature in your future work? Or would you ever consider writing your autobiography?

I have a couple of ideas but at the moment, that’s all they are. I have a list of 3 or 4 books ahead of those.

As for my autobiography, it’s an idea that has cropped up a few times in recent years but the honest answer is that if I did write it, I doubt anyone would actually believe it because it would be like a bizarre version of Forest Gump! As anyone who knows me is aware, I’m one of those people ‘things’ happen to!

For example, I was quite possibly the first person in the west to know about the Chernobyl disaster! But if I tell you how, I’ll possibly have to kill you!

As a professional author, do you enjoy the part of your job which doesn’t involve writing?

I love the promotional aspect of writing and do everything I can to sell my books and spread the word about what an ex-editor once called ‘Brand Brimson’.

I also like to talk to writing groups whenever I’m asked but that’s about it really. I don’t get invited to literary functions and have never been anywhere near a literary festival of any kind.

I’m not really sure why that is but hey, that’s the literary world for you. It’s never made much sense to me.

How so?

I’ve been writing for 15 years now and one thing I’ve learned is that there are a huge number of people involved in publishing who fail to grasp the idea that the most important person in the whole process is the reader.

So does that explain why you were once quoted as saying that you’re not at the bottom of the literary ladder, you’re one of the rubber bungs underneath? What did you mean by that?

I made that comment during an interview in which I was asked about the genre of ‘hoolie-lit’ which in case you don’t know was the label tagged on to those of us who wrote books about the subject of football hooliganism.

Anyway, the point I was making that in spite of the fact that as a genre it spawned something like 60 books the bulk of which were by first time authors, drew loads of people back into reading and made a small fortune for various publishers and bookshops, no one involved has ever received any recognition let alone credit from within the literary world for what happened. Quite the opposite in fact, we just get looked down upon.

It still pisses me off to be honest. But that’s literary snobbery for you.

It’s well documented that your involvement in the Elijah Wood movie Green Street Hooligans did not go too smoothly. There have been various versions of the story but you have never really given your side of things. Would you like to take this chance to explain what really went on?

The brief version is that the director and I had a difference of opinion. She thought she knew everything and I knew she didn’t. Sadly, in the end I was forced to give up on it and walk away but the finished item kind of proves I was right because whilst it’s ok, it could have been so, so much better. That’s women for you.

Will you do more movies?

I certainly hope so!

I actually have a few screenplays on the production treadmill at the moment and would hope to do more in the future but I learnt an awful lot working on Green Street so won’t make any of the same mistakes I made there. I hope not anyway!

How did you secure your first publishing deal?

My brother and I had been writing some draft material and in the end, I walked into WH Smiths, took a book and wrote to the publishers asking if they would be interested.

That publisher was Headline and within a week or so they wrote back asking for some material and so I sent them some. They quickly came back asking for more and after two or three times I told them that if this carried on they’d have the whole book anyway so they best tell me if they wanted it or not. They wrote back and said they did and that was it.

It was only some years later that I realised how lucky we were and that it doesn’t generally happen like that!

How did you find your agent?

I don’t have an agent! Oddly, in spite of having 14 books published I’ve never been able to find one who wants to take me on so I’ve basically given up looking now. However, if anyone wants the job, I’d be happy to talk to them!

What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

The single most important piece of advice I would give them is this; if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Reviews can be brutal but so can reading or hearing simple feedback and if you think that you will struggle with someone slagging off your work, don’t put yourself in the firing line.

After that, it’s the basics. Write what you know, know your market, join writing groups, etc, etc. But above all, enjoy it! If you don’t, how can you expect your readers to?

What was your worst ever review?

Time out in London reviewed my first book ‘Everywhere We go’ thus: Everywhere We Go…. yeah right. Fuck off.

And your best?

I can’t remember the actual book but one of the English broadsheets (The Times I think) once called me ‘the hooligan’s pornographer-in-chief’ which I thought was quite cool. It’s certainly going on my gravestone!

Actually, the best reviews and in truth the only ones that really count are those from readers. I’m very lucky there and appreciate them all (but please, keep posting them!!)

If someone wanted to get a feel for your writing, which of your books would you recommend?

That would depend on who they were and especially what sex!

I do have a soft spot for my novels and to be honest, of all the books I’ve written ‘Billy’s Log’ is a personal favourite because it still makes me laugh. Indeed, I’m going to bow to pressure and write the sequel later this year.

What books do you read?

Autobiographies are a favourite of mine together although I steer clear of footballers and anyone under 40! I recently re-read Joan Simms book which is brilliant and very funny.

I also read military non-fiction and there is a book about the bombing raids on Port Stanley during the Falklands war called ‘Vulcan 607’ which is a particular favourite as I was there!

You have recently made the switch over to epublishing. How did that come about and how is it working?

I was approached by a company called the ebookpartnership.com who wanted to know if I would be interested in putting selected books from my backlist online.

I didn’t really know much about the process at that point but had a couple of titles which I knew I had the electronic rights to and so handed them over, more as a test than anything else. The reaction was amazing and now I have 12 of my backlist available to download. Two of those, ‘The Crew’ and ‘Everywhere We Go’  are actually free and although I was reluctant to do this at first, it has worked out astonishingly well as the ratio of sell-through purchases has been brilliant.

Is it working? Well I suddenly have full control over what I write and when I write it and it all happens at the speed I want it to happen as opposed to having to fit in with a publisher’s schedule. So hell yes! I’m a convert. So much so that I actually wrote ‘The Art of Fart’ specifically to release to the online market.

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

Tell us about ‘The Art of Fart’.

As anyone who has read the opening chapter on Amazon will know, it’s yet another book which has its roots in my own life! After all, when you grow up in a house of 8, 6 of whom are male, farting is going to feature quite heavily!

But in all seriousness, it’s just a bit of fun. It was certainly hilarious to write!

So what’s next?

I’m currently working on another novel, this time a comedy about football and then I may well write the sequel to ‘Billy’s Log’ which I already have mapped out.

However, if life has taught me one thing it’s that it never runs smoothly so who knows? I just hope I’m around to find out!

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.

 

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!

The 80’s Bloke.

I need to make something clear from the outset; I am a male….a proper heterosexual one. I love football, anything with an engine, eat meat, drink alcohol (albeit occasionally) and in the past few weeks have been called amongst other things, a flirt and a letch. Both of which I took as compliments.

But if you were expecting some kind of spirited defence of the male species or even some kind of anti-female rant, you are going to be disappointed. You see in spite of the fact that I am a ‘bloke’ in pretty much every sense of the word, I would go so far as to say that I far prefer the company of women to men.

Most of my best friends are women, the bulk of my working colleagues including my editor and my agent are women and not so long ago I was best man at the same-sex wedding of two of my bestest (female) chums which was, I have to say, a truly delightful experience. Rammed as it was, with women (albeit some of whom had little or no interest in men but each to their own).

The reason for this is that in my experience, women are a lot of fun whilst men are fairly hopeless, especially where women are concerned. And yes, I do lump myself in there with, as most of my female friends and colleagues will agree, good reason. For like most men, I have no idea how women think or work, am prone to saying the wrong thing at the very worst time and cannot for the life of me understand the fascination with either shoes, handbags or celebrity magazines.

Furthermore, as I have previously mentioned I have no concept of how much fun shopping is (for the most part, it really isn’t), have no desire to even think about why a bed needs to be covered with cushions simply because they look nice nor can I even comprehend why anyone would need to curl their eyelashes.

Oh, and since I have no uterus, I cannot possibly have any idea what it’s like to have PMT and have no real explanation as to why something so obvious is so frequently thrown at me as if it were an accusation. Don’t even get me started on the menopause or the pain of childbirth.

I could go on…. and on…. and on.

What I hear you asking, has any of this to do with the 80’s? Well on the face of it, nothing. But in truth, it has everything.

You see, to state the obvious, men and women are different. Very different. At the beginning of the 80’s, everyone knew that, accepted it and even embraced it. It was a time when real men (or ‘blokes’ as they shall henceforth be known) did manual work, smoked, drank beer and looked after their families whilst the vast majority of women once married, kept home and acted as mothers.

Yet by the end of the decade fuelled by Thatcherism, consumerism, liberalism and feminism, we were seeing the first seeds of the god-awful ‘Ladette’ culture and were just a couple of years away from the first mention of the most loathsome cult ever to infest the male race, ‘the Metrosexual.’ The final nail in the concept of masculinity which by the turn of the decade had all but ebbed away along with good manners, common courtesy, respect and most importantly of all, romance. All to be replaced with… well, nothing.

And as the 80’s ended, women everywhere suddenly found themselves wondering where all the real men had gone whilst the real men were living in fear of having their seemingly old-fashioned advances rejected. Rejection being of course, the greatest contraceptive known to man.

So it has continued, with the traditional roles of male/hunter, woman/nurturer now almost an alien concept and as a bloke, I find that very sad. I mean, what’s wrong with holding the door open for a woman or perish the thought, offering one your seat on the tube? It’s what a gentleman does yet these days, you do it at your peril. Equality, whilst an admirable idea, has a lot to answer for because in many respects, no one wins.

Thankfully, all is not lost. For there is a saviour at hand. A real man in the old fashioned sense who blokes look up to and women have come to regard as something of a sex symbol.

No not me…. Step forward the legend that is DCI Gene Hunt. The politically incorrect, foul mouthed and most definitely sexist copper who stars in the BBC TV series ‘Ashes to Ashes.’ He is as good a representation of the early 80’s male as you will possibly ever see on screen but more importantly, he is often mentioned as the ‘bit of rough women would like a tumble with.’

If true, this is a welcome sign. For whilst much of modern day society has its merits, the relationship between men and women remains slightly blurred. Middle aged men especially are still struggling to come terms with things and the fact that a fictional television character has come to be regarded with such affection by both sexes proves that deep down, those old school values have not been totally extinguished. Or to put it another way, sometimes the good old days were actually good.

The question of course, is does that kind of Alpha male have a place in modern day society. Well speaking as one myself, I would obviously hope so but I know plenty of females who would certainly go for a bit of old fashioned looking after.

But then again, back then we never thought things that deeply did we. And maybe, like proper sized Curly Wurly’s, Tiswas and Brit–Funk, that was something else that was better back in the 80’s.

Happy days indeed.

Men… stand your ground!

As a writer, I am often called upon to tackle subjects which could be deemed at best controversial and at worst, downright provocative. Similarly, as an observer of the male of the species, I am frequently asked to comment on or even explain things which, whilst obvious to me, might be considered slightly bizarre or even irrational to those on the outside.

It is for the most part, a fabulous and privileged position to be in. After all, my opinions are my opinions and to have them considered worthy enough to have placed in the public domain is a huge honour. More so if they kick start debate or even argument which is, in the main, why I do it anyway. After all, as a confirmed ‘grump’ what greater pleasure can there be than to get other people fired up!

In recent weeks, many of these requests have related to football and in particular, the World Cup. In the main, they have revolved around the now wholly out of date idea that England fans travel to tournaments with the express intention of rebuilding the empire by causing widespread destruction but occasionally, they touch on something more sensible.

Now as anyone who has ever read my book, The Geezers Guide to Football will know, when it comes to the great game, I am old school. Indeed, my opinions are so firmly entrenched that when the day comes for me to depart this turbulent world and head for whatever fate Mr G Reaper has in store for me, the coroner unfortunate enough to carry out my autopsy will find them engraved in the numerous layers of skin currently struggling to keep the blubber together. They are however, my opinions and as such, remain central to my relationship with a sport I have spent most of my life adoring and despising in equal measures.

I mention this not as any defence, but as a warning for what is about to unfold. You see I was recently asked to write something on the issue of women and football and I am of the firm belief that the two don’t mix. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that never the twain should meet.

For me, going to watch football is about escapism. It’s where we men go to forget the day to day drudgery of life, put aside any worries we might have and simply be ourselves for a few hours. More importantly, it’s where we go to spend time in the company of other blokes in an environment which is specifically designed to allow us to let off steam and give free reign to our emotions. Many a man has shed many a tear on the terraces of England and I’m certainly not ashamed to say that I am one of them.

It’s also fair to say that football is where some men occasionally do things they not only shouldn’t but certainly wouldn’t anywhere else! Not that that applies to me of course!

Now whilst this could be construed as childish behaviour, it does have its benefits. After all, women are always telling us to get in touch with our emotions and whilst football might not be the ideal vehicle for that, it has to be better than nothing doesn’t it? Surely it’s better to let rip outside the home rather than in it and whilst it’s true that football has the power to depress (ok, manically depress), it also has the power to elate. All of which can only make us nicer to be around. Indeed, I tend to be more concerned that men who don’t like football have far more issues than those of us who do!

All of which is fine until such time as a women enters the equation. For when a female enters the dynamics of the terrace, everything changes. I for one will never swear in front of a woman if I can avoid it and I certainly wouldn’t utter some of the more colourful words I tend to use at games.

Furthermore, for whatever reason I tend to moderate my behaviour if a female is near by because like most men who attend games, I know I act like an idiot and whilst it’s accepted behaviour amongst my peers, I don’t particularly want or need a woman to see it. In short, the presence of a woman dilutes the match day experience for me and kind of negates the whole point of going. And don’t think for one second I am alone in that thinking. Ask your other half if he would prefer to go to football with you or with his mates. On second thoughts, don’t. We’ll discuss that later.

To be honest, I have never really understood why women have latched onto football anyway. Fair enough, most football grounds are enveloped in a testosterone frenzy every Saturday which must have an attraction of sorts whilst I also have an inkling that since most female football fans are more HAG than WAG, it’s crystal clear that the terraces are almost certainly the only place where they will ever find themselves surrounded by hundreds of men! Let alone find themselves in close proximity to millionaire footballers!

There is even a school of thought that the main reason why this has happened is that it’s a spoiling tactic. The thinking being that in the same way that marriage is clearly an institution invented by women FOR women, football is a game played by men for the enjoyment of other men. And since all men know how much women like to stop us enjoying ourselves, what better way of doing that than by invading our sanctuary.

To make matters even worse, we now have legions of women claiming to ‘love’ football. Er… no!

Women can’t love football, at least not in the same way as a man can. The reason being that since she can never have played the game (and no matter whatever anyone says, women can’t play football) she can never understand the anger and frustration that comes from knowing that if we’d have practised more, we could have been out there playing instead of on the terraces watching. So with that element missing, when a woman says she loves football, what she really means is that she likes it. She can’t really do anything more.

Equally, the fact that they have never played the game removes any degree of authority from anything they might have to say on the actual game. How can anyone possibly comment on a player’s inability to deliver a 30 yard pass when it’s unlikely they could ever even kick a ball 30 feet with any accuracy?

But just as importantly, one of the worst things about those women who do see fit to invade the football stadium is that far too many of them seem to feel the need to behave like we do. Given that half the time we’re doing the very things that seem to provide so much irritation to the female of the species, I don’t understand why they do that and I certainly don’t want to watch them doing it.

It is for these very reasons that I actually prefer women NOT to like football. Not simply because there is no real chance of them ever wanting to come to a game with me, but because I don’t feel the need to have to discuss it with them.

That said, I do think that all women should have some inkling of how important football can be to their man. They can’t go on about us being devoid of emotion and then take the mickey or moan at us when we are upset after a bad result. Furthermore, they might understand why we get so upset when they utter that most horrific of sentences ‘it’s only a game!’ I mean, no man in his right mind would ever say that the £750 Mulberry handbag his wife or partner was swooning over was ‘only a bag’ would they! 

This is where television plays such a vital role. I might not be keen on women on the terraces but I have no problem with them watching games in the comfort of their own home. Not because I think they provide a handy waitress service to their chap (perish the thought!) but because given that the duty of television is to inform, if the average female can learn just how dire the England side have performed in South Africa, they can also appreciate just why we have been so depressed in recent weeks.

However, for us men the fact that women are watching the game on television does have inherent dangers. Not only do you run the very grave risk of your partner actually wanting to indulge in football related conversation but more horrifically, they might actually ask to accompany you to a game.

In my experience, the former is most easily dealt with by indulging in patronising responses or simply agreeing with everything they say but the latter has the potential to place the average male firmly in ‘relationship minefield’ territory. This is one area where compromise is not just a dirty word, it’s pure filth and so my advice would always be to pre-empt the situation by pointing your woman in the direction of the sign in the corner shop which reads ‘do not ask as refusal often offends’. Because if you’re a real man who has any respect for his mates, that’s exactly what you will do.

Of course, if you’re not a real man and do not have the power to stand up to your partner, then you there are three ways to step off what will undoubtedly be a very rocky and downward sloping road. One which will inevitably lead to you both wearing matching coats, bobble hats and carrying flasks of tea to drink at half time.

Step 1. When that fateful day comes, never, ever take her to your usual haunt. Not only will her presence detract from the experience (see above) but you must avoid her meeting your mates at all cost. If she meets them, not only will you (quite rightly) incur their wrath for bringing a female into the matchday environment and inevitably spoiling their day (again, see above) but if she’s not much of a looker, you will open yourself up to all kinds of piss taking. The kind of piss taking that goes on forever. Alternatively, if she is a looker…. well you don’t need me to tell you. Furthermore, meeting your mates means that she will suddenly be able to put names to faces and that’s never good.

Since the aim should obviously to ensure that this will be strictly a one-off, it is vital that you take the time to pick a game which you know will feature the poorest quality football imaginable (a look at the Watford FC fixture list is a good starting point) at a time when the weather will be at its worst. An evening game in November is perfect as it’s the stuff of nightmares for any first timer let alone a female and will almost certainly guarantee a swift exit. I know this tactic works because I used a form of it on my own daughters.

Step 2. If she does pose the dreaded ‘can I come?’ question, then the next time she is asked to attend any kind of ‘girlie’ event you must insist on going and do not take no for an answer.

Often, this in itself will be enough to have her backing off (which makes you wonder what they get up to at these things but that’s another blog) but if she doesn’t, then you must stick to your guns. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be Anne Summer’s party or hen night bound. If you’re unlucky, it’ll be Tupperware, candles or jewellery. But whatever it is, you MUST attend and you must make a knob of yourself. It is imperative that you spoil her night if only for revenge purposes.

Step 3. If either steps 1 or step 2 fail and she not only attends a game but asks to go again, then you simply have no choice but to stop going altogether. Not for your own sake, but for the sake of your mates. It’s all about taking one for the team and besides, if you start turning up with a woman week in and week out, chances are they’ll soon disown you anyway.

The one and only silver lining to this particular cloud is that should you find yourself in this most horrific of situations and simply cannot bare the thought of not going to watch football in the flesh, it provides one of the few occasions where a male can legitimately begin following (but not supporting) another club. Obviously it has to be one of a lower standard than the one where your heart will always lie as moving up the football scale not only lays you wide open to accusations of being a ‘glory hunter’ or even worse a ‘new breed’ but it actually goes against the basic unwritten rules of fandom.

So, if you can’t stomach the idea of watching non-league football week in and week out in the company of your significant other, best you don’t let it get that far.

A version of this blog was previously posted on www.moanaboutmen.com