Wednesday, 31 October 2007



Not much happened on the writing/publishing front after last weeks little burst of activity so still a case of fingers crossed there...well until the rejection letter/email comes and then it's a case of fists bunched!

I'm off to Athens in the morning for the weekend so there'll be no posts on here until at least next Monday, probably Tuesday. When you're at work tomorrow and Friday and you're a bit depressed about it just cheer yourself up by thinking of me drinking bottles of Mythos, eating cheese pies and talking to fat lasses with moustaches.

Good luck to the toon against Pompey and to Joe Calzaghe against Kessler - have a good one.


Monday, 29 October 2007

Where were you when we were shit?

I had an interesting conversation on Saturday afternoon – I’ll let you lot answer the question it raised.

The basic premise was that I, as an exiled geordie, was less of a Newcastle Supporter than a couple of people who live in Wallsend (which is outside of Newcastle incidentally) and as they were at the match and I wasn’t they were in some way superior to me. Let’s look at the evidence shall we?

I went to my first Newcastle Match at the age of six. I started going on my own from the age of eleven and travellling to away games at age fourteen. I was there on the terraces in the rain when we were bottom of division two under Ossie Ardiles. I’ve been chased around Stanley Park by knife wielding scousers, I’ve traded punches on the terraces at Rotherham and I’ve been pissed in glamorous places like Barnsley, Bournemouth and Tranmere whilst engaged in the cause of following my team. I have attended well over 500 matches in my supporting career (not including reserve games which I used to attend regularly back in the day) In short, it has been a lifelong passion of mine, not something I joined in with during my thirties and when the team had become good.

Now, my detractors. Well one of them was a Man United ‘supporter’ until about three years ago – loudly decrying Newcastle in favour of his ‘own’ team until one day he realised that he was actually allowed to go to matches as well as watching it on the telly but it would be cheaper for him to go to Newcastle. He has since re-invented himself as ‘Mr. Magpie’.

The other one was a well documented Liverpool ‘supporter’ during his schooldays and was not seen at a Newcastle match until his friend harassed him into going a few years ago.

These two plums also defended the fat pikey Shepherd vigorously, using the short sighted, not sure how football really works, johnny come lately’s claim of ‘He always backs his managers’.

Now I throw it open to you, my regular readers, who’s the proper Mag here?


Ps – I would have given them some shit at the Fulham match in London on Dec 15th but they’re not going as ‘It’s on the telly’.

Friday, 26 October 2007

The rise of Shit Lit...

Further to yesterdays optimism regarding the rise of bloke centred books my sunny outlook has been tempered by the discovery that Kerry Katona has had her debut novel published.

I can see the publishers point of view – mouthy blonde bint who’s quite prepared to prostitute both herself and her family to the tabloids in order to maintain her status as some kind of council estate figurehead and has some kind of following who’ll faithfully buy whatever semi-literate nonsense she puts out (or get’s someone else to write for her).

But it still boils my piss!!

That apart – Have a good weekend…and spare a thought for Martin Jol!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The rise of Git Lit...

If you’re not the type of person that buys fiction books or indeed if you’re just a casual reader who gets one every now and then you may not be aware of the term ‘genre’. This describes the kind of story or viewpoint that would be found in a book ie crime, horror, romance, etc and all bookshops and publishers adhere to these slots slavishly.

From there you have sub-genres, in recent years these have included sex and shopping, aga sagas and chick lit. Publishers believe that it’s mainly women who read fiction books and adjust their requirements accordingly – hence the abomination of books with pink covers and cool looking birds exploding onto the shelves at your local shop over the last few years.

Now as a bloke in his mid thirties who reads voraciously I’ve always found this slightly strange as have my mates who tend to read the same kind of thing as me – mainly the likes of Irvine Welsh, John King, Kevin Sampson, Christopher Brookmyre, Danny King etc.

And it seems that publishers are slowly waking up to the fact that men can read !! The number of mens books aimed at a particular generation is slowly increasing and following a small investigation I can confirm that the moniker allocated to this new sub-genre is ‘Git–Lit’.

Apparently it refers to blokes in their thirties/forties who aren’t action men but aren’t wimpy, camp, talk about their feelings types either. The type of blokes who’ve had a past and wouldn’t mind reading stories they could relate to.

In fact, basically - BLOKES LIKE ME!!!!

I’m here and I’m ready – let’s get my shit on the shelves.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Writing News

My latest columns for Nufcview and The Bleacher Report can be seen here:-

Comment on them, print them out and put them safely inyour attic - they'll be worth millions one day!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

General shite...

So, a few things have happened over the last couple of days:-

The England Rugby team that were expected to fail disastrously at the world cup actually failed quite gloriously (it's what we English do best) and struck a blow for grumpy old (in sporting terms- don't get cheeky) men everywhere. If the 'try' had been given then we'd have won the world cup and made history but, surprisingly, two officials from countries that hate us, both openly and historically, decided it wasn't to be - imagine that.

Lewis Hamilton failed gloriously (again, see above) but he's very young and will probably dominate his sport for the forseeable future.

An independent publishing firm who shall remain nameless expressed an interest in seeing not only the full manuscript of my fantastic novel 'Special' but also that of 'On the March' which I once shouted about on these very pages. If you see both in the shops any time next year then I may rename this humble blog the Fasthands school of Excellence!

And finally, one other little thing happened - Gordon Brown hammered the last nail in the British coffin and sold us to Europe for the price of a job when he gets voted out at the next election. He must be very proud to continue the work that his great friend Tony started.

Well done everyone.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Writing News

My latest columns for Nufcview and The Bleacher report can be seen here:-

(I know I said I'd use the same one for both of them but your american audience needs a bit of tlc where humour's concerned - so there's some editing gone on).

Also, for those of you that can't be arsed to buy Players Inc (ie all of you) even though I'm in it, then I suggest you get the next issue of 'True Faith' as I'm expanding my Newcastle United readership in preparation for the debut of 'Magpie Ranger' and have added them to my cv.

Happy Friday.


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Writing News

Some cautiously optimistic writing stuff going on...

A small publishing firm that normally specialise in fishing magazines and books have expressed an interest in seeing a synopsis for my upcoming 'Magpie Ranger' opus.

The firm are thinking of moving into sports publishing and their owner/chairman/head honcho is a mad keen Man Utd fan (never mind - can't have everything) - this development came about after a chance conversation I had at the gym last night with someone I've known for a few months.

'Where were you last week then?'

'It's our busy time at work so I've been struggling to get here'

'Oh what do you do then?'

'I work in publishing'


Cue flashing lights and alarm bells in my head closely followed by my spiel about how good I am and me getting an email this morning from my new best mate asking me to send the synospis today so his boss can have a look.

Now I've just got write the fucking thing!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Honour among thieves

I'm not an expert on the Northern Rock thing but I do know this much:-

  • No-one lost any money

  • The panic was started by someone leaking details of the banks position to the press

  • It was exacerbated by irresponsible reporting in the media

So with this in mind I was dumbfounded to catch the news last night and witness a commons select committee grilling the directors of the bank and telling them the honourable thing to do would be to resign!!!

Politicians telling privately employed people that their conduct was unacceptable and if they had any honour they would resign.


The same breed of people that hang onto their jobs tighter than superglue to your finger when you're fixing things.

The same immoral, corrupt and ignorant band of wankers that take cash for questions, sort out visas for their foreign nannies, shag anything that moves (and some things that don't...probably), send working class men and women to die in foreign fields in order to ensure lucrative speaking tours in America when their career's over, sold our entire country out in exchange for jobs in the european parliament, filled our streets with eastern european gangsters and prostitutes, stole the pensions of millions of britons condemning them to misery in their final years and, worst of all... inflicted Cherie fucking Blair on us.

Politicians talking about honour? That's like me preaching abstention from profanity.

Fuck off!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Madchester...Rave over.

Have you ever heard of Eid? Neither had I before the weekend but it’s basically the culmination of a religious festival. It ends Ramadan and is a bit like our Christmas, entailing a lot of family gatherings and not going to work.

Unfortunately, the majority of taxi drivers in Manchester appeared to be celebrating it and as I mentioned on Friday that our hotel was in Oldham (about 6-7 miles away) it left us at the mercy of the drivers that were cashing in on the shortfall. One of them charged us £45 on Saturday night/Sunday Morning – mercenary c**t!

Anyway, that apart Manchester was alright. Always nice to meet up with the chaps again and behave like we’re still teenagers. Areas of note were ‘The Printworks’ complex and Brannigans bar where a good time was had by all (except for the bloke who was carried out by three bouncers as one of them punched him – he didn’t have a great time). The hotel staff bore our cheek with professional good grace and didn’t even throw out one of our number who decided he could play the piano they had in the bar.

The greatest sign to me that we’re all grown ups now is that no-one got arrested, chinned or even soiled their bed…next thing you know we’ll be getting married and having kids!

PS - Dancer of the trip award went to Big Tel - he threw some proper shapes.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Madchester Rave on...unless you book with Best Western Hotels!

So here’s the story. Two of my friends (well one of them’s my brother but we’re not sure if he was switched at birth or not) are due to become dads either side of christmas. Obviously as we’re all mid thirties these days and a bit old school, a ‘wetting the baby’s head’ session is de rigeur and indeed, obligatory. The only difference to your standard post birth piss up is that we are having ours pre the actual screaming, wailing and ‘don’t ever touch me again you bastard’ bit. Mainly because the two blokes in question don’t think they’ll be allowed out for a while afterwards!.

Anyway, as we’re all in different parts of the country we decided to meet up in Manchester, watch the England match, win loads of cash betting on it (4-0 Owen first goal – you heard it here first) stay on the drink and generally annoy/excite the locals. The decision made we booked our hotel rooms in a central Manchester hotel, ideal for the city centre – well some of us did…others amongst us couldn’t be arsed and as a result the hotel was fully booked so we moved on to number two.

This one was about five miles out, in a studenty area so we could laugh at them through the day before taxi-ing into the centre at night – all sorted. Except…The Best Western Willowbank Hotel, decided last night that for ‘reasons beyond their control’ (ie some Z-list twat from Hollyoaks/Corrie/etc wanted the rooms and would pay more than us) we weren’t welcome but they thoughtfully booked us rooms at one of their partner hotels at MANCHESTER FUCKIN AIRPORT!!!

Cue, lots of cancelling and re-booking at a stupid hour of the night. The net result is that we are now in a better hotel for the same price but will be paying more in taxi fares, money which I shall personally alleviate the pain of spending by pissing in the recption area of the next Best Western hotel I find myself in.

The moral of the story is…If you’re ever in Manchester don’t book with The Best Western Willowbank Hotel because they have the potential to fuck all of your plans at a moments notice without even giving you the courtesy of a reason. In fact they should be renamed Spaghetti Western…as it was obviously all about a few dollars more!


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Writing News

Morning All,

In an attempt to raise my profile (and hopefully increase traffic on this blog) I've started writing articles for an american based sports network :-

Whether this gets me anywhere remains to be seen but, and this is clever (I'm not thick me like), I'm just posting the same articles on there that I write for Nufcview.

So, no extra work, but a chance of worldwide readership...honestly, I impress myself, I really do.


Monday, 8 October 2007

Comedy Value

Been meaning to do this all year but never got round to it so I’ll do it now while it’s in my head (a lot of things in there fighting for space).

The following comedy club hits banbury (in Bonito’s which is a cool bar and you can't say that about many places in Banbury!) on the first Sunday of every month and is well worth a visit. It's Four quid to get in for which you receive a feast of laughter in the form of two seasoned veterans of the comedy circuit, one novice cutting their teeth and Silky, the resident compere who is usually worth the entrance fee alone.

If you check out their website you’ll see that as well as Banbury they go all over the place so keep an eye on it, they may be in your town soon.


Writing News - Shite again!

The shortlist for the Daily Mail first novel competition was unveiled on Sunday and guess what...I'm not on it - Ho hum.

I think my obsession with profanity (or realism depending on your view) may be hampering my chances so I may have to revise my style or, as is more likely, lower the c**t count in my work!

Fuck them anyway - onward and upward!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Bob Moncur

The sad news that Bob Moncur has been diagnosed with stomach cancer has reached me here at Fasthands Towers.

As you may or may may not know Bob was Newcastle 's last trophy winning captain and as such he is held in high regard by all Newcastle United fans so I am sure you'll all join me, whatever your club loyalties, in wishing him all the best in his fight against this terrible illness.

I'm sure that if he mobilises the same battling qualities that he always displayed for Newcastle then he'll be halfway there.

Good luck Bob.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Writing News...

My latest column for Nufcview can be seen here:-

Happy Reading!

Laptop wars...the consumer strikes back!

Following on from yesterday's epic saga of betrayal, incompetence and general apathy, the heartbreaking story of one man's love for technology and the evil faceless androids who deny him what is rightfully his. Read on for the conclusion...

I had boiler bother yesterday as well and a bloke was coming round to have a look in the afternoon so I took a half day off work. As I left at 12.15 Citylink (my new laptop courier) hadn't rung me to say they were on their way so I was confident of being in the house for their arrival.
Imagine my surprise when I found a 'failed delivery' note on my doormat stating they'd been there at 9am and I now had to collect the laptop from their base within 'five working days' - bastards.

I couldn't get to the phone quick enough and was soon on to whichever YTS girl was unlucky enough to answer - the conversation went like this:-

'I spoke to someone yesterday who told me that your driver would ring me when he was near my house thus allowing me time to leave my work and get back to take delivery of something that belongs to me.'

'Unfortunately sir, we cannot guarantee delivery times.'

'I know that why didn't he ring me?'

'Not all of the drivers have phones sir.'

'So last night when I discussed this with one of your colleagues why didn't she tell me that?'

'Unfortunately sir we cannot guarantee delivery times etc. etc.'

So I tried another tack - proper winner this one.

'You want me to collect the thing within five working days yes?'

'Yes sir otherwise it goes back to the manufacturer.'

'So you are acknowledging that people actually have to work but the woirking days thing only applies to your company and no-one else in the world?'

''Unfortunately sir, we cannot guarantee delivery times etc. etc.'

'You're all shit!' - Phone down.

I really didn't want to drive to Kidderminster (sounds a bit rough for a nice lad like me) so in a moment of inspiration I rang the Carphone Warehouse who supply the laptop - their chap couldn't be more helpful. I suggested that he get Citylink to try again but this time to deliver it to my workplace, he agreed and emailed them there and then and guess what - I got it this morning!

Obviously I told the delivery driver what a shit firm he worked for but only after I'd got the laptop.

So all's well that ends well - now to connect my Wifi thingy up...Jesus!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Who remembers Customer Service?

You know the one - it was when companies actually wanted your business and set out to win it by giving you a good service, I think it went out of fashion about the same time as schools decided that education wasn't necessary on the curriculum anymore.

I ordered a laptop (you knew where this was going didn't you) and got a nice email saying it had been despatched - That's customer service, so far so good.

Got home from work yesterday to find a card from the courier firm telling me that they'd been and I had one more chance to be in when they called next or failing that I had to collect it myself within five days or the thing was going back to the supplier. I checked out their address, they're a good seventy miles from me so missing the second delivery attempt isn't really an option for a busy cosmopolitan chap such as myself.

Thinking on my feet I rang their depot, I'd had a brilliant idea, the conversation went something like this :-

'Hello, I missed your delivery today, here's my consignment no. ******** '

'We'll try again tomorrow, if you miss it again you'll have to collect.'

'Well, heh heh (chuckle designed to get obvious teenage girl on my side) I have to be at work tomorrow but...'

'We can't give you a delivery time - if you're not in then you'll have to collect.'

'Yes but I have to be at work, I can't just take a day off at short notice. Anyway why don't we try ...'

''We can't give you a delivery time - if you're not in then you'll etc...'

'Listen, I have to be at work but why don't I give you my phone no. and then the driver can ring me when he's ten minutes away and I'll make sure I'm there.'


'I'll give you my number and you can contact me when he's on his way, I'll nip out of work and be at home when the driver gets there. Everybody's happy.'

I'll take the number but I can't guarantee he'll call you. We can't give you a delivery time - if you're not in then you'll have to collect.'

Etc. etc. etc.

Is it me? Was I expecting too much?

I've already filled the car up for the trip to collect the fucking thing!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Writing Stuff

I was recently made aware of an interesting, web based project entitled 'end of this world' where the premise is that twenty five different writers contribute different chapters to a story about the end of the world.

Here's a link to their website :-

If you fancy having a pop or even just being kept up to date with what is probably a world first then drop in, sign up and write owt.