Tag Archives: Men

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

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

Mario Balotelli – the straw that broke football’s back?.

Balotelli - cheat or arsehole? You decide
Because you're an arsehole Mario. That's why.

Like many people I have sat back and watched the furore surrounding Mario Balotelli’s stamp on Scott Parker with mild bemusement. His continued claims of innocence are quite frankly pathetic and if anything, prove just what type of individual he is.

The tragedy is that he’s not unusual. Sportsmanship seems to have become a dirty word in footballing circles these days with far too many players being seemingly devoid of a sense of fair play or for that matter, shame. How on earth can a professional sportsman who is built like a brick shit house justify dropping to the floor as if he’s been shot simply because another player taps him on the ankle or brushes his thigh? If someone did that on the local playing field on a Sunday morning he’d not only expect to get a right-hander for trying it on but he’d get slaughtered by his mates and rightly so because it is cheating pure and simple. And this begs the question, how and why has such behaviour become so acceptable within football when it is totally unacceptable or even illegal in sports such as Rugby, cricket and even golf.

The usual answer of course is that it’s all about winning but that’s bullshit. The answer is that it happens for no other reason than the punishments aren’t tough enough.

OK we are finally starting to see the odd retrospective punishment but that isn’t enough. At a time when every top flight game is filmed then every single contentious decision should be viewed and the guilty parties dealt with accordingly. Not just the players either, if clubs were faced with the threat of having points deducted for repeated offences then this cheating would stop overnight.

But equally, those who play the game professionally should be discouraging this kind of behaviour within their ranks and if that means confronting

Ronaldo = cheat.
Ronaldo. Great player, crap cheat.

their guilty team mates or even asking referees to change decisions during games, then so be it.

Of course history has proven that none of the above is likely to happen because everyone on the receiving end of the game (and by receiving I mean those who earn their money by milking the long suffering fans) are far too comfortable riding their first-class gravy train to want to change things.

But the simple reality is that for the future of the game something has to change and for all kinds of reasons. As both a fan and a TV watcher, I am becoming increasingly bored with some of the antics of players and I’m certainly not alone judging by the increasing numbers of empty seats we see at certain grounds.

Just as importantly, cases like Balotelli’s are making the sport a laughing stock and that not only reflects badly on those who play it but on those foolish enough to pay fortunes to watch it. And at a time when more and more people are having to question the wisdom of spending a large portion of their income on the walk through a turnstile, football can ill afford anything which might alienate any more. Especially when it is so easily addressed.

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

By the way, could I say a huge thanks to all those people who have been purchasing my ebooks lately. As I write this The Crew is the number one free download on the football charts of both amazon UK and US as well as on iTunes whilst Top Dog is at number one in the paid football charts. Everywhere We Go and Billy’s Log are also selling really well both here and in the States.

Could I also take this opportunity to remind everyone that my new comedy ebook is called The Art of Fart and is just £1.42 (or $2.18) on both amazon and iTunes. All of my books can be purchased by clicking here!

If you have downloaded one of my books recently and liked it, please leave a review. Of course if you didn’t like it, then please remember the old adage, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything!

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!

Football’s fascists have finally gone too far.

football fans complaining about money and something else.
Bastard football fans daring to complain.

I will be the first to admit that I am something of a grumpy bastard and that I spend my days moaning about subjects ranging from the failure of HM Tax and revenue to collect money from the travelling community (why don’t they?) to people who illegally use disabled parking spaces (who should have their cars crushed on the spot). However, today I read something which hasn’t just irritated me, it has left me incensed. Yes, that’s right, incensed.

For on this very night, the 22nd of December, at White Hart Lane where Spurs will be playing near neighbours Chelsea, stewards will be wearing cameras in an effort to catch on film anyone in the crowd who uses foul, abusive or racist language.

Stewards….. wearing cameras….. Sorry, but I had to type that twice because I still don’t actually believe it.

To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin with this. The sanitisation of football is something I have written about extensively over the years and yet it continues apace. Usually it has to be said, hidden or at least cloaked under the ‘Kick Racism’ banner. But whilst I will be the first to jump behind anything which deals with either racism or racist abuse as I have done at length both in books and on this very blog,  this is something else entirely.  This is little more than fascism.

Like most people, I go to football to let off steam and part of that involves shouting, singing and occasionally, indulging in that little thing we fans call banter. Now in truth, many of the things we say, sing or chant could, when taken out of context, be considered abusive but inside a football ground,  when directed at opposing fans, players or even officials, they are little more than simple words. Many of these words have basis in either history or fact but they are above all, instrumental in the creation of atmosphere. And atmosphere is, above all, what makes going to football one of the great joys of life.

But now, all of that is in grave danger of being taken away and make no mistake, that’s exactly where this is heading. The question is, why?

The fascists’ case is that no one should be subjected to any kind of abuse which might be deemed unacceptable but this is bollocks. This is about context and in the case of football, the game is the context. Enter a ground and you should know exactly what you are walking into, play it professionally and you must know what you are likely to experience at some point. If you don’t like that, then either don’t go or watch the sanitised version on television or don’t seek to enter the profession in the first place! It really is that simple. Because you have no right to walk into a ground or run out onto a pitch and then cry foul because you don’t like certain aspects of what you find. The individual will never, should never and can never be bigger than the game.

Yes, of course there are things which are said, shouted or sung inside grounds which are unacceptable but shock horror, terraces aren’t politically correct places and nor should they be! Furthermore, history has proven time and time again that in the vast majority of cases, the line of acceptability is drawn firmly by the people sitting within earshot which is exactly how it should be anyway! It is not, nor should ever be, drawn by someone sitting in a control room viewing CCTV footage a few days later.

Equally, what will be deemed unacceptable? The girls in Hertfordshire do have tits and fanny’s but me singing about them doesn’t make me sexist just as the age old songs about Mickey Quinn eating all the pies hardly make me fatist.

But to some politically correct driven jobsworth, that might be exactly what they decide and what then? Bollockings? Bannings? Prosecution? Or will we all have to attend some kind of seminar outlining the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of football fandom.

It’s a joke. But of course, it isn’t. Because it isn’t funny at all. It’s potentially very real and it could well have major consequences for the game in this country.

The irony is that this is happening on the very same week that someone in the UK has finally seen sense and decided that a return safe standing might actually be a good idea. Of course it isn’t in England because that would mean relinquishing some of the control the game exerts over us but fair play to the Scottish game (and that’s something I never thought I’d say! ) for finally having the balls to give it a try.

Yet what is the driving force behind the safe standing campaign? Exactly, the demise of atmosphere inside our grounds! Which is of course exactly what this farce at Tottenham is going to erode even further.

Well I have news for those who ‘run’ the game. Start filming people and prosecuting them for using foul language inside a ground and you will be fucked. Because enough is enough.

This isn’t about the game or the police, this is about the clubs themselves. OUR clubs. They’ve hiked prices to ridiculous levels, make us sit not stand, shift games around without a moment’s thought for the travelling fan and each week seem to find new ways to part us from our increasingly hard earned. And now, as we have seen at Blackburn and numerous other clubs, not only are they starting to cry foul when we actually have the nerve to voice our opinions about what is or is not going on at OUR clubs, thanks to Tottenham there is a very real sign that they are seemingly moving toward the total control of what we can and cannot say inside grounds. OUR grounds. What next? Song sheets? Big screens being used as auto-cues? Fans being asked to sing adverts for sponsors?

You may laugh, but I wouldn’t put anything past anyone involved with the financial side of football because none of them have the remotest idea of what it is (or was) like to stand on a terrace and be spontaneous. That’s why what’s going on at Spurs must be stopped from spreading and if the FSA and those who claim to be supportive of the rights of fans had anything about them, they would already be screaming blue bloody murder.

So where are they?

Note: My new book, The Art of Fart is now available to download from Amazon at £1.53 (or $2.68 in the US). Please visit www.theartoffart.net for further details. Make a stunning Xmas present…… especially post-sprouts!!!
My ebook. A fucking bargain!
The Art of Fart – What a bargain!

Beat ’em and flog ’em. The players, not the fans!

Tevez, money, manchester City, sex, greed
Carlos Tevez... upstanding citizen.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people asking me to comment on issues relating to footballers and in particular, their morals.

This was of course, largely a result of the Carlos Tevez situation and his alleged refusal to get his overpaid but extremely talented arse off the Manchester City bench and actually do what he is paid shit-loads to do. But it’s continued thanks to the activities of… well, far too many of them.

Quite why anyone thinks I am qualified to comment on the morals of anyone is something of a mystery as my life has hardly been virtuous but hey, if they ask, I answer. It’s what I do.

For what it’s worth, I think that the vast majority of footballers are decent blokes who are lucky enough to be paid to do a job most blokes would do for nothing. Some of them are paid way too much money admittedly but that’s hardly their fault. Whilst one can argue at length about the issue of players wages, as it stands it is market forces that dictate what they get paid and so until that issue is finally resolved as it surely has to be soon, I say fill your boots!

However, there are also a few amongst their number who are not decent at all and can at best be described as chavs and at worst, as scum. There are certainly individuals who, were it not for the fact that they could play football, would be in prison. Probably for a long time.

This is hardly a shock. After all, football is the working class game and even in this day and age, many footballers come from backgrounds which can hardly be called affluent. So it is hardly surprising that some of them go off the rails when they suddenly find themselves swimming in money, living in expensive apartments and left to their own devices. What doesn’t help is that their clubs or agents are so quick to step in and clean up their mess and that to me is the real problem. It’s the fact that being a good footballer seems to provide a golden get-you-out-of-jail card. That’s not right.

No one should be above the rule of law but equally, no one who represents the game, be they player or manager, has the right to drag it into the papers for the wrong reasons and be able to escape punishment. Being a twat, stupid or just horny is no excuse and I don’t care if it’s drink driving, adultery, rape, murder or simply refusing to play, they are bringing football into disrepute and should be hammered by those who administer it.

Not least because it makes those who follow the game that funds these lifestyles look foolish to those who don’t.

Why this Thatcher fan will never vote Tory again.

Thatcher, greatest leader ever! And sexy too!
Come back Maggie. We need you!

It’s not often I write about politics but today, I have to make an exception.

Quite why this compulsion has hit at this particular time is unclear as the decision I’ve made and the reasons for it were made months ago but hey, my subconscious has decided that today is the day and so here we go.

I have never made any secret of the fact I have always voted Tory and am a huge fan of Lady Thatcher. My father led me along this road from an early age but it was reinforced when I joined the RAF (the military are traditionally right-wing) and set in stone when I headed south as part of the South Atlantic Task Force in 1982.

If anything, my anti-left resolve was hardened when Blair and his loathsome cronies came to power and set about their pre-planned destruction of the social (and as we later learned, economic) fabric of our country. A crime which is far more serious than the ongoing obsession with a so-called illegal war in Iraq yet which will similarly and tragically never result in any kind of justice being imposed upon those responsible.

Have no doubt, I was thrilled when Brown was ejected from number 10 and chuffed to bits that my vote contributed to his demise. I had high hopes for Cameron and even though he was forced to bring the Lib-Dems in, I was convinced that anything would be better than what we had been enduring. Yet as the weeks unfolded and the true extent of the damage Labour had inflicted on the country began to be exposed, I began to become concerned. And the more I heard, the more my unease grew.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually support many of the things the coalition are doing and whole heartedly back the cuts the government are making because at the end of the day, that’s my money being wasted by the NHS, the Civil Service and even the MOD (don’t get me started on that!). I also applaud the stance being taken over law and order and the growing calls to repeal elements of the human rights act. However, I certainly don’t support some of the cuts made to defence especially the destruction of the Harrier fleet which will surely rank as one of the most crazed military decisions of all time.

But there have been two particular issues which have enraged me since Dave came to power and combined, they have ensured that I will never vote Tory again.

The first is the issue of Europe. I’m English first, British second and European never. Whilst I understand the concept of a European state and accept that there are certain elements of it which are of huge benefit to the nation, there are other aspects which disgust me, others which terrify me. To me, it’s clear that the EU is a club which needs us far more than we need it and that alone is reason enough to leave. So where is my referendum? The one Dave repeatedly promised.

As each day passes, the clamour from the nation calls for it and whilst we are finally seeing noises that it might actually happen at some point, the stumbling block remains the construction of the actual question. But it shouldn’t, it should be a simple in or out question. If the people say we stay in, then fine. But if they say we want out, then it’s a total out.

Either way, it will be a democratic decision and those who voted contrary to the outcome will have to deal with it just as the country will have to deal with the consequences whatever they might be. But the fact remains, we want our say and we should be given it. The fact that we haven’t is a disgrace.

The second issue is the one which not only leaves me baffled, but furious. Indeed, even as I’m sitting here I can start to feel my blood boiling.

Britain is a wealthy country, of that there is little doubt. Yet at the moment we have, thanks to Blair and co’s mismanagement of our finances, a huge debt. As a consequence, the government have been forced to make massive cuts to public spending the majority of which, as I’ve already said, I support.

However, given the fact that we are in such a mess, why the bloody hell are we spending £8.1 billion a year on overseas aid (and that will increase to £11.4 billion in 2014. That’s a 34 per cent rise!)?

Cameron argues that it is essential to spend this money to maintain our status on the world stage and more importantly, that we have a moral duty to help those living what must be awful lives. But whilst I think the former is bollocks and do have some sympathy with the latter, surely as an elected government you also have an even greater moral duty to ensure that you don’t have kids in your own country who live in abject poverty or elderly men and women who, having spent the bulk of their lives paying into the system, are being forced to choose between eating and heating because their pensions are so low.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it made any sense. Call me old fashioned, but does a nation which spends £20 billion a year on defence and £1.25 billion

Tory party giving away our money. Not sexy politics David!
Overseas aid.... the sad reality?

space programme really need £280 million from the British taxpayer? Would it not be better all round if someone were to give them a quick call and tell them to get their priorities right?

And did it not strike anyone at the Department for International Development as odd that many senior officials in Sierra Leone went on a huge spending spree shortly after they handed them a cheque for £1.2 million to aid ‘peacekeeping’ efforts?

I know I’m being flippant but sadly, those are two examples from a very long list of bizarre decisions and whilst the sums involved might not make much difference to the old age pension or child benefit, they would make a huge difference to organisations such as Childline, Cancer Research, Macmillan, the RNLI and even the RSPCA who as it stands, are essential charities almost wholly dependent on public donation. And I for one, would far rather my taxes went in that direction rather than risk them ending up in some African despots Swiss bank account or to countries who wish us nothing but harm in return.

Quite why Cameron and company cannot see that escapes me and that, in essence, is why I will never vote Tory again. Not because they are crap politicians or even dodgy characters, but because after years of Labour destruction and miss-management, they have failed to adhere to the fundamental rule of political life. That as a politician you are elected by the people to serve the people.

To do that, you have to listen to and act upon the will of the majority and the sad fact is that at the moment, at least when it comes to these two issues, they’re certainly not listening to me and plenty like me.

So why on earth should they get my support.

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?

Things that piss me off. People with no shame…..

The other day, as the hacking scandal was still in the early stages of unfolding, I became embroiled in one of those ‘what’s wrong with the country’ type debates. Now usually I relish discussions like these because given that I am always right, it’s inevitable that sooner or later people will come round to my way of thinking and so the entertainment value comes in the journey they take to get there. However, in this instance time was pressing and so I let loose my killer point. The one I tend to save until close to the end. Because the simple truth is that the main thing wrong with this country is that the concept of shame has been lost.

Usually when I make this statement, it results in a silence. After all, it’s a fairly simplistic way of looking at things but it’s very rare that anyone can ever provide any kind of argument against it.

How else can you explain politicians refusing to take any blame for the damage they inflict on the population whilst at the same time bleeding us dry by fiddling their expenses blind? Or footballing greats trying desperately to line their own pockets by selling clubs to far-eastern ‘businessmen’? The answer of course is that they have no shame and if caught out, merely fight tooth and nail to escape any kind of justice be it legal or moral. Justice which would almost certainly never come anyway because as a people, we are ruled by apathy.

The irony is of course is that in the past we have relied on the press to fight our battles for us but in light of recent events, can we rely on that any more? I hope so. Jaundiced as I am against certain sections of the media as a result of my own experiences, I know that there are far more honest and decent journo’s than dodgy ones.

But for me, bent politicians, sportsmen, journalists or even coppers isn’t even the worst of it. Because for me the real rot happens nearer home. When I was younger claiming the dole was unthinkable because of the shame it would have heaped on you but more importantly, your parents.

However, that was nothing compared to the idea of falling pregnant outside of marriage…. Christ almighty, that was the stuff of nightmares for entire families who not so long ago would have farmed daughters out to aunties in the middle of nowhere rather than endure the humiliation of having a knocked up (and unmarried) daughter at home.

Yet these days, continuing to pop out kids whilst living off the state or claiming jobseekers or DLA whilst working on the sly are both seemingly acceptable career paths. How the fuck did that happen? How did it become OK to sponge or steal off of everyone else because make no mistake, that’s what we’re talking about here.

I seem to recall once reading that it took 16 taxpayers on an average wage to fund just one single parent who wasn’t working. Now I don’t know how accurate that is but it has to be pretty close and even if you halved that number, it is little more than a national disgrace. Think about that for a minute…. 8 people (at a generous best). That’s you and 7 of your mates. Working your tits off simply to fund one person. Nothing else…. just that one person.

It beggars belief doesn’t it. So why do we allow it to happen? The answer is simple really, because no one understands the concept of shame any more.

Don’t get me wrong, I know enough single mums (and dads) as well as lads out of work to know that we’re talking the exception rather than the rule and I also know enough people with disabilities to understand that they need all the help that we as a society can provide. But the reality is that there are far too many exceptions. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing ‘I’d be £10 a week worse off if I went out to work’ because to me as a taxpayer, what that translates to is ‘if you went out to work you bastard, this country would be X amount BETTER off’. So fuck off out to work!

The government of course, would argue that they are doing what they can to get people back into work and to be fair, they are making the best of what is a shite situation left behind by a shite Labour government.

But until the people of this country decide that they are sick and tired of being taken for mugs by the idle and the feckless and actually start to help the authorities do something about it, nothing is going to change. We cannot afford for that to happen, not just financially but morally.

And maybe that’s where the real shame lies. With us.