Tag Archives: bloke

If Carlsberg wrote book Reviews…

fart, sex, love, anal, "bodily functions" penguins, vibrators
The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

There has recently been a great deal of discussion amongst the publishing community about the subject of reader reviews and in particular some of the unsavoury practices being employed to exploit them to promote books . These range from the appalling practices of paying for them through to unscrupulous authors who use fake names to slag off their opposition.

Now when it comes to selling books, especially self-published books, reader reviews are vital. They are after all, the nearest thing the electronic world has to word of mouth which is and always well be, the best selling tool of all. That’s why we authors cajole, bully even beg readers to write them.

Generally speaking however, reader reviews aren’t written for us they are written for other readers and no author worth their salt would consider them in any other way. We read them of course, all of them, and any mid-lister who says they don’t is a liar. But any author who responds to a reader review, especially a negative one, is not only a fool but is marking themselves out as the amateur they obviously are. They are also opening themselves up for a whole world of pain from the review Mafia who trawl the web looking for authors who behave badly and when they find one, latch on to them like a dog with a bone.

As writers however, reader reviews do have more uses than promoting books and polishing our ego’s (or not as the case might be). In fact they are invaluable. For not only do they provide us with excellent feedback on what we’re doing but they can be fabulous pointers toward what we should be doing. As an example, as a direct result of reviews left for my books I know that there are eager readers desperate for sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log and so next year, I’ll be writing both.

But there is another benefit to the reader review and it is one which is rarely spoken of. Primarily I suspect, because they come along all too rarely. I speak of those reviews which actually take our work and add to it. I received one such review today and it’s the sole reason why I’m sitting here writing this blog when I should actually be putting the finishing touches to my next book! Because reviews like this are what it’s all about. Or at least they are to me.

It relates to my most recent book The Art of Fart (a book which is as different from my normal output as it is possible to get) and was posted on Amazon UK this morning. Not only does it perfectly sum up what the book is about and why I simply had to write it, but it made me roar with laughter.

Read it and weep.

5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark bottom arts, 28 Sep 2012

By Mr. B. A. French “bazzafrench” (Witham, Essex, UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Art of Fart: The Joy of Flatulence! (Kindle Edition)
The short and amusing books, as the name suggests, explores the dark art of farting.

I think everyone has a fart which they are particularly proud of (or ashamed, depending on your school of thought). I remember mine vividly. Goodness knows what I had been eating the night before, because if I knew I would eat it again tonight. I was stood in the small and confined kitchen at work happily brewing a cup of tea, when suddenly I felt something escape through my sphincter and drop down my trouser leg. It was none of my business and just kind of happened.

The smell was unbelievable. You know it is a bad one when your own brand makes you eyes water. The kettle couldn’t boil fast enough as I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, my boss walked in. My boss then was a crabby 60 something stuck-up bitch. Ironically, she always wore an expression on her face as if she had a fart permanently under her nose.

Nearly gagging, she asked was the smell was. I was about to come clean and say I had a bad stomach (a boring, but safe excuse) when she opened the fridge door and started sniffing like the old dog she was. Thankfully, she thought something had gone off in the fridge and completely cleaned it out – and I mean everything. She chucked everybody’s lunch away and sent a snotty email saying she’d take the fridge away if people didn’t maintain it. Several people went hungry that day and I had nearly condemned an innocent kitchen appliance to the scrapheap all because of my noxious arse.

It still brings a smile to my face even today. My brother once farted so bad it made a mate of mine sick. I was proud to have out trumped him so to speak.

If you think that I am a vile and distrusting human being, then I’ll be honest with you, this book is not for you. However, if you would like to shake my hand as a genius, then I suggest you download it now.

Happy farting people.

.

PS: If you visit my Facebook page, the legend that is Barry French has posted an additional and equally hilarious farting anecdote.

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

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my novel The Crew and as a consequence, have kept it at the top of the Amazon UK free sports book download charts for over a year now. That’s some record although it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone outside of my readership. Anyway, you’re all legends.

As I say, the third book in this series is on the way!

If Carlsberg wrote book Reviews…

fart, sex, love, anal, "bodily functions" penguins, vibrators
The Art of Fart – still a bargain!

There has recently been a great deal of discussion amongst the publishing community about the subject of reader reviews and in particular some of the unsavoury practices being employed to exploit them to promote books . These range from the appalling practices of paying for them through to unscrupulous authors who use fake names to slag off their opposition.

Now when it comes to selling books, especially self-published books, reader reviews are vital. They are after all, the nearest thing the electronic world has to word of mouth which is and always well be, the best selling tool of all. That’s why we authors cajole, bully even beg readers to write them.

Generally speaking however, reader reviews aren’t written for us they are written for other readers and no author worth their salt would consider them in any other way. We read them of course, all of them, and any mid-lister who says they don’t is a liar. But any author who responds to a reader review, especially a negative one, is not only a fool but is marking themselves out as the amateur they obviously are. They are also opening themselves up for a whole world of pain from the review Mafia who trawl the web looking for authors who behave badly and when they find one, latch on to them like a dog with a bone.

As writers however, reader reviews do have more uses than promoting books and polishing our ego’s (or not as the case might be). In fact they are invaluable. For not only do they provide us with excellent feedback on what we’re doing but they can be fabulous pointers toward what we should be doing. As an example, as a direct result of reviews left for my books I know that there are eager readers desperate for sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log and so next year, I’ll be writing both.

But there is another benefit to the reader review and it is one which is rarely spoken of. Primarily I suspect, because they come along all too rarely. I speak of those reviews which actually take our work and add to it. I received one such review today and it’s the sole reason why I’m sitting here writing this blog when I should actually be putting the finishing touches to my next book! Because reviews like this are what it’s all about. Or at least they are to me.

It relates to my most recent book The Art of Fart (a book which is as different from my normal output as it is possible to get) and was posted on Amazon UK this morning. Not only does it perfectly sum up what the book is about and why I simply had to write it, but it made me roar with laughter.

Read it and weep.

5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark bottom arts, 28 Sep 2012

By Mr. B. A. French “bazzafrench” (Witham, Essex, UK) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Art of Fart: The Joy of Flatulence! (Kindle Edition)
The short and amusing books, as the name suggests, explores the dark art of farting.

I think everyone has a fart which they are particularly proud of (or ashamed, depending on your school of thought). I remember mine vividly. Goodness knows what I had been eating the night before, because if I knew I would eat it again tonight. I was stood in the small and confined kitchen at work happily brewing a cup of tea, when suddenly I felt something escape through my sphincter and drop down my trouser leg. It was none of my business and just kind of happened.

The smell was unbelievable. You know it is a bad one when your own brand makes you eyes water. The kettle couldn’t boil fast enough as I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, my boss walked in. My boss then was a crabby 60 something stuck-up bitch. Ironically, she always wore an expression on her face as if she had a fart permanently under her nose.

Nearly gagging, she asked was the smell was. I was about to come clean and say I had a bad stomach (a boring, but safe excuse) when she opened the fridge door and started sniffing like the old dog she was. Thankfully, she thought something had gone off in the fridge and completely cleaned it out – and I mean everything. She chucked everybody’s lunch away and sent a snotty email saying she’d take the fridge away if people didn’t maintain it. Several people went hungry that day and I had nearly condemned an innocent kitchen appliance to the scrapheap all because of my noxious arse.

It still brings a smile to my face even today. My brother once farted so bad it made a mate of mine sick. I was proud to have out trumped him so to speak.

If you think that I am a vile and distrusting human being, then I’ll be honest with you, this book is not for you. However, if you would like to shake my hand as a genius, then I suggest you download it now.

Happy farting people.

.

PS: If you visit my Facebook page, the legend that is Barry French has posted an additional and equally hilarious farting anecdote.

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

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my novel The Crew and as a consequence, have kept it at the top of the Amazon UK free sports book download charts for over a year now. That’s some record although it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone outside of my readership. Anyway, you’re all legends.

As I say, the third book in this series is on the way!

Hillsborough. The ugly truth everyone is avoiding.

Liverpool, 96, justice, Hillsborough

Out of respect for the families, I had no intention of commenting on the issue of Hillsborough primarily because everything I’ve had to say has been said in print many times.

However, having received a number of mails about it over the last 24 hours I’ve had a read back over some of the things I’ve written over the years some of which, it’s fair to say, have attracted a degree of criticism. Albeit primarily from people who have no concept of what it was like to be a travelling fan in the mid-80’s.

So let me say one thing, I stand by every single word and my conclusion remains the same. Because however you look at it, the ultimate responsibility for Hillsborough lies not with the thin blue line, the government or even Kelvin McKenzie, it lies with those of us who followed the game back then.

Specifically, everyone who ever threw a punch at a game, charged across a terrace, invaded a pitch, smashed up a high street or yes, who steamed a gate because they didn’t have a ticket.

It was the fault of the fans who laid waste to Europe whilst following England or their club in the 80’s, who caused the tragedy at Heysel or who were involved in any one of the countless football related deaths which had happened in previous years. Because they, we, are the reason why football pitches were surrounded by horrific steel fences and the reason why, on April 15th 1989, the police had become so jaundiced against football fans that they couldn’t or wouldn’t recognise the difference between crushing and fighting.

Yes, there were clearly huge flaws in the police operation and it is about time that those responsible were held to account and that the families gain the justice that they have so valiantly fought for. But those of us who either played our part in dragging the game down to that point or who simply sat back and watched while others did it are equally guilty.

And we should all feel slightly ashamed of ourselves today. I know I do.

RIP the 96.

.

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

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

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

The real Olympic legacy?

oral sex, anal sex, football, sportOK, I’ll admit it. I’ve been consumed by Olympic fever. Not just because of the fantastic spectacle the games are providing (and I think the Paralympics are going to be just as amazing) but because of the impact they are having on the nation.

We’re ‘up’ again. Everyone’s having a great time, everyone’s happy and everyone is actually talking to each other. I love that, love it.

And as someone on Radio 5 said the other day, that should be the true legacy of these games. The fact that Great Britain has stopped being consumed by anger and distrust and has suddenly remembered how to be kind, helpful and friendly again. Oh that it continues. Indeed, I think we should all as individuals take it upon ourselves to ensure it does.

We can’t moan about people being grumpy bastards when we’re acting no better ourselves and as my wonderful old nan used to say, manners cost nothing.

Of course the great hope is that the games will leave all kinds of legacies on the country ranging from a swell in Patriotism (please god!!!) to increased participation in sport (amen to that!) but there is one legacy increasing numbers of people are hoping for and that relates to football.

For decades now the great game has been untouchable at the pinnacle of British sport. It’s the great spectacle, the great passion, the great love. The result being that it has achieved a level of importance which is totally out of kilter with reality. The status afforded to those involved coupled with the money some of them are being paid brings new meaning to the word ridiculous.

At some point that has to stop, or be stopped. After all, all of the money swilling through the trough that is football ultimately comes from our pockets. Be it in gate receipts, TV subscriptions or any one of a million ways the game uses to part us from our cash. Too much of that goes out of the game into the tax-avoiding bank accounts of players who aren’t actually worth a tenth of what they get paid and agents who are little more than villains.

But we all know that. We’ve always known that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my football and I have a great deal of admiration for those who play it (even if I think as individuals, some of them are lacking in pretty much everything) but comparatively speaking, the great game is lacking way behind in all kinds of things. Perspective and morals being just two.

Yet because it is ‘the great game’ we not only continue to stand idly by while these things go on but we actually grant those at the centre of this scandal elitist status within our population. And with that status secure, there has never been any need let alone desire to reform.

Now, thanks to the Olympics, that may finally change because football’s position at the top of the sporting tree isn’t so secure anymore.

The atmosphere, so long one of the major USP’s for football, has been matched if not surpassed at pretty much every Olympic event and better still, it’s been devoid of any hatred. The TV coverage has been unsurpassed, customer service exemplary and best of all, the desire for tickets to attend even previously unheard of sports has bordered on fanatical.

But most importantly of all, to see sportsmen and women competing for the joy of competing as opposed to being consumed by anger and greed has been a revelation. Answer me this. Who would you rather have dinner with? Ashley Cole or Sir Chris Hoy? I rest my case.

So if the Olympics leave one legacy behind, it’s the hope that people finally accept that there is an alternative to football in terms of spectacle and that there are other sports out there which can be as, if not more exciting than the great game. And those sports all without exception, provide value for money to those who go to watch them live.

That’s my hope. Not least because it might finally give football the long overdue reality check it so desperately needs.

*

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

My new comedy novel Wings of a Sparrow is currently being rewritten ahead of release (standard practice sadly) but should be ready to download fairly soon.

The tale of a football fan who inherits his local rivals, it’s best described as Brewsters Millions meets Fever Pitch and has been great fun to write to I hope you’re going to enjoy it.

Indeed, thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it, whatever I’m doing, is working!

Thanks folks.

Dear Daily Mail, an open letter from an ex-reader.

A genuine role model
Amen!

Dear Daily Mail,

Re: the photograph on the left.

As I type this, Britain is enjoying what will surely go down as one of the great events of the modern age. Coming 12 months after the world saw the very worst this country has to offer being conducted by the very worst our society has to offer, we are now seeing Britain at its very, very best.

Our nation is full of joy and optimism, our athletes are quite simply astonishing and each day brings things we never thought we would ever see. And as if that isn’t enough, we have the Paralympics to come. Surely as wonderful an example of the triumph of the human spirit as anyone could hope for.

You look at all that, all this and it’s clear, Britain really is Great. Despite the best efforts of Labour it always was and always will be. TeamGB, that sums it up perfectly.

Yet the truth is that this is the tip of the iceberg and that iceberg has been gently drifting along for decades driven by the quiet resolve that is middle England.

From our amazing troops to the women of the WRVS and a million points between , this country of ours has always been full of hope, goodness and inspiration. And this brings me to my point.

Why is it that you feel the need to ignore these good people and their amazing stories and instead feed us a daily dose of crap? Why do you assume that anyone has any interest in page upon page of PR spin about airheads who have contributed little or nothing to the fabric of this country?

Yet every single day you dish up a diet of bullshit about The Only Way is Essex and Big Brother as if the people involved are somehow important. Newsflash: they aren’t and they never will be.

Furthermore, why do you assume anyone cares about Imogen Thomas, Sophie Anderton, Katie Price or any other of the myriad of nomarks who fill your ‘news’ paper every single fucking day? Most of them might as well be names in a phone directory for all the meaning they have to me and I’m certainly not going to waste time reading about them in an effort to find out who they are because chances are I won’t care anyway.

And why this fascination with the Kardashian family? From what I can tell all they are is a bunch of good looking dysfunctionals who have somehow managed to manipulate the media into thinking they have some kind of value. Manipulation which you have clearly fallen for because they actually don’t. They are only a story because you make them a story!

The Daily Mail was once a great news paper. Sadly, thanks to a seemingly fanatical desire to avoid listening to its readership, it has become little more than a down market version of OK magazine and you should be ashamed.

Look at the photo to the top left of this post because it says everything the people of this nation feel. When we are in positive mode, we are untouchable and as you may have noticed, we like being in positive mode.

If you follow that message and give us positivity, maybe I and the many thousands of others who have deserted you will come back.

Respectfully yours.

Dougie Brimson

 

Thanks to everyone for what’s going on book wise at the moment but for those who don’t know, I’m currently dominating the football book download charts of both Amazon and iTunes with books at #1 on both free and paid charts. On top of that, of the top 36 soccer books on iTunes, 8 are my titles.

However you look at it and whatever I’m doing, it’s working!

Thanks folks.

My miserable blogging performance.

Grovelling apologies for my lack of blogs lately. I could throw myself on your mercy and beg forgiveness but if you know anything about me, you’d know it wouldn’t be sincere anyway so I won’t bother.

Suffice to say, I’ve been snowed under finishing off Wings of a Sparrow which is now scarily close to completion and looks awesome. I just hope you lot like it because as I always say, my readers are the most important people of all. Without you guys buying books, I don’t eat!

 

On which note, heartfelt thanks to everyone who has kept The Crew at number one for pretty much 9 straight months now.

crew, violence, racism, racist, anal sex, oral sex, necrophilia,
The Crew. Still #1 after 9 months on the Amazon charts!

I’m staggered and not a little humbled by this success as well as by the equally brilliant performance of Top Dog. As a consequence, as soon as Wings of a Sparrow hits the marketplace I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans series.

I already have an idea for the story and trust me, it is an absolute cracker. And yes, there will of course be a huge twist at the end!

In fact I’m already excited at the prospect of getting to know Billy again. He really is a naughty boy! 🙂

Finally… my next movie project goes public! Soldier, Soldier.

I am delighted and not a little relieved to finally release brief details of my next movie project.

Provisionally entitled ‘Solider, Soldier’ it centres on the rehabilitation of a British Muslim soldier who loses both legs as well as his best mate in an IED incident in Afghanistan and touches on all kinds of issues ranging from family loyalties to the problems faced by Muslims fighting in the British Army.

The script has been written by myself with additional writing by my old friend Clare Perry and is being produced by Rakha Singh who made ‘The Killing of John Lennon’. The awesome David Blair who made the brilliant ‘Accused’ series for the BBC will direct.

We are currently looking at casting but former Eastenders star Ace Bhatti will play the lead role and since the plan is to film in Bradford, we have been lucky enough to secure an agreement from local MP George Galloway to play a cameo role.

Financing is well under way and I will of course release more details as and when I can.

Exciting times!

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

BTW, continued thanks to all of you who are keeping The Crew at number 1 in both the Amazon and iTunes football charts. It’s held the top slot for pretty much 8 solid months now and that’s entirely thanks to you lot.

Work on the third book in the trilogy will commence as soon as Wings of a Sparrow is complete and that won’t be long now. Honest guv.

 

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

Why today is the real test for EURO 2012.

Come on England!

So, it’s underway. Thus far the games have all been great and thankfully we’ve seen barely any of the racism that was so feared pre-tournament.

What we have seen however, are sporadic incidents of violence but of course that was always going to happen wasn’t it. After all, why else are we seeing so many riot police on the streets of the host nations?

And this of course begs the question; why so much talk of one potential problem and so little of the very real one? After all, there have been thousands of inches of print and hour upon hour of television expended on racism whilst the very real threat of hooliganism has received barely a mention in comparison despite the fact that far more people are at risk of being caught up in violence than of being racially abused.

The reason of course, is that the pre-tournament media needed to fill space be it on paper, on line or on air and racism fits the bill perfectly. It is in many ways, the perfect story because we all understand it to be wrong which means that they can say pretty much whatever they like and hype it for all it’s worth sure in that there is no one to provide any kind of contra argument let alone complain.

Conversely, no one cares that some Ukrainian nutter is spewing forth dire warnings of what might happen should any Englishman dare step onto their soil because we all know that such threats are laughable, the media more than most. But they are also well aware that going into hoolie-mode might well attract the wrath of both the FA and the government and why risk that?

No, hooliganism is only news when something happens and then it’s suddenly big news. Occasionally, very big and very bad news.

In many ways, that’s why today is the big test for this tournament. We talk a lot about the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Russians, et al, but thanks to history and our domestic football culture, the English will inevitably always be at the centre of any discussion about hooliganism. They will also be the target. Not just for the local hooligans (and for ‘local’ read Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Croatians, etc, etc) but for those who seek to soil our nations reputation and undo all the good work that has been done to change the negative perception of our travelling support.

That to me is a real worry. Let’s face it, there are plenty of journalists who would be happy to do whatever it takes to hand Mr Platini our collective heads on a plate and there are certainly enough policemen out there willing to help them do the job. With UEFA hardly being our biggest fans, finding ourselves standing in the dock in front of them is not an attractive proposition.

Don’t get me wrong and make no mistake, England might not travel abroad looking for trouble these days but there are plenty of lads amongst their number who won’t back away if it kicks off. However, those lads are also old hands who know the score and they are well aware of the bigger picture. They know better than anyone how to read an atmosphere but the problems arise when they are placed in a situation where backing off or chilling out isn’t an option left open to them.

As I write this, the majority of the England fans are in place, the sun is shining, the beer’s already flowing and the Police are twitchy. As the day progresses, it may well get more nervy and with our game over early, the fans will have a long evening ahead of them.

Oh yes, tonight is the first real test for this tournament. It’s also a huge test for our reputation. Let’s hope everyone passes it.