Tag Archives: money

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?

Screw the unemployed, let’s support the bloody employed!

*I wrote this blog in July 2011 and sadly, on the day Mr Osbourne is due to release his latest attempt to decimate the public services that we. the tax payer, actually fund, it seems more pertinent than it did back then. Progress?*
At the top of this page is written the simple phrase “you all know I’m right so look deep inside yourself and summon the courage to admit it.”

Now some people might perceive this as my being slightly arrogant however this is not the case. I use that as a header simply because it is true and the reaction to my previous blog about people making the choice to sponge/steal from the rest of us by living on benefits confirms it. Indeed, not a single person has disagreed with me.

So with that in mind, I’d like to continue along that path just once more. And it will only be the once because to be honest, I’m not sure my blood pressure could stand another bout of thinking about it. You see the other morning as I was listening to some MP or other ranting on about the state of the nation, another benefit related thought struck me. And it was this:

Saddled with the legacy of Labours ridiculous spending policies and a reported £170 billion a year welfare bill, the current government are being forced to make some drastic decisions. The public sector is being decimated with all kinds of people being made redundant (including members of the Armed Forces even though we’re currently engaged in two major conflicts in case anyone had forgotten) whilst the private sector is undergoing seemingly ever increasing hardships as a result of all kinds of exterior pressures ranging from increased fuel prices to the instability of the financial markets.

In short, we’re in the shit and to address it, the entire country is going to have to keep calm and carry on (to coin a phrase).

There is however, one area of the UK economy who have remained immune from what’s been going on and will apparently remain so; the unemployed. For them, that cheque has continued to drop on the mat every fortnight and it will continue to do so irrespective of the cost to the tax payer (that’s you and me).

Now can someone explain to me, how is that right?

I’m not saying for one second that the majority of unemployed men and women wouldn’t give their right arm to be employed or that everyone is

An unemployed man

claiming the dole by choice. That’s not what this is about. This is about fairness pure and simple. When hard working tax-payers are being hammered on an almost daily basis, why are the unemployed not sharing in the nations pain? And how better to do that than to apply an across the board 5% reduction in unemployment benefit.

It makes perfect sense. If the cuts are about saving money then surely the obvious thing to do is to cut back on one of your biggest expenses. Not by sneaking around trying to catch people out but by simply cutting the amount you are paying out. And let’s be brutally honest, a cut in unemployment benefit might surely encourage people to actually take jobs which they have thus far thought of as ‘demeaning’ or too low paid and as a result, put something back into the country too many of them are happily screwing over.

Most importantly of all, it would prove that this government are actually thinking about what’s going on and show the tax-paying British public that when they say that we’re all in this together, they actually mean it. Because to me, at this moment in time, it doesn’t feel like that at all.

Is that being too simplistic? Or is it simply stating the bloody obvious?

PS: I have already had a number of posts agreeing with me and suggesting 5% is a tad too low. 10 if not 15% being closer to what people would like to see together with a time limit for claimants! A nice idea in theory although I’m not sure it would work in practice.

I’d far rather see a programme relating to earning UB such as cleaning up the local community, working with the elderly, etc, etc. Although no doubt the do-gooders of this world would consider this demeaning. Which kind of takes us back to the previous blog!

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.

The Cost of Football…. part one

Cost of football

In spite of the fact that I have followed football all my life and spent over a decade observing and writing about those who follow it, it is rare indeed that anyone asks me about anything related to the game itself which does not involve lads kicking the crap out of each other.

Therefore, I was slightly surprised to be contacted by a journalist the other night and asked to comment on the increasing furore surrounding the massive hike in season ticket prices at some clubs.

I suspect that the interviewer was expecting me to launch into a rabid tirade about the exploitation of football fans by money grabbing club chairmen and the evil Murdoch empire because they were not a little shocked when my response was pretty much exactly the opposite to that.

Now I know what I am about to write will horrify some people because it will, to be fair, be the very last thing they would expect to hear from me. However, the truth is that I’m of the opinion that the only reason football is expensive is because as an entity, fans have allowed it to become so.

Since the formation of the Premier League and the switch from sport to entertainment, those involved with the financial side of football have been gradually edging things toward the tipping point where it all goes horribly wrong. Yet incredibly, in spite of the desperate state of the nations finances and the continued horror at the obscene wages being paid to players,  that tipping point seems further away than ever. And the reason for that is quite simple. It’s because whilst football fans have long understood that they are being screwed over, they are too stupid or lazy to do anything about it.

Argue that all you like but it is an undeniable fact.

After all, no one forces anyone to buy a season ticket nor are we dragged kicking and screaming to a cashpoint to pay for Sky Sports. Like anything in life we all have the right to say no but when it comes to football, that right is rarely ever exercised. The result being that the game has carte blanche to continue on its inevitably self-destructive course unhindered.

Football Rebellion

The real worry of course, is what will happen when it does finally tip over the edge and implodes. For sure football will never die but could it ever recapture the power it holds at the moment? Or are we likely to see more clubs follow the amazing example of clubs such as AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester as detailed so vividly in my book Rebellion (and you can buy that by visiting http://amzn.to/kC6L6d).

Time will tell I guess but whatever the outcome, the reality is that the only people to blame for whatever is looming on the distant horizon are you and me.