The two main reasons why Brazil 2014 went so horribly wrong for the English.


brazil, germany, football, writing, author, sex, goal

So that’s that then. Another world cup done and dusted.

Thankfully, as it should be, the best team won. Talented, efficient and deadly when the chips were down, Germany were a joy to watch. Everything in fact, that England were not. Nor I fear, ever will be.

But for me, as someone who for all kinds of reasons took an age to get into the tournament, Brazil 2014 wasn’t actually about the football at all, it was about the TV coverage. Because let’s face it, it was pretty dire and ultimately, for me at least, that was entirely down to two men.

For the BBC, the name which caused my heart to sink wasn’t Phil Neville or even Robbie Savage, it was Mark Lawrenson. A man who is so far past his sell by date, he’d look out of place in an episode of Lovejoy.

Now I admit, I don’t often watch Match of the Day and when I do it’s usually recorded so I can zip through the boring bits (or as I call it, most of it) so my recent experience of ‘Lawro’ is generally limited to views of him at three times normal speed. Yet even then he’s dull, at normal speed, he’s simply painful.

I know he was a great player once but it was at a time when most of the players he talks ‘knowingly’ about weren’t even born so does he really have any relevance now? Especially with that irritating voice and his endless stream of inane drivel.

Which brings us nicely to ITV. I mean, where do you start with Adrian Childs? Personally, I didn’t. Or rather, I couldn’t.

I’m hardly best placed to talk about looks, and I’m quite fond of midlanders so I’m seemingly in a minority when I say that his accent doesn’t bother me that much. But the fact is that watching Childs is like watching a 90 minute long YouTube compilation of Russian dash cam footage. You know something bad is going to happen, you just don’t know what or when.

So my verdict on Brazil? Like the FA and our illustrious national team manager, our television broadcasters must be doing much better by the time Russia 2018 hoves into view. Although hopefully, all three teams will be altogether different by then. And by different I mean competent and entertaining.

Much like the Germans in fact.

wings-of-a-sparrow-final.png

 

My latest novel, Wings of a Sparrow is now available in both eBook and paperback format.

 

 

 

 

writing, author, screenwriting, greenstreet, top dog, elijah wood, brazil 2014, germany, argentina, sex. porn, BBC, ITV, Talksport, veterans, football, soccer, USA

 

 

Funny is as funny does.


facebook, twitter, social media, author, screenwriting, sex, racism, violenceFor some reason, I seem to get asked an awful lot of questions. Most are inevitably linked to writing or football but others range from requests to be introduced to people I barely even know to enquiries about just how far I would like my head shoved up my arse. However, the other day a question arrived via Facebook which ended up causing me all sorts of angst. Not because of what it wanted to know, but because of what I replied. For in response to ‘are you Rolf Harris’s love child?’ my reply was ‘if I am, my mum has some serious questions to answer’.

Now to me, this is bog standard banter and whilst it might not exactly be in the best of tastes, it soon became apparent that a few people were pretty much disgusted by it. To them, I wasn’t being funny, I was actually belittling the subject of child abuse. A charge which to my mind, says more about them than it does about me.

However, as the PM’s poured in and I dug a little deeper into the backgrounds of those who were having a dig (as I tend to do under the ‘know your enemy’ rule), it dawned on me that there was a fundamental difference between me and the majority of the people who had got the hump. One which was reinforced by a steady stream of messages which started to arrive asking me what all the fuss was about.

For like most of the people who posted their support, I am an ex-serviceman, and the bulk of the people who were criticising me were not.

Reflecting on this later on, it struck me that this was a perfect illustration of a simple truth. One you will see as plain as day in any documentary about the armed forces. For it is a stone cold fact that one of the things which binds the military together is the ability to find humour in pretty much anything.

That isn’t just true of the forces of course (you’ll certainly find a similar sense of humour on the terraces) but what is unique to the military is that the development of a dark sense of humour is actively encouraged because it is one of the most invaluable tools an individual can have in their armoury. After all, how better to cope with extremes, be they emotional or operational, than to be able to laugh about them? 

That’s not to say there aren’t boundaries because there are. But they are often very different from those you would expect to encounter in a wholly civilian environment and it’s safe to say that amongst the military the concepts of both good taste and political correctness are frequently set aside in the quest for a laugh to lighten a mood or a situation. 

Indeed, when I wrote Our Boy, much of which takes place in a military hospital, I was extremely careful to get the dark humour element absolutely bang on. So much so in fact that many of the one liners in the script were actually given to me by lads who’d spent time at Headley Court recovering from injuries the like of which few of us can even begin to comprehend. 

Of course when you leave the military, most people will retain that dark sense of humour and whilst on a day to day basis we are able to reign it in, when it comes to something like Facebook it’s all too easy to slip back into old ways, especially when you’re interacting with other veterans. 

However, when it comes to social media where the boundaries of good taste are at best cloudy and at worst non-existent and you are actually pulling back from lines of decency as opposed to pushing forward to where you think they might be, how are you supposed to know what is and isn’t acceptable? The truth is that you can’t, all you can do is play safe. But that is surely the cowards way out. Humour is after all, supposed to push boundaries and as someone who is and will continue to be quite outspoken about the concept of political correctness, I’m certainly more than happy to stick with my own self-imposed boundaries of good taste as opposed to those which convention or the liberal left impose on me.

But the more I thought about this, the more I started to consider how far apart my personal line of decency might be from those of others I interact with via the web and so I decided to do a little experiment. Last night, whilst Germany were busy demolishing Brazil, I began posting increasingly provocative things on both twitter and Facebook to gauge the response each would get and more importantly, where it would come from.

The one which caused the most furore was ‘The last Brazilian to have that many shots fired at him was at Stockwell Tube station’ which attracted all kinds of comments ranging from ‘that’s brilliant’ to ‘you are a disgusting human being’.

Now to be fair, I did actually hesitate when posting that as even I thought it was close to the mark. I also apologised for it immediately afterwards (and did so again 15 minutes or so later. Far be it from me to be hypocritical!) however, to say it was an illuminating exercise is an understatement. 

For not only did it reinforce pretty much everything I had suspected about banter and social media, it also underlined in thick black pen one very simple truth and that is that a sense of humour is as much a product of our own upbringing and environment as any other aspect of our personality.  

Or to put it another way, just because you don’t personally find something funny doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

PS: If you think that was the worst joke about Brazil I heard last night, you are sadly mistaken. But even I have lines of decency I won’t cross!

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All of my books are available via Amazon by clicking here.

 

 

This Band of Brothers…


argentina, falklands war, thatcher, royal airforce, nimrod, vulcan, harrierToday is the 6th of June. A date which in the history of the world, will forever hold a special significance. For it is of course, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, and I hope you don’t need me to tell you what that means.

For me, such days are memorable for all kinds of reasons. Remembering the fallen is obviously the most important but not far behind is the joy I get from seeing those glorious old men and women who, bedecked in their berets, blazers and medals, are placed firmly centre stage and looked upon with the awe, reverence and respect they so richly deserve.

Heroes is too small a word.

Now as some of you may know, I served in the military. For over 18 years in fact. And although I played a minor role in the Falklands War, went through Gulf War One and have marched past the Cenotaph with the Falklands Vets more times than I care to remember, I have never really considered myself to be a ‘proper’ veteran. At least not in the sense that I have always regarded those who are quite rightly filling our newspapers and TV screens this morning.

However, (and I won’t go into it all now but if you want to know more, click here) this last week, for the very first time in the 18 years since I last wore a uniform, I have actually started to feel like one of them. A member of that special Band of Brothers we hear talked about so often.  And ironically, I have Mister Stanley Collymore to thank for that.

veteranFor as a result of the disrespect he has shown, and continues to show, to the 255 men whose boots he isn’t fit to even glance upon, he has awakened an army which has come together to gain not just respect, but justice but for our fallen comrades.

And believe me when I tell you that we will not rest until they get it. A simple truth Talksport, media organisations, elected officials and Talksport advertisers will already be acutely aware of.

Yes, I said ‘our’ and I said ‘we’. Because the truth is that I am finally not only happy, but proud to count myself amongst their number.

Tally ho chaps!

falklands, veteran, war, soldier, sailor, airman, RAF, Navy, racism, social media, twitter, Facebook, football, soccer,

Why Falklands veterans are at war, with Collymore.


military, veterans, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport

Last weekend, ex-footballer and radio pundit Stan Collymore posted the tweet you can see on the left of this page.

Now aside from being factually inaccurate, it is also offensive. Not just to me as a Falklands veteran, but to a sizeable number of the veteran community, their families and a great many ‘civilians’ who support the UK’s Armed Forces. For it was tweeted on the 32nd anniversary of the sinking of both HMS Coventry and The Atlantic Conveyor together with the loss of 31 souls.

Although Mr. Collymore deleted it fairly soon afterwards, along with a number of other equally offensive if not illegal tweets, he was too late for it had already been screen grabbed and widely circulated. Many people, including The Falkland Islands government, became angry at the disrespect shown to the 255 who died during the South Atlantic conflict and began voicing that anger on twitter with many asking for an apology.

However, despite being someone who has been quite vociferous in his call for personal accountability with regard to the use of social media, ironically as a result of offence aimed at him via twitter, these requests were met with distain and even an accusation that we, as a group, were in the wrong for taking the tweet out of context.

Now I could go on, but I don’t need to. The background (and whole lot more!) to this can be found in these two blogs. I would urge you to read them both.

Veteran to Veteran

Mad Doggers and British Men

Now, as I type this over a week later, over 20,000 veterans and equally outraged citizens are have come together on Facebook and are waging an online war against both Mr. Collymore and his primary employer, Talksport.

bbc, falklands, match of the day, MOTDI have been told that on the two occasions he has appeared on air, the station’s twitter and email feeds almost went into meltdown whilst the phone lines were blocked with angry callers. In addition, news that he had been signed to appear on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 next season resulted in the corporation being deluged with complaints to such an extent that it was forced to issue a statement that contrary to reports, Mr. Collymore had not been booked for any appearances.

Many people simply want an apology (and possibly a donation to a suitable military charity) but the majority want his removal from the airwaves altogether. But thus far, aside from threats of legal action from Mr. Collymore against all sorts of people including ironically the BBC, the silence has been deafening.

Quite what happens next will be interesting to say the least. But one thing is certain, the veteran community is coming together like never before and they are seriously pissed.

Watch this space.

If you would like to know more, you can hear Simon Weston and myself discussing the issue by clicking on this link to BBC Three Counties Radio. I am on at 2:06.00

 

military, veteran, forces, falklands war, writer, author, screenwriting, Thatcher, football, talksport, world cup, Brazil

From novel to screen – The joy of adaptation.


manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordWith Top Dog heading for release on Monday, the PR machine has been running at full speed and one question which has repeatedly cropped up is how I found the process of adapting my own novel for the screen.

Rather than go into it all here, I’ll point you in the direction of an article I wrote for PureMovies.com which not only goes into it in some depth, but also talks about how the movie actually came about.

Thankfully, the screenings thus far have gone really well and everyone seems more than happy which is all I could hope for. But now comes the really important bit and that’s the public reaction so if you fancy a look and haven’t ordered a copy, you can do so via Amazon. Either that or simply head down to your local DVD/Blu-ray retailer early next week.

All being well, the reissued paperback will be not far behind as copies have already rolled off the presses. That can also be ordered online via Amazon or if you can’t wait and fancy the eBook version, that can be downloaded right here right now for the princely sum of £1.99p! It’s also available via iBooks of course.

kill, indie, british film, hooligans, krays, violence, gangsAway from Top Dog, work on We Still Kill The Old Way is almost complete with the final scenes being shot in Spain early next week. I visited the set a couple of times and have to say that there was a real buzz amongst everyone that something really special is coming together.

It’s a great script, the crew are fabulous and it’s being helmed by an excellent director in Sacha Bennett but the really exciting thing about this project is the amazing cast we have working on it. A cast which includes legendary names such as Ian Ogilvy, James Cosmo, Chris Ellison, Steven Berkoff and Lysette Anthony as well as a raft of brilliant young actors led by Danny-Boy Hatchard and Danni Dyer.

If that lot doesn’t get your juices flowing, nothing will. You’re going to have to wait for a few months yet but believe me, it will be worth it.

Exciting times.

 

 green street, top dog, martin kemp, elijah wood, hooligans, gangs, violence, crime writing, indie film, writing, screenwriting, leo gregory, brimson, 

The time for football’s lip service is over. Why and how fans must force change.


football, soccer, protest, hooligans, european elections, UKIP, top dog, green street, author, screenwriting, writingFrom the issue of safe standing to the Justice for the 96 campaign, there has been much talk recently of the lack of supporter involvement in football. More specifically, discussions have focussed on the undeniable fact that the gap between the game and the fans is wider than it has ever been. The consequence being that the game continues to treat us more like a necessary evil rather than it’s greatest asset.

If you’ve read any of my books, you will know that I have very strong views on this aspect of the game and so, with the European Elections rapidly approaching, I thought it might be a good idea to publish an extract from my book, Barmy Army which outlines an idea which continues to excite people.

The fact it was first published 16 years ago and is as relevant now as it has ever been is a shameful reflection on the sport we follow.

Extract from Barmy Army (2000)

The difficulty here is how you involve the rank-and- file fans in the first place. For in the current climate, most football supporters feel a greater sense of alienation than ever before. Very few of us have any kind of coherent representation at our clubs and none of us have a voice at either the FA or within government, despite the fact that the game is totally reliant on us for its very survival.

We cannot rely on either the clubs or the FA to change their position with regard to customer relations of their own accord, and therefore pressure must be put on them to do so. We have two very powerful weapons at our disposal, but one of them we will never use and the other, for the moment at least, we cannot.

The first thing we could do is to hit the clubs where it hurts and boycott games. We could do that, but we never will. Like all addicts, we need our fix and to miss out on that, even on a point of principle, doesn’t bear thinking about. The alternative to boycotting the games altogether is to boycott the catering or even to get ourselves organised and follow the lead of the various Ultra groups in Italy, which we discussed earlier. That would send a clear message to the clubs that we were unhappy. If it went on for long enough, they might even be forced into action to resolve it – might being the operative word. For football is a stubborn beast and even if a club’s supporters were able to organise themselves, there is no guarantee that the directors would listen. Indeed, judging by some of the examples we have seen in recent years, at the first sign of supporter solidarity the average board simply digs in and does nothing.

So if we are to force action, then it must be done in a way which the clubs are unable to ignore. And in this country, every football fan over the age of 18 has something which those in authority have to take notice of. It’s called a vote.

A few years ago, I suggested the formation of a single issue political lobby group called the Football Party. Initially, the suggestion was that people would stand for their local council to give fans a say in issues that directly affected their local club. It was an approach that proved astonishingly successful in 1990 when supporters of Charlton Athletic FC formed The Valley Party in an ultimately successful campaign to get the club back to their spiritual home.

Such was the response, it quickly became apparent that many supporters believed that this local angle was an idea worth developing. But many people wrote to me and said we had to think big and aim higher. The more I thought about that, the more plausible the whole thing sounded. What finally convinced me that the concept of a national Football Party was a sound one was when I realised that the average local election generates a turnout of less that 40 per cent and that while over 12 million people voted for the Tories in the 1992 general election, approximately 25 million watched the England v Germany semi-final in Italia ’90. What this proved to me once and for all was that if you went canvassing around every pub, club, house and factory, and told the electorate that you were standing to give them a say within the football world, there’d undoubtedly be good support, and as soon as the established parties saw there were votes in it, their policies and actions would change so as to give football a kick up the arse.

As a result, I sat down and wrote out a manifesto, one aimed not just at local councils but also at general and European elections. It included four main points. First, the formation of an independent, credible and properly funded body to represent the views and opinions of football supporters from every level of the game; second, the appointment of supporters’ representatives to the committees of both the Football Association and the Football Trust; third, the appointment of an elected supporters’ representative to the board of every professional football club; and finally, the appointment of an ombudsman or regulator to oversee the activities of the Football Association, the Football Trust, the Premier League and its members, the Football League and its members and supporters’ groups.

In August 1998, when it was first released to the press and various supporters’ groups, the response was amazing. Yet sadly, the people I wanted to react, the football authorities and the government, paid it little heed. Undaunted, I carried on. More support poured in and the manifesto began to appear all over the Internet. I had enquiries about it from all over Europe and as far afield as Australia. It had certainly captured the imagination of supporters. However, the campaign eventually began to take its toll on me, both in terms of time and finances and I was forced to put it onto the back burner. But the idea is still very much alive and the very fact that so many people continue to respond to it proves that it is sound. It sure would rock the boat were it ever to come off.

The mere idea that football fans throughout the country could even consider voting for a fat git like me proves how desperate they are to be involved in the game they love. Every supporter has a role to play in the future of the game, and that doesn’t just apply to the hooligan issue but to every single aspect of football. Every major political party recognises that fact – which is, after all, why Tony Blair does so many stupid photo-calls – but still they do nothing about it. That is not good enough. If football will not provide us with a properly funded platform through which we can be heard and demand answers, then the government must make sure they do. And if they don’t, that’s when we should use our vote, because that is the one thing all politicians are truly scared of. All we need to do is to get organised; but how we actually do that is anyone’s guess.

Yet it has to happen. For only by wielding the immense power we as football fans have at our disposal will we ever see an end to the problems facing football, from the hooliganism issue and the asset-stripping to the financial incompetence, greed and sheer hypocrisy of those who supposedly run our game on our behalf. For too long now they have got away with shafting us. They have placed us in danger, sold our very game from under our feet and in far too many cases to note here, have walked away with bank accounts bursting at the seams with money that came out of our pockets. It’s not right and the time has come to do something about it.

If you want to read more on this, Barmy Army is available to download via this link. There is also more on the subject of football protest movement in my book, Rebellion which is available here.

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordAway from the issue of protests, I’m thrilled to tell you that the movie adaptation of my novel Top Dog won four awards at the recent British Independent Film Festival including best feature.

The DVD is available from Monday (26th May) via all decent retailers and to satisfy demand from people who don’t ‘do’ kindles, we are also reissuing the novel in print. That will hit the shelves within the next few weeks.

On top of that, work continues apace on We Still Kill The Old Way and indeed, we are actually in our last week of filming. If you’ve been following progress via Twitter and the like, you will know that it really is shaping up to be something special but I’ll tell you more about that another time.

All being well, the next project to hit the screens will be Wings of a Sparrow but as with all such things, it is dependent on finance. If you’ve read the book, you will hopefully know why I am so passionate about this and if you haven’t, why on earth not? It’s awesome!

green street, top dog, football, soccer, politics, screenwriting, film, author, writing, hooliganism, England, world cup, hillsborough, twitter, social media, facebook, 

Top Dog wins best feature at BIFF 2014.


top dog, spandau ballet, martin kemp, british film, leo gregory, hooligans, hooliganism, football, violence, gangs, the kraysIt’s not often I feel smug, but I certainly do this morning because last night, at the British Independent Film Festival in London’s Leicester Square, Top Dog, the movie I adapted from my own novel, took the best feature award.

Not only that, but Leo Gregory won best actor, Ricci Harnett won best supporting actor and in the face of stiff competition which included her Top Dog co-star, Dannielle Brent, Lorraine Stanley took home the best supporting actress award.

That’s not a bad haul by any standards and with everyone being so complimentary about the film, the inevitable nerves that have dogged me for weeks have been well and truly beaten into submission. As a result, I can start to enjoy being involved in the promotional side of things which is actually the bit I’ve been looking forward to most, primarily because I’ve never actually had any before! 

Top Dog is set for release at the end of this month with the reissued novel not far behind and if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, click here to take a peek!

As if that wasn’t enough for one old hack to handle, last week I spent a day on the set of We Still Kill The Old Way and it’s clear that something very special is coming together down Wimbledon way. Hearing actors bring your words to life is always an amazing experience but when they are people you grew up watching on TV, it is beyond surreal. 

I can’t say too much about the project at the moment but we have two more weeks of filming yet so I’ll post further news (and maybe the odd picture!) as it unfolds.  

Finally, I’ve had numerous people ask me if there will be a film version of Wings of a Sparrow at some point and all I can say is that I bloody hope so!

I’ve already written a script and it’s currently being read by various individuals with the power to say yes or no so please send positive vibes and if you’ve read the novel, please spread the word via Facebook, twitter or by leaving a review somewhere such as Amazon, iBooks or Goodreads. The more of a buzz I can generate about the project, the more chance there is that the screen version will get green lit.

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manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordThe DVD of  Top Dog can be pre-ordered by clicking on the cover picture to the left of this screen whilst the novel can be ordered here.

If you’d prefer a kindle version, then you can have that right now by clicking here. Links to all of my other books (and there are a few!) can be found on that same page.

  british film, sothcott, spandau ballet, martin kemp, hooligans, football, violence, gangs, soccer, cannes,green street

 

The Folly of David Moyes.


manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordIt cannot possibly have escaped your attention that Manchester United sacked their manager David Moyes this week. Similarly, it cannot have escaped your attention that he has been replaced by Ryan Giggs.

I say it cannot have escaped your attention because it has quite simply dominated the news all week. Never mind events in the middle east, sinking ferries, missing aircraft, the forthcoming European elections, the launch of the Top Dog trailer, etc, etc, etc, the dismissal of a football manager from his multi-million pound job has been the main talking point on TV and in print. God only knows what it’s been like on TalkSport!

Now, the fact that this story is deemed of such importance that it demanded six whole minutes as the lead story on the BBC TV evening news feeds into all kinds of debates, many of which may or may not have occurred to you.

For example, the mere mention of a bankers bonus sends the nation into a rage yet the fact that a football manager who has been sacked from his job is handed a reported £7,000,000 payoff (which equates to over £137,000 for each of the games played during his short tenure. And that’s on top of what he’s already been paid) seemingly passes by without a murmur. Why? Is there really any difference between the two? After all, the money ultimately comes from exactly the same place. 

However, this blanket news coverage also brings back into focus an issue which has long been a source of some irritation to me. It’s this inference that we care. And by we, I mean those of us who don’t follow Manchester United. 

The media of course, think we do. They think that following football means that we must, simply must have all eyes firmly fixed on the top end of the professional game and that because as both a club and a global brand, Manchester United are so immense, events at Old Trafford must have us all on the edge of our seats. But they are wrong, very wrong. Because the truth is that other than a passing interest (accompanied by the odd wry smile) the vast majority of us don’t give a shit.

But worse than that, by bombarding us with blanket news of one club, they are being disrespectful because they infer that the achievements of Burnley, Brentford, Wolves, Everton and even Liverpool, or the fears of clubs such as Norwich, Yeovil, Millwall or Torquay are the less important. And they are not. To the people who follow those clubs, they are all they care about.

Yes, Manchester United are a great club and obviously they are news. But that’s all they are to me, news. Because my club are Watford and I care more about the construction of our new stand, the issue of Troy Deeney and the identity of the nutter who inhabits the Harry The Hornet costume than I do about what goes on in M16.

And the truth is, I always will. 

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordAs the release of Top Dog approaches, I’m being bombarded with requests for news of premiers, screenings, Q&A sessions and all sorts of other stuff.

Without wishing to be evasive, the truth is that I can’t answer any of those questions at the moment because I don’t actually know anything. What I can tell you is that the Universal PR machine is hard at work and as soon as things are confirmed, then they will be revealed. Therefore the best thing I can suggest is that you follow the movie on either Facebook or Twitter.

And on the subject of Top Dog, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, please click right here!

Finally, filming We Still Kill The Old Way is due to start on May 5th. Casting is still underway and it’s fair to say that we have some cracking names in the major roles.

News of those should be confirmed this coming week so please keep an eye on Twitter for details.

Oh, and if you want to buy the odd book, that would be nice! I’ve written a few you know and there’s more coming!

Exciting times!

manchester united, david moyes, ryann giggs, top dog, green street, british film, hooligan, krays, gangster, football, soccer, UKIP, Farage, sex, fetish, social media, twitter, facebook, 

Top Dog – movie trailer released.


Top Dog Film Poster

Just a very brief note to say that the trailer for Top Dog has finally been released and you can view it right here!

The movie will his the screens at the end of May and I’m delighted to say that the original novel which has been such a hit in eBook format, will be re-issued in print as a movie tie-in at about the same time. You can pre-order it from Amazon by clicking here.

In other news, casting is underway for We Still Kill The Old Way with shooting die to commence on May 5th whilst work is still progressing feverishly to bring both Wings of a Sparrow, Mister One Hundred, Three Greens and Our Boy to the screen.

I can also announce that after years of going it alone, SMA Talent have taken me under their very experienced wing and will be looking after me from now on.

Exciting times!

krays, martin kemp, leo gregory, hooligans, russia, world cup, screenwriting, author, writer, writing, litchat, violence, England, football, soccer 

Are you an author, a screenwriter or simply a writer?


writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerYesterday, I made a comment that the difference between being an author and being a screenwriter is the same as the difference between an immaculate conception and an egg donation.

Now as someone who writes both novels and scripts, this is a fairly obvious and totally accurate statement yet for some reason it seemed to cause confusion in certain writing circles and it struck me that it might be worthwhile expanding on it a bit. So what follows is a slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to the essential difference between the creative processes involved with the two very different disciplines. 

As an author, when you write a novel, it is your baby. You sit, plot, write, edit, rewrite, edit again and then when you’re happy, you send it off to a publisher who more often than not, will be the first person to read it.

They will then come back with some comments to which your response will be to either reluctantly agree or to tell them to get stuffed. You then do a bit of polishing, send it off to a proper editor who, amongst other things, will fix your appalling grammar and then when everyone is happy, it heads off to print. 

Yet from concept to shelf or kindle, as the writer you retain pretty much total creative control and as such, the finished article remains in essence, all your own work. From that point on, it’s all about you. Have you ever seen a book publicised as ‘edited by….’? Of course not. 

It’s you who do the PR and you who get the accolades or the grief. Hence the immaculate conception. 

A screenplay is totally different because in terms of the creative process, you as the writer have very little power over what finally ends up on screen. Yes, you might well come up with the initial concept and you will certainly put the initial layer of flesh on the bones but generally speaking, your place is and always will be on the bottom rung of a very long development ladder. Indeed, a script will go through so many rewrites it might as well be written in pencil and it’s certainly safe to say that by the time it gets to the point when a director calls ‘action’, the shooting script will be very different from your initial draft

There are of course, very specific reasons for this be they creative improvements the director has made or something as mundane as location, cast or budget. Yet however much it might irritate you as the writer, everything is underpinned by one very simple fact and that is that everyone involved in the process wants to get the best thing on screen that they possibly can. 

And that is the key difference. For unlike a novel, a script is a true collaboration and your pages are usually the starting point. Or to use my original statement, the egg.

You see, simple. 

This is of course, totally different if you write a novel and then adapt it for the screen as I have just done with Top Dog. But that’s an entirely different subject which I will no doubt end up talking about in therapy one day!

writing, author, screenwriter, british film, football, hooligan, soccerMention of Top Dog leads me nicely into the latest news and that is that the release date for the DVD is 26th May. I’m also hoping that the novel will be reissued in print about the same time and that can be pre-ordered from Amazon but if you’re desperate, you can download it by clicking here.

There has been talk of a London premiere as well as some screenings and news of those will be posted on Twitter and Facebook as soon as the details are released.

Casting is currently underway on We Still Kill The Old Way with shooting due to start on May 5th. I’ve seen a provisional list and if even half of it comes off, it’ll be amazing!

Again, keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for details. 

Happy days indeed. 

 

top dog, green street, sothcott, gang, gangster, violence, british film, self publishing, ibooks, indie publishing, martin kemp, spandau ballet, elijah wood, hooligans, england, sex, racism, krays, pornography, london 

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