Tag Archives: Military

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.

 

The Riots…. part two

I don’t really know where to begin with this. Like many people I am both furious and dismayed by the scenes I have witnessed on my television over the last few days.

Equally, I am disgusted by the attempts of supposedly intelligent people to try to justify the riots as some kind of legitimate rebellion against the government. What total and utter bollocks. There is no excuse and there never can be. Because the root causes of these riots lie in the breakdown of the values that this country was founded on; family, respect, right and wrong. It really is as simple as that.

As I wrote yesterday (and as the deputy leader of the Met and the Home Secretary repeated about 12 hours later) all of those involved are sons, daughters, brothers, neighbours, etc. Where on earth did some of these mothers think their children were at that time of night? And when they did eventually crawl home, where did they think they had been?

But equally, the lack of respect for the forces of law and order sends shivers down my spine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the old bill generally (a sentiment forged by years of football and motoring experiences) but they have a tough job to do and deserve our admiration. However, it was clear from what I saw last night that they are obviously not getting it from sections of the community who clearly thought that not only were they untouchable, but that they would never get caught.

Hopefully, with so many cameras on our streets and many already in custody, the majority of them will not only be named and shamed, but hauled before the courts and dealt with to the full extent of the law. However, this does not deal with the most pressing issue.

When people are involved in what amounts to civil disorder, I, as a citizen of this once great country, want the police to wade in and batter those responsible. Not for revenge but to let them know that if they don’t fuck off and sharpish, they are actually going to get hurt.

Sadly, like the military in such situations the police are governed by the rule of minimum force. For the police, what this actually means is that they can use whatever force they feel necessary in a situation but they must be confident that they can justify this in a court of law.

Now as we have seen all too often, that is an incredibly restrictive rule because the risks are immense. And clearly, over the last few nights, we have seen the impact of that with police holding back when the obvious (and possibly best) thing to do would be to wade in and batter a few people to show force and intent to those causing mayhem.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see that rule relaxed in certain situations. It’s not about revenge or anything like it but it is about the protection of the law-abiding individual and their property. That can only happen if we allow the police to actually uphold the rule of law by taking whatever steps are necessary in such situations and if they could do that, then we wouldn’t need to be screaming blue murder for water cannon or the Army.

Because the truth is that the bulk of people involved in these riots –like all people involved in such riots- are cowards and the knowledge that they might well end up on the receiving end of a few batons courtesy of the thin blue line would almost certainly be enough to make them behave.

A far from ordinary life!

Not so long ago, someone contacted me and suggested that I should consider writing my autobiography.

Primarily because I doubt anyone would actually be interested in what passes for my life let alone the fact that hopefully, I’m only half way through my time amongst you mere mortals, I initially dismissed this idea. However, it did get me thinking about some of the things that have happened to me over the years because it’s fair to say that I am one of those people that ‘things’ seem to happen to.

Of course ‘things’ covers a multitude of sins and whilst it is fair to say that many of my experiences over the years are by my own design (and for that read ‘fault’), others seem to be guided by exterior forces. Indeed, I’ve long believed myself to be little more than a Subbutteo man being flicked around by some other entity for their own amusement.

Now whilst this has made my life thus far extremely interesting, there is an inherent problem attached to being someone who experiences ‘things’ and that is that when I look back on them, I do occasionally struggle to believe that some of them actually happened at all. And if I struggle, how on earth could I relate the tale to anyone else and expect them to believe it?

What makes it worse is that often, these ‘things’ involve detailed and quite lengthy explanations. Many of which are themselves of such a bizarre nature that they themselves, fall into the ‘are you sure?’ category.

For example, I know exactly why and how a very famous gravestone was liberated from it’s ‘home’ and ended up crossing the channel but the whole tale is so outlandish (not to mention hilarious) that if I were to relate it in a bar full of lads, I’d be marked down as a simple bullshitter.

Others however, are similarly bizarre yet more easily explainable but the sheer quantity and variety are certainly beyond the scale any normal person would expect to endure in a normal lifetime and would, if committed to print, indicate that I am some kind of Forrest Gump figure and I’m not sure I fancy that tag!

So for now at least, the idea of an autobiography will remain firmly on the back burner. However, in the interests of fair play, what follows are a selection of facts about my life all of which have tales attached to them and which if nothing else, might go some way toward explaining why I have ended up as I have!

  • I’ve only ever been arrested once and that was for theft of my own property from my own motor vehicle (!). I have however, been arrested twice on ‘The Bill’
  •  I was almost certainly the first person in the west to know about the Chernobyl disaster (it’s an RAF thing)
  • I once ended up in court as a defence witness in a case against someone who was accused of assaulting me (think about it for a second)
  • I’ve seen not one, but three planes crash.
  • I have stood inside the remains of a building which is possibly the most evil place on earth.
  • I was booked on the ‘Spirit of Free Enterprise when it sank outside Zeebrugge but cancelled the trip at the last minute.
  • I’ve had numerous experiences of the ghostly kind over the years!
  • I once had a German policeman point a gun at my forehead and switch the safety catch to ‘off’
  • I’ve had two mates die in front of me. Both as a result of motorbikes.
  • I’m afraid of heights. And by afraid, I mean terrified.
  • I once stole a parrot.
  • I inserted 14 things into Green Street which are either ‘in-jokes’ or refer to something very personal and they all made it onto the screen. Some will forever remain a secret. I also put some into Top Dog and We Still Kill The Old Way.
  • I used to sell condoms for a living.
  • I was once trapped in my car for 24 hours during a snow storm.
  • I’ve been a guest at Buckingham Palace three times.
  • I’ve flown a Harrier jump jet. A real one, not a simulator!
  • I have never taken, sniffed or smoked any kind of illegal substance!
  • I appear in the James Bond movie, Goldeneye and once had a screen test as a potential presenter of ‘Top Gear’
  • I have only been a best man once and that was at a same sex wedding (and it was brilliant!)

Phew……! And that’s only a few of the ones I can tell you about!!!

*As you might have noticed, I have updated this from the original which was first published in 2010!*

The Wasted Years (I think not!)

Like many people, I am at my happiest when I’m sitting down and doing bugger all. There is, as I’m sure you’ll agree, something incredibly gratifying about doing nothing.

Indeed, it is fair to say that these days, having passed the magic five-zero, the avoidance of work, be it paid or domestic, doesn’t just give me huge amounts of pleasure, it’s actually a source of pride. Something that the half built brick barbecue in my back garden stands as a monument to.

I actually first grasped the concept of idleness whilst serving in the Royal Air Force. For having worked hard for years and got nowhere, I suddenly realised that all of my immediate bosses were lazy so-and-so’s who were getting all the praise –and wages- while mugs like me did all the graft. However, in the forces, it’s not regarded as being idle, it’s celebrated as delegation. And once I embraced that idea, with both hands I might add, I pretty soon found myself flying up that promotion ladder.

Tragically, outside the confines of HM Forces, things weren’t so easy. I soon learnt that being expected to actually work for a living wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. And I could never escape the idea that someone was driving around in a Aston Martin which I had paid for. I wasn’t happy with that at all, hence, the move into writing. It was the only occupation I could think of which allowed me to work from home, for myself and remain sitting down all day.

Of course, I quickly discovered that being a writer does have other advantages. The most obvious of which was that I was able to justify my love of lounging around as either ‘thinking time’ or ‘clearing my head’ time. Both things for which, somewhat ironically, daytime TV is perfectly suited. After all, I have to get inspiration from somewhere. And if you watch This Morning long enough, sooner or later, every known form of life is going to pass by in front of your eyes. Watch MTV and you’re mind goes blank in minutes.

Sadly, my wife has always been wise to this. And as time passes, and her life as a full-time mother, housewife and carer to her husband shows no sign of easing up, she is becoming increasingly irritated at my pathetic attempts to justify watching Sky Sports or reading Zoo at times when I should be working.

And, it is fair to say that for a while, I started to feel a degree of sympathy for her case. Because the truth is, I have never really been inspired by either The Real Deal or Loose Women. And although the gloriously wonderful Holly Willoughby merits a fantasy-laden mention in my next movie, I hardly need to watch This Morning every day.

However, recently I have had not one, but two odd experiences. Both of which made me realize that not only might my pangs of guilt be misplaced, but that maybe my commitment to time wasting has not been in vain.

The first of them happened in Manchester. I had ventured North for some reason or another and was returning to the sanctuary of the South when, upon my arrival at Piccadilly Station, I was greeted by the stench and noise that can only be created by that relic of the so-called good old days, a steam engine. Of course, realizing that such a machine was in residence, my heart sank. For I knew exactly what was coming and sure enough, as I walked around the corner, I couldn’t see the beast for the hoards of middle-aged saddo’s pointing and muttering excitedly about piston sizes and boiler pressures. These weren’t your ordinary feeble part-time trainspotters you see standing on the platform at Euston with a notepad in one hand and a flask of tea in the other. These were the real deal hard-core spotters of the type who wear sleeveless anoraks covered in small metal badges and smell of meths. But as I watched what was going on, in a kind of detached bewilderment, it struck me as decidedly odd that in this day and age, not only could grown men be whipped up into an almost orgasmic frenzy by the sight of a simple machine, but that they would want to be.

Then, two weeks later, for reasons to banal to relate, I had to endure a day at an old RAF airfield in Gloucestershire. As we were having a coffee in a café in the control tower, I happened to notice a group of elderly chaps in stained overalls, sitting in the corner and arguing over an old book. Being naturally nosey (it goes with the job) I soon learnt that they were aircraft enthusiasts in the middle of restoring an old De Haviland Comet. And they were having a heated discussion about the markings on a particular fuse box. Believe it or not, the book they were using contained the actual manufacturers drawings. It was a picture of tragedy.  

Reflecting on this and the Manchester experience as I headed homeward, the thought suddenly struck me that not only were all the people involved in the fuse box debate men, but that you never see any female trainspotters. And then I began to consider the possibility that maybe something else was going on. Maybe the people who indulge in these most unfathomable of practices do so not because they’re sad loners, but because it’s something to do with their spare time. And why on earth would anyone need to fill time? Isn’t it obvious? 

These poor men aren’t sad, they’re victims. Driven out of their own homes by bitter women who refuse to sit back and allow them the luxury of enjoying their hard earned time-off in the comfort of their own homes. Think about it. It makes perfect sense. I mean, why else would blokes have sheds? They’re the only space in the house that they can call their own!

So, having deliberated over this at length, I have decided that rather than feel guilty about being idle, the fact that I am able to spend most of my time here in my own home at all should be regarded as a moral victory. And while it might not appear that I’m doing much, at least I’m happy which is the most important thing.

 My wife may not like that, but maybe if I explain it to her just one more time………