Tag Archives: Life

Tax-payers of the nation unite.

tax, sex, tories, ebooks, anal, oral, Our inglorious leader David Cameron has recently been on the offensive with ideas to slash the benefit budget and in particular, has targeted the long-term unemployed and the provision of housing benefit for those under 25. Now as people who regularly read my blog will know, I’ve been a Tory voter all my life but for various reasons, that came to an end when Cameron walked into number 10. But on this he has my full and total support. Indeed I’d actually say ‘about fucking time’ because like many tax payers in this once wonderful country of ours, I’ve had enough. Enough of propping up people who’s idea of contributing is to society is to vote on X-Factor, enough of supporting some lazy bastard with no interest in working, enough of funding the lifestyle of some addict who can’t be arsed to take the help being offered to him and enough of being the sole provider to an unmarried mother with three kids by three different blokes. That’s not where I want my hard earned taxes to go and it’s certainly not what the benefit system was designed for. The liberal left of course would argue the opposite but then again they would. It’s what they do. Yet what they fail to see is that because of the scroungers who have come to infest our society, the people that the system was actually built for are being squeezed as hard as anyone. How for example, can it be right that someone who has worked hard and saved all their life has to sell their home to pay for care which is provided freely to someone who lives on benefits? How can anyone argue for a system which requires that? It’s a national scandal. The left inevitably avoid such questions and instead argue that rather than attack the benefit system the government should instead be going after those who avoid paying tax. And whilst I certainly agree with that, it is for a totally different reason. They want it because in their world fairness is an alien concept and if we take more money from the rich it would allow us to continue along the ‘funding the feckless path’ they seemingly so admire. I meanwhile, want it to help rebuild the damage done by labour and ease the pressure on the already struggling working people of this country. But I also know that if you have a financial problem, the first thing you do is not try to increase your income, it’s to reduce your outgoings and in that sense what Cameron  has said is not only a wake up call for the government, it’s a wake up call for the tax payer. As a consequence, not only should we be backing Cameron, we should be demanding that he go further and take a long hard look at every benefit from Job Seekers to Motobility. Both of which are horrifically abused and which cost us billions every year. And that’s the key word; us. Never forget that as tax payers we are the ones who fund this country and it’s about time that those who steal from us, be they rich or poor, were dealt with in just the same was as any other thief. After all, as I have said many times before, if someone came into your house and stole £65 a week from your wallet you’d be onto the Old Bill like a shot. What pray tell, is the difference?

Why I’m the Forrest Gump of Lad-Lit (and a moan about EURO 2012)

truth, blow jobs, anal sex, football , euro 2012, racism, hooligans, writing
The truth, the whole truth……

As a writer who doesn’t exactly shy away from contact with the outside world, I receive a steady stream of emails from people asking me questions. These range from requests for advice on writing to comments about books and all points in between.

All are welcome, all appreciated and all replied to. After all, if someone has taken the trouble to mail me, it’s usually because they have taken the time to read something I’ve written so the very least I can do is respond. Time is, after all, the most valuable commodity any of us have.

However, there is one particular question thrown at me, and on a fairly regular basis, which always provides a warm glow of satisfaction; ‘what’s the next book about?’

The great joy of this question is that it provides both affirmation and confirmation in equal measures. For it provides proof that not only is my work liked, it’s anticipated! Could any author ask for more than that?

What makes it even more special is that my back list isn’t just varied, it could even be described as manic. I certainly can’t think of many authors who’ve published books about subjects as diverse as racism in football and farting although I’m sure there is much a decent psychiatrist could make of that!!

Yet as many people have told me, the eclectic nature of my work is part of the attraction. I am, as one reader put it, the Forrest Gump of lad-lit. I think that was meant as a compliment, it’s certainly how I took it anyway!

This ‘box of chocolates’ reference inevitably leads me onto another oft asked question, how do I pick the subjects for my books? The answer to that is simple, or at least it was.

Like most authors, I have a list of books I intend to write at some point. Some are based on personal experience, a few on a passion for something and others which stem from a simple nugget of an idea I have locked away in what passes for my memory. This list has always been fairly flexible and it’s fair to say that it contains books which will never, ever get written for no other reason than I simply don’t have the required skill to pull them off. And before anyone asks, yes, my autobiography is on there and no, it won’t ever get written. There are lots of reasons for this but ‘no one would ever believe half of it’ and ‘guilty your honour’ are two.

But in the past the underlying reason for the subject matter of a particular book was always purely and simply what I could persuade my publishers to print. A process which all too often was incredibly time consuming and frustrating involving arm twisting, deviousness and even grovelling. Indeed, it is a fact that Billy’s Log, which remains one of my personal favourite books (and is also one of my biggest sellers!) was only published at all because I insisted on having it tacked onto the contract for Barmy Army. But that process took two long years!

However, since the move into eBooks and the speed with which that allows me to both write and publish, things have changed immeasurably. For with the decision on what to write and when being mine and mine alone, not only am I in total control but I can be much more reactive to what my readers are telling me. The astonishing success of both The Crew and Top Dog since they went online (and however you look at it, almost 8 months at number one on both Amazon and iTunes is an astonishing feat) is a case in point. For with Wings of a Sparrow almost complete, I had already taken the decision on what to write next but such has been the volume of requests for a third book in that series, that has now become my next project.

That said, only yesterday I had a ‘bolt-of-lightning’ moment which got me so excited that I had to pull over and send emails about it from a lay-by on the A1 so it might be that things change again!

But that’s the joy of epublishing over traditional publishing. It allows me that flexibility which as a writer, is incredibly liberating.

And as long as my readers are happy to indulge me, I’m only too happy to continue along my meandering path.

God bless ‘em all!!!

*

One final thing I have to say. Just prior to EURO 2012, the BBC aired a documentary which made all kinds of accusations relating to the potentialfor racism and violence in the Ukraine and Poland and featured amongst other things, former England international Sol Campbell claiming that he thought some black and Asian fans might come home in coffins.

As I write this, it is the morning of the England vs Italy quarter final and without wishing to tempt fate, there has not been a mass outbreak of mass racism at a single game nor has there been a single England fan arrested.

We are all used to this type of media fed hysteria ahead of major tournaments but that does not make it right and it most certainly does not make it acceptable. Surely the time has come for the FA to make a stand against this ridiculous, insensitive and above all insulting style of sensationalist reporting and let it be known that it won’t put up with it any more.

But above all, Sol Campbell has done a huge disservice to his country and the many black and Asian England fans who stayed away from the tournament because of his ridiculous assertions. He was also incredibly insulting to the tournament hosts.

Thankfully, the England fans have already let it be known what they think of him with the brilliant ‘coffin parade’ in Donestsk but if he had anything about him, he’d have the balls to come out and admit he was wrong.

I won’t however, be holding my breath.

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1

The Art of Fart!

fart, farting, romance, flatulence, lads, women

Rather than blog this week, by way of a taster (and a bit of promotion!) I thought I’d post up the opening chapter of my ebook, The Art of Fart. 

Please have a read and if you enjoy it, why not download the whole book from either Amazon or iTunes for the princely sum of £0.99.

The Art Of Fart – introduction.

It is one of the most natural of bodily functions. Humans do it, animals do it, birds do it and there is even research to suggest that fish communicate with it.

For most men, it provides a ready sense of achievement and even self-worth whilst as a comedy tool it is almost unrivalled. Yet doing it in public is almost universally regarded as a social faux pax whilst in a few countries it is actually illegal.

It is of course, farting. And I am a huge fan. Well, truth to tell I am more than a simple fan. For having studied the act of breaking wind for most of my life I have come to think of myself as more of a fartsmith than a simple aficionado. I might even go so far as to say that I regard myself as something of a fartologist.

Now I realise that is an arrogant claim so it is only fair that I provide a quick resume of my rectal related record to prove that I have the knowledge and experience to back up the fact that I am a leading authority in the anal art department.

My love affair with farting began at an early age. In fact one of my earliest and fondest childhood memories involves an enforced overnight stop at my grandparents house in Tottenham where thanks to a particularly impenetrable pea-souper settling over North London, myself and my four brothers were forced to top and tail in a double bed overnight.

As you can imagine, the inevitable emissions soon created a pea-souper of our own but they also provided us with a great deal of quality entertainment. It also proved conclusively that a fart cannot render you unconscious. Quite the opposite.

However, it is fair to say that the greatest influence on my life as a fartologist has been my father. Not simply for his own proficiency in this area, but for his ability to extract as much enjoyment from the process as is humanly possible.

Initially, this involved relating tales from his own youth and in particular, his period of National Service when whilst undergoing his basic training, he met a fellow conscript who was able to fart at will.

This was the kind of thing legends are made of. For example, whenever they would go on parade, which back then was often, this chap would station himself in the row either behind or in front of my old man who, knowing what was going to happen, would invariably be forced to try and suppress giggling as the inspecting officers approached.

Of course the anticipation coupled with the odd hissed comment from his tormentor would make his struggle even harder and by the time the

fart, farting, romance, flatulence, lads, women
Single women do fart

inevitable trouser roar arrived, my dad would be almost beetroot with pain. Occasionally he wouldn’t be able to help himself and would simply collapse in a heap of laughter which would result in him receiving a major league bollocking. Indeed, given that my dad went on to become a comic, I have often thought that this was where he developed his comic timing.

In later years, as his tribe of kids grew older and the tales of his youth became increasingly boring to us, he was forced to find other ways of amusing himself, usually at our expense. I certainly can’t recall him letting one go and not apportioning blame to me or one of my brothers but as time passed and we became more used to the old mans tactics, his anal activities became limited to a witty post-gruff comment.

Yet even though we were growing increasingly proficient ourselves and were frequently using our gruff grenades on each other both for fun and in competition, my four brothers and I always knew that he was the master. We were also well aware that if we were ever going to extract the long-overdue revenge we sought, we would need to find a new delivery method. It finally arrived when we discovered the art of fart-capture.

Initially, we would fart into our hands and imprison the smell between our palms before pushing our hands into the faces of our victims. However, the problem with this method is that the gas is able to seep through the fingers quite quickly and shoving your non-smelly hands under the nose of an angry sibling was hardly worth the punch it inevitably attracted. As a consequence we moved first on to the use of tea cups -although we were forced to stop this by an extremely unhappy mother- and then screw top jars. The latter proving extremely effective as they not only allowed us to store the farts until required but provided an excellent delivery vehicle. Place under dads’ nose and unscrew lid as he inhales. Simple.

This was fine when he was asleep but things were very different when he was awake because given that he once held a black belt in Judo and had boxed for the Army, only a Kamikaze pilot would contemplate such an attack when he was conscious. As a result we eventually developed what would prove to be our best and most efficient delivery method; the crisp packet.

Fart into bag, twist neck and then approach target from behind. Leap onto back, stuff bag over nose and cling on for dear life.

It was crude but effective and had the added bonus of providing an exciting ‘Bucking Bronco’ style ride for a minute or so. However, it is fair to say that any success was more to do with the actual delivery process as opposed to the forcing of any actual odour ingestion. After all, a Salt & Vinegar flavoured fart is hardly much of a weapon.

Yet the fact that we were not only becoming more proficient but increasingly on the offensive clearly unsettled the old man and as the level and quantity of attacks grew, my increasingly nervous father came up with a new idea. Rather than utilise the fart as a weapon he decided that we would do something together as a family and employ our collective guffs as a form of family entertainment. We began recording them.

It was a genius idea and with a cassette recorder kept on permanent pause and a microphone ready to go, it was not unknown for a C60 tape to fill within two to three days. I cannot tell you the fun we had playing these tapes back much to the utter disgust of my mother and sister. Some years later my brother even put together a ‘Best Of…’ CD complete with titles. It was quite simply awesome.

But by this time the family had started to drift away from the home and I soon joined the exodus by enlisting in the Royal Air Force. However, if anything my interest in flatulence actually increased from that point on. You try living in a 22 man room and not having farts impact on you!

Ironically, it was the area of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear warfare which most often served to provide me with the best fart related entertainment whilst in the military. The gas mask in particular proved to be an important tool in my education as when you are forced to wear one for up to ten days at a stretch, the absence of odour soon teaches you to appreciate and develop other elements of the anal art.

That is not to say that we did not have any aroma related fun whilst masked up. Indeed, on a number of occasions I actually utilised a needle and syringe to deliver a small amount of self-generated nerve gas through the canister of a sleeping colleagues respirator.

That takes nerves of steel let me tell you. Not to mention a great deal of quick thinking and/or speed when your victim wakes up mid-injection!

Indeed it is fair to say that my time in the military was instrumental in my development as a budding fartologist. For not only did my various duties provide me with long periods of time during which I would ponder and plot but it also afforded me access to all kinds of wonderful machinery and chemicals.

At one point, whilst working on a plant which produced liquid nitrogen which as you will know freezes on contact with air, I even experimented with the creation of fart-cubes. Through the simple act of fart-capturing into jars half full of water, shaking to aerate and pouring the contents into condoms before freezing I soon had a ready supply of arse-cubes which I would sneakily take with me whenever I went out.

Sadly, even though I would place them in all kinds of drinks –mostly to be fair, belonging to people who had pissed me off- the results were questionable to say the least and what satisfaction obtained derived simply through the pleasure of ‘knowing’ what I had done. Nothing wrong with that of course. It is after all what stealth-farting is all about.

Post military, I have continued to hone my skills primarily on my own children and it is fair to say that I am rapidly turning into my own father.  Yet the humour derived from farting has never tailed off and if anything, as the years have passed I have become even more interested in other aspects of the anal art.

That in essence, is why I finally took the decision to write this book. It was I felt, the perfect way for me as an experienced fartologist to not only impart some of the knowledge I have accrued over the years but to extend the fun. My fun.

Because it is fair to say that I love farting. After all, what’s not to love? With the obvious exception of sex there is surely no other activity that can provide as much amusement, entertainment and self-satisfaction as letting one go. Just as importantly, you can do it on your own or in company and you can do it anywhere. In fact location often provides an additional source of humour! That’s not just a double or triple whammy, it’s quadruple!

To that end, I have put together a book which I hope not only explores pretty much every single facet of flatulence from why we do it through to the delights of fart porn, but which I hope will encourage you to follow in my footsteps and develop some of the skills and knowledge associated with colon cologne.

Equally, I have tried to explain just what it is about the cry of the colon which holds such an appeal for we males whilst at the same time generating such angst in females.  Although in many ways, the fact that women don’t ‘get’ farting is one of the major attractions of tootery for me because farting provides a link with childhood and being told to grow up whenever I do it reinforces the fact that I haven’t.

I don’t know about you, but I’m actually quite happy with that. Long may it continue.

The Crew, top dog, spandau ballet, green street

Thanks to everyone who have kept The Crew and Top Dog at or near the top of the amazon charts for the last 4 years! I am both humbled and proud of these two books and indeed, so successful have they been that the third in the series is well on the way to completion.

 In the meantime, if you have read either book, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon or iTunes. They really do mean a lot and are extremely important when it comes to ranking.

 

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!

Football is up shit creek so let’s bring back the 80’s and have done with it.

Terraces + scarf = awesome
The terraces were awesome places to be.

The other day, someone sent me a link to a video. It was one of those YouTube compilations made by some genius on their laptop and featured a fairly hefty slice of action from the early 1980’s. Not just any action mind, but Watford action. It was quite simply awesome.

But it wasn’t simply the sight of Luther Blissett and Ross Jenkins banging in goals for fun which brought such joy to my drab supporting life, it was the memories it dragged up of the so-called ‘bad old days’ of going to football.

Now no one knows better than I that to walk along memory lane you have to pass through a mental filter which removes the vast majority of bad bits but the truth is that for me and for most of the people I know, watching football in the early 80’s wasn’t that bad at all. In fact it was absolutely fantastic.

As a Watford fan the football was amazing, the travelling generally hilarious and even encounters with other fans usually provided a degree of humour. All that running away also kept me extremely fit!

Yes, I know that there is a degree of brevity in what I’ve said here but there is also a serious point and it is one which all too often seems to have been forgotten.

You see whenever talk turns to watching football in the 80’s mention is invariably made of the hooligan element and to be fair, as someone who was around at the time and who has since written a fairly reasonable amount about it, they were certainly relevant. But the reality is that not every game involved trouble and not everyone who stood behind a goal or travelled home and away was involved in violence.

Yet here we are 20 odd years later still talking about the 80’s as if every game involved mayhem on the terraces. More to the point, whilst the

Hooligans in action. And decent fans backing away from them.

popular image the modern game portrays is of one where all of the stadiums are full of happy smiling faces, the stark reality is that the history of violence is still being used to generate a fear which in turn is used as an excuse to exercise control over fans. Be that through the imposition of designated seating, the use of oppressive stewarding, alcohol bans  or even the continued refusal to bring back standing inside our grounds.

This isn’t good enough. Like the industry football has now become, fan culture has moved on since the 80’s and the time has surely come to acknowledge that and consign the memories of the violent minority to history.

Yes, as a culture it still lingers in the streets outside as well as on the internet and of course everyone must be vigilant but with the risks to the individual now greater than ever, even the most hardened of idiots thinks twice if not three times before throwing a punch inside a ground.

But more to the point, by setting aside the fear of hooliganism and placing a degree of responsibility onto the shoulders of the fans –who lest we forget, actually fund the game- we might actually see a return of the one thing which seems to have gone missing in action at all too many games in recent years, atmosphere.

Because no one can be in any doubt that the atmosphere at football these days is a pale shadow of what it was back then nor can they question the simple truth that atmosphere was generated largely from amongst those who gathered together and stood behind the goals.

The imposition of designated seating was almost solely responsible for killing that and if taking what many still foolishly consider to be a backward step is the price of bringing it back, then I for one think it’s a risk worth taking.

And I don’t doubt for one second that I am the only one who thinks that.

This blog first appeared on www.totalfootballmag.com

The joy of an eBook author!

a kindle reader laughing at an orgasmic fart.
A Kindle reader in hysterics whilst reading The Art of Fart!

As anyone who knows me will be well aware, I have an intense dislike of the festive period and in actual fact, am something of a Grinch. There are all kinds of reasons for this ranging from my distrust of religion to the fact that my birthday is the 7th January (which meant crap presents when I was little) although to be fair, none of this has never stopped me planting myself in front of the telly for the duration and consuming both food and drink as if they were about to be made illegal.

However, as the ongoing farce that is my life meanders (or should that be bludgeons?) its way into yet another year, it might come as something of a shock to discover that I have spent much of this last festive period working feverishly.

The reason for this bizarre and totally unexpected turn of events was the launch of my latest book, The Art of Fart, which was released in December and is the first I have ever written solely for publication as an eBook.

Normally, when a new book hits the shelves, I leave the bulk of the promotional work to the publishers who will deal with all the pre-release publicity and arrange various interviews and appearances as well as sending out review copies to interested media outlets. The result being that they tell me what to do, I do it and all being well, books are purchased by the fabulous people that are the general public.

This time however, there is no PR department meaning that it’s all been down to me! Not only that but being an eBook it was fairly pointless doing any pre-launch work because there was nowhere for potential readers to even pre-order let alone download the finished article. The upshot being that I had to sit twiddling my thumbs until the day The Art of Fart hit amazon at which point, I went into a frenzy of self-promotion!

However, I quickly learnt that what little knowledge I did have with regard to the promotion of books was all but useless and so other than follow the bog-standard Facebook and Twitter route, I was faced with a fairly rapid learning curve. One which grew ever steeper the more I tried to climb it!

For having entered what was in effect a whole new world of publishing, not only did I have to totally rethink my approach to book PR but I had to take an entirely new perspective on the online writing and publishing world much of which I am ashamed to say, I had previously ignored. As a consequence, I have now become involved in various writing communities such as KIndleboards.com and writers-online.co.uk (which are actually good fun and involve all kinds of lovely, talented people!) and thanks to them, have been able to learn a huge amount about the delights of such mysteries as amazon tagging, twitter hashtags, etc.

Thankfully, it seems to be working really well and is actually having a knock-on benefit with my other ebooks as the number of downloads have all increased markedly. On which note, I am delighted to inform you that thanks to the good folk at www.ebookpartnership.com who I cannot commend highly enough, if you search my name on any ebook outlet you will see that my novel The Crew is a free download as is my very first book, Everywhere We Go. Indeed, I now have a total of 12 ebooks available online and not just for the Kindle but all other electronic readers as well as your PC.

Of course now that everyone is drifting back to work the next stage of promotion can begin as I will begin targeting the established print and broadcast media. Hopefully, that will secure some press exposure although it’s fair to say that the title of the book let alone the subject matter may well limit the opportunities available!

farts are sexy
farts are sexy

I also have a few other ideas on the backburner including one which I hope will be quite spectacular! That may well have to wait until it’s a bit warmer though!

Now whilst all of this is good fun and is hopefully spreading the word and selling lots of downloads, the problem is that doing all of this takes time which stops me doing anything else. And one of the most important questions I have to address is what to do next!

I have managed to whittle this down to three ideas now and all being well, will make the final decision over the next day or so. One thing I do know is that it will almost certainly be another eBook. Primarily because it’s such good fun!

On which note, if you haven’t read it yet, The Art of Fart is available for just £1.53 at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Fart-Joy-Flatulence-ebook/dp/B006MISNFI/ or $2.68 at http://www.amazon.com/Art-Fart-Joy-Flatulence-ebook/dp/B006MISNFI/

If you do read it, please let me know what you think or better still, leave a review on amazon. They really do help!

Dougie Brimson – The New Gok Wan?

Mutton dressed as er... mutton

In every list or article written by a male about relationships with the opposite sex, there is one issue which will inevitably receive a mention. It is best described as entrapment.

I don’t mean entrapment in the sense of her trying to find out if you’re having an affair or have actually been out with your mates when you’ve told her you’re at work, I’m talking the really serious stuff. Primarily the stuff about HER! Those questions which are designed to trap you into saying the wrong thing and attracting trouble. The most dangerous of which is the dreaded ‘how does this look?’

Now any bloke with half a brain knows that if a woman asks that question, it doesn’t matter what he responds because it will inevitably be wrong. If we pay a compliment it’s ‘you’re only saying that’ and if we say anything negative…. well, best not to do that anyway. And even if it isn’t wrong at that moment in time, it will almost certainly be wrong later on at which point you will get the blame because ‘you should have said something’.

Worst of all is when this question is posed when we’ve been ‘taken’ shopping.  Never mind the fact that most men hate shopping with a passion and being dragged around the underwear department of Marks & Spencers is the single most evil thing a woman can inflict on her man, our reluctance to show any desire to provide comment on anything from ball gowns to handbags means we are considered either useless or boring or both. All of which adds to the ‘fun’ of course. 

I mention this here because the other day, whilst mulling over what would constitute my perfect job, I finally came up with the answer. You see I actually quite like wandering around shopping malls (it’s a people watching thing) and I certainly like women so it seemed reasonable to think of a way to combine the two activities. So in short, I’d like to be employed as the bloke who passes impartial and honest comment on what women are either trying on or already wearing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not nor ever could be considered, fashionable. I wear clothes which do not suit me, have a body profile which defies any description other than lardy and am as far removed from Gok Wan as it is humanly possible to get (and on that note, if you want to spend all your life dressing women and acting like a woman, why not just get a bloody sex change and have done with it?) but I do have three things going for me. I am a bloke, I know what looks good on women and just as importantly, I know what doesn’t.

Kill me please.

And having sat outside more changing rooms than I care to recall and watched a succession of fashion disasters appear only be told by their long-suffering and bored shitless partners that they look fabulous, would it not be better to have an honest opinion from an impartial male on tap? After all, wouldn’t a woman rather be told that she looks like a pig wrapped in some old pub curtains before she goes to that wedding as opposed to realising it herself when she receives the photo’s afterwards?

But equally, I’d like to be able to tell a woman that she looks beyond awesome. Indeed, I’d encourage any bloke to do that once in a while anyway. I have and trust me, you have no idea of the impact paying a random comment can have, especially at 08.45 on the Piccadilly Line.

The other attraction is that I’d also be able to walk up to a woman and tell that at 50 plus, she shouldn’t have pink hair or a nose piercing because they make her look slightly sad or tell that 25 year-old that men don’t actually find the sight of an exposed KFC fuelled muffin-top particularly attractive.

The more I think about it, the more I think that I’m definitely onto something here. After all, if honesty really is the best policy, let’s apply it where it is most needed, at the proverbial coal face. But equally, think how many cold and frosty nights I could save for my fellow males?

Anyone got a number for John Lewis?

I Blame Telly. Really, I do!

It fucking doesn't!

In all the soul searching and hand wringing that has gone on since the riots that engulfed London, Birmingham and Manchester barely two weeks ago, little has been mentioned about what I regard as one of the major factors to have impacted on the fabric of British society over the last 50 or so years.

For whilst much has been made of the role computer games have played in the desensitisation of violence and the fact that music videos are increasingly portraying women as little more than sexual objects (and where are the feminists in that debate? Gyrating to Rihanna along with their 8 year old daughters perhaps?) little has been made of the most powerful medium of all, television.

Now I love TV. It is an amazing thing and the people who work within it produce some incredible programming. Yet as a weapon, it is unrivalled. For it has the potential to shape public opinion in a way no other medium can and only a fool would deny that it has certainly been wielded plenty of times over the years and for all kinds of reasons.  Some good, most bad.

Never is this more graphically illustrated than in the soaps. Soaps are different to all other forms of entertainment in that they are infinite. Characters come, evolve and go, storylines unfold and die but the essence remains constant. This is of course, one of the great attractions and for many viewers that essence becomes so familiar that it takes on a sense of reality. A place it stops being the product of some writers imagination and is instead somewhere where the characters change from jobbing actors into into real people who actually experience real things. It’s Truman in all but name.

The arguement often put forward in defence of this type of programming is that it’s art mirroring life which would be fine if they showed lives, communities and problems which were actually ‘normal’ in the sense that yours and my lives are normal but they do not. Instead they paint a warped and necessarily condensed picture of a drama. One where hatred, shouting, violence, criminality and dysfunctional families are everyday normality.

And if you’re 7 and your evenings involve sitting in front of some screaming banshee supposedly living in a Manchester suburb and your only datum point is a home life which isn’t that far removed from what you’re seeing on screen, it simply becomes an extension of reality. When that is so destructive (and so repetitive) it can only have a negative impact because if anti-social behaviour is something you witness on a daily basis and it is rarely if ever condemned, how can you hope to learn that it is unacceptable in the real ‘real’ world? 

TV... do your job!

Therefore, those who develop these storylines must be made aware that they too have a responsibility to society to portray life is it actually is as opposed to the twisted vision they trot out for us. Because whilst I’m sure everyone involved with Eastenders is happy to work there, I doubt any of them would actually want to live there in real life.

And that has to be the defining question all producers and commissioners need to ask themselves before they put their signature on that line to sign off that script. Because if it’s not good enough for them, why on earth should it be good enough for us?

National Service – I Think Not!

Sargeant Major bastard
Predictably, the screams for a return to national service have begun to appear on the front pages as journalists up and down the land seek desperately to fill their pages with a new angle on the riots story. Quite why they do this escapes me because as a tax-payer, I’m more then happy to see page after page of mug-shots of the guilty finally getting their just deserts. That can carry on for weeks thanks.
 
However, the fact of the matter is that editors do not see it as I do and so that old chestnut ‘a spell in the Army would sort them out’ has been dragged out and placed in the public consciousness as if it’s a good idea. Well as someone who served 18 years in the Military and is a veteran of theFalklandsconflict and Gulf War one, I speak with some authority when I say that it isn’t. A return to conscription would be a disaster for all kinds of reasons, the main one being that the military do not want it. And given that they are currently fighting two wars and keeping the peace in various places across the globe whilst all the time facing scathing cuts of their own, I think that not only should we listen to what they have to say but in fact to even suggest it is to take the piss.

That said, I do think that there is a very strong case to be made for some kind of compulsory service for anyone between 18 and 20 who is not in full time education. And by education I mean learning something useful such as medicine, teaching, engineering or science as opposed to the impact of 15th Century Peruvian art or the history of Hollyoaks.

My own view is that a scheme based on the military model but dedicated not to the use of weapons or even defence (teaching the use of weapons to individuals who you are trying to stop using weapons is slightly barking even for the British!) but to service in and to the country as a whole would be perfect.

Through such a scheme, not only would this so-called ’lost’ generation be provided with paid employment and be taught a trade, it would also learn the core values of British life generally, many of which are failing to be taught in schools or by parents (or parent) too many of whom seem to regard Jeremy Kyle with more reverence than their local coppers. Most importantly of all, they would discover that everything we do as individuals has a consequence for someone else. Or as it is better known, a conscience.

But equally, working with others would instil a sense of self-worth and that is something which does seem to be lacking in many of those dragged before the courts so admirably by the police this week.

The problem of course is that the adoption of such a system would involve a major sea-change in pretty much every aspect of British life and it would certainly not be popular with everyone under 18 which is why it will never happen. Because that age group also happens to be the next generation of voters and the party who proposes it would be committing political suicide.

And no matter how much hand-wringing and political gesturing we hear from10 Downing Streetor the House of Commons, the simple truth is that most politicians are too afraid of being kicked out of power to risk doing anything which might cost them a vote or two.

Which is exactly how we’ve ended up in this situation anyway.

Rioting…. It’s Just Old School Hooliganism

Rioters or hooligans?
I think it’s fair to say that my blog yesterday on the death of the gun-toting Mark Duggan caused something of a stir. Not only did it receive the highest number of hits I’ve ever had but it attracted favourable comments from all sections of the community bar one. But given that he was an American who seemed obsessed with the notion that this is all our own fault because we’re, well… British I didn’t really take it seriously.
 
However, during the day a question was posed of me and it is one I’ve thought long and hard about ever since. To say it has caused me some angst is an understatement but it is this… what’s the difference between hooligan gangs and street gangs?

Now the simple answer is that street gangs exist 24/7 with the sole intention of bullying and exploiting to further their own activities. They have little or no respect for anyone or anything yet demand it as their right simply through their very existence.

The hooligan gangs are very different. The catalyst for their existence is and always was football and in the vast majority of cases, certainly in my experience, the only thing they are really interested in these days is confrontations with those who wish to confront them. And I use that term confront advisedly. The changing nature of hooliganism and the impact of policing on football have changed things dramatically over the last decade or so but that’s another blog entirely.

The other important thing to note is that the hooligan gangs tend to exist as proper entities only on match days which is when they come together as a group to enjoy their weekly buzz of football and its culture. For the rest of the time the majority of those involved are normal citizens going about their normal business.

This was and is a very simplistic but pat answer. However, whilst considering it in the wake of the riots (and they were riots, not protests) I have been forced to confront a few home truths. For whilst it’s all well and good for me to sit here condemning the vandals, the looters and yes, the murderers, the simple truth is that they weren’t doing anything that football hooligans didn’t do in the past.

Back in the ‘70’s, football fans used to lay waste to town centres on match days with London almost a war zone on occasions and most can recall the devastation England fans caused on their travels at the time.

Equally, anyone who knows anything about the Casual culture knows that a fundamental element of the early days was the fact that the expensive clothes worn back then were rarely ever paid for but were instead liberated. Often through the simple act of invading high-end clothes or sports shops en-masse and emptying the racks before anyone could stop it happening or even on occassions, through the act of ‘taxing’. An activity which involved an individual handing over his gear by way of a charge (or tax) for being somewhere he shouldn’t! Furthermore, jewellers were often targets especially in the West End of London whilst motorway services were on occasions stripped all but bare by coach loads of football lads which is one of the reasons why they were eventually banned. And sadly, plenty of people have died as a direct result of football hooliganism over the years.

As a consequence of this reflection, I have been forced to become a little less judgemental when it comes to those who have ended up in court. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that anyone who ends up in front of either a magistrate or a judge deserves everything they get but it is fair to say that I know only too well that some of those arrested will indeed have been swept up in things and will have been doing things that they might not necessarily have ever considered doing before. It’s called ‘mob-mentality’ or as my dad used to call it ‘like-mind’.

Fuck off you rioters!

Dr Clifford Stott of Liverpool University (a man who oddly enough seems to have founded much of his early career on the content of my books) argues that this phenomenon doesn’t actually exist but having experienced it first hand on many occasions over the years and witnessed it on far more, I would argue that Dr Clifford Stott is talking bollocks.

As I say, it is no defence and it is certainly no excuse. But maybe, just maybe, we should consider the idea that some of those who claim to have been caught up in things do actually have a legitimate case. And in such circumstances is either prison or a criminal record really the best punishment to be handed down?

Especially when some kind of public apology together with a bit of community reparation would serve equally well if not better.