Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Launch Raffle

For those of you who cannot make the book launch, you have an opportunity to support it and the causes benefiting.

We are having a raffle on the night and the main prize is a new Celtic jersey signed by the whole current first team squad. It's a superb, unique prize and one I'd love to have myself!

Other prizes include an older celtic jersey signed by Henrik Larsson and variois books signed by their authors.

The causes that proceeds will go to are mental health charities in Scotland and Ireland.

To take part, it is £5 a strip and you can buy them by paying to on PayPal.

@lauren_mcclos will look after your tickets on the night.

If you read this and take part, GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keep an eye on the storm

A year ago today I sat in my house in New York as scared as I've ever been in my life. Hurricane Irene was going to hit us that day and we were told to expect the worst. People, literally, battoned down the hatches and the sense of impending doom was enormous. Celtic played at St Mirren that day and I watched on the laptop as you couldn't leave the house, never mind there being any notion of anything open.

As it hit lower Manhattan, we all looked at each other like "this is it" and then a miracle happened. It was veered away from us about 15 minutes before it was meant to hit us head on. We still got hit, and it was horrible, but nowhere near as bad as it could have been.

It's with this in mind I think of my friends in New Orleans today, particularly @bayoubhoy, who have, yesterday, evacuated their homes, with horrible irony, at the same time they had to when Hurricane Katrina hit 2005.

Except in 2005, @bayoubhoy couldn't evacuate. his wife was about to give birth, they had to stay and it was worth it, they survived, and baby Zoe was born.

These people don't deserve this again but the knowledge that The Celtic Family is with them once again, will help them immensely.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Only the lonely

Writing can be a very lonely pastime. Whatever you put in a book, it's you and only you will be liable for it when folk, hopefully, read it. I find it impossible to second guess anything that folk will mention once they, hopefully, read it.

Thing is, we get prepared for this with life which is often a lonely experience and always full of uncertainty. Take Saturday as an example. With me moving back and forth over the Atlantic, two kids, a new house and attempt to add another string to my bow, in terms of career, I've had to sacrifice going to Celtic away games. That will never sit easy with me but needs must. I'd never subscribe to SKY so it was a case of "Find a pub". Trying to be smart, I jumped off a bus on Ferry Road in Edinburgh and headed for "Spiers" drawn in by it's signs that they show all games. I went in, ordered a Guinness and enquired about the game only to be met with "Eh, we dinnae show games on SKY here noo"

Quickest Guinness ever, I hot footed to Canonmills and saw that McClachlans had the SKY sign. Walked in, not a soul in the place, and the bar man had a country and western channel blaring. I ask again and am met with "Naw, we dinnae show SKY games noo" FFS.

Over the road to The Stag's Head, they will be showing the game it's just the guy who knows how to switch the SKY on won't be in til the back of 1.

Christ almighty.

Finally I made it to the Cask and Barrell who has loads of TV's showing the game. I can honestly say, not being used to having to look for pubs showing Celtic, I spent most of that time in a panic befote sitting down to watch the game on my own. Occured to me how helpless I was at the time and completely frustrated to and how often that seems to apply in life and how crap it is.

Then Celtic put in a great performance and all was well in the world again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Confidence and Paranoia

There is a great episode of Red Dwarf called "Confidence and Paranoia" where Lister's confidence and paranoia take human forms. Everywhere he goes, he has each of them behind him telling him how great/crap he is and he ends up getting rid of both of them.

When you write a lot of stuff, it takes a long time to have the confidence to express yourself properly. For me I did not do this until Poles 'N' Goals and Hesselink. This was by far my biggest selling book and is still being bought and commented on now.

I thought about this when bringing out Albert, Dougie and Wim. When I started writing again I had little confidence in my abilities as a writer, or even wasn't sure I had any. By the time it came to summer 2012 and bringing out Albert, Dougie and Wim I wanted to put out a message that no matter how  low you feel, things can get better. So I came up with Channeling Charlie Mulgrew which is a 15,000 word story that is really about my lack of confidence in myself at the time.

The worrying thing was that everyone thought it was literal! There is of course a lot of truth within but I'll leave you guessing as to what...

For my next book, By Any Means Necessary-A Journey with Celtic Bampots, I've, what they would say, pushed the envelope and written a story that is about new found confidence that can turn into ego called Projecting Paddy McCourt to have a bit fun with what happens when suddenly folk start telling you you are good.

In life we often have lows, so much so that you think they will never end. Indeed a very good friend of mine, someone most of you will know, is prone to days like this and I bet none of you would guess who. The key isn't confidence or paranoia, it's just being yourself.

As they say in The Bronx, Keep it real.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How not to write a book

A week today for the Book Launch. It still amazes me that we're at this point. I started writing about Celtic again in a small apartment in The Bronx in December 2010. To think that hundreds of people are coming to a launches for books I have written is very humbling. The thing is, the way I write books is very unconventional, not in terms of the style, but in terms of the actually sitting down and writing. I've never had a computer chair, only recently got a desk (which I used whilst sitting on the side of a bed and the springs are fucked because of it) and I've always, always, always got something going on in the background, almost always kids running riot.

I watch the film As Good As It Gets and dream of a huge apartment with my own desk, chair and huge computer set up with, the most important thing, peace. Kevin Smith, he of Clerks fame, will often go to Las Vegas and lock himself in a hotel room to finish a script. It's rumoured that Tarantino likes the company of several members of the opposite sex whilst writing and Hunter Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail in 52 hours, with five grams of Cocaine and 12 tins of Pineapple chunks.

My books will be written in the backdrop of demanding kids, I Carly and detailed lists of what shopping is needed.

The glamour.

I've taken steps to try and address this, no I've not disposed of the family, such as I have bought a laptop table (£4.99 from Discount UK) which allows me write from the couch, in actual comfort.

See, one thing I've noticed is that writing is totally mood dependent. I was writing a piece for my forthcoming book about Easter Road in May 2009, the horrific 0-0 draw, and about an incident that still makes me mad now. When I was writing it, I was getting a lot of grief indoors and poured it all onto the page. I'm still not sure if that's a good idea or not but then my rationale is that I'd rather not write anything than write stuff that wasn't real.

A lot of folk think you make fortune from selling books. This is only true if you're someone like Irvine Welsh or Dan Brown. Leaving aside any donations folk make from sales, you don't make much. Take Albert, Dougie and Wim as an example. It costs £15.99. It's not a price I'm comfortable with, although it was only mentioned to me for the first time yesterday, these journos eh, so I made it a limited edition, one month only thing. Now, I'm sure folk look at that and think I must be making about £12 a copy from that. It's actually around £4 a book. Because it's a huge book with over 500 pages, that's where most of the cost goes.

I'm not complaining though, I love writing and whilst there are pitfalls of putting your head above the parapet, the joys far outweigh them.

Just get yourself a good chair.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Launch and beyond

With just over a week to the Book Launch, we are at the stage now of mapping out the night to make it as fun as we possibly can. The night itself is now full. @brummiebhoy will be on the door and will tick your names off as you come in. Hopefully the place fills up quickly after the game and we get cracking. There will be a few words spoken, some questions, a raffle and the band will be playing a rocking set.

In amongst that, there will be book signings and 20 for sale. If you have a book already and want it signed, please do bring it.

The raffle will be drawn at the end by a special mystery guest.

There are lots of aims for the night and all of the above covers it.

My role has been minimal thus far, all the behind the scenes work is done by @brummiebhoy and these nights could not happen without him.

A fun night with a serious message and serious cause benefitting.

After that, I'll be finishing off my new project, my last Celtic book in a long time, and I hope to have that out on October 26th.

Not including the Albert, Dougie and Wim trilogy, that will be my fifth Celtic book in two years and a break is needed. As some of you will know, I have a novel out next March and, although it has a huge Celtic theme, anyone who read the preview in Albert, Dougie and Wim will know it is a break from the norm.

This will be my third Book Launch, first was in The Celtic House in The Bronx, second in The Admiral in Glasgow and now here we go again. For the next book, I'd like to try something different to launch that, watch this space.

Until then, hope all of you who bought Albert, Dougie and Wim enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to meetimg you all, quite a few again, next Saturday.

In the blogs leading up to the launch I'll try to provide as much insight into the books as possible.

Speaking of books, Albert, Dougie and Wim is only on sale until Sep 3rd. So if you want to buy, the links are:

Hard Copy

Kindle Version

You're twisting my melon, man

Happy 50th Birthday Shaun Ryder!

A hero of mine for about 23 years now, who thought he'd reach this age...

Let's face it, if he can do it, anyone can, right?

The focus of my next book, is two themed, my own story in the last four years and that of the internet bampots.

Like the Book Launch next week, focus will be on mental health charities in Scotland and New York benefitting.

I've had my own struggles with mental health issues, every day I fight Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Recently that fight has been harder than ever, can't explain why, it's just, as The Shamen would say, coming on and coming on strong.

People suffer in silence every single day with mental health issues, the stigma is huge and can often create a scary, lonely place where it seems you have no voice. What I am trying to do and will continue to try to do, is give those people who need a voice, some sort of hope and support.

Whatever health issues you have, if think you're alone. In fact, if you're part of The Celtic Universe, you've got an army behind you.

Remember that.

You should keep that in mind always, as should folk who may lose their temper or get their melon twisted for a bit.

At the Book Launch itself, I will be talking about mental health and we will be running a raffle in that respect, to both highlight and help. I'll also be telling stories and taking witty questions, hey, it's not all serious.

So if your name is down for the launch and you in any way are shy or worried about anything, you don't have to be.

You're not alone.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Launch details

Last night we finalised the Book Launch. It is now completely full with a reserve list in operation. There will be a lot of differences from the last time, but hopefully still as good a night.

5-530pm-Meet and greet as people arrive at the venue.

545pm- Night will be officially opened by The Rebel MC.

6pm- Introductory talk then a Q&A with Paul Larkin

7.15pm- Start of selling raffle. Raffle prizes include, shirt signed by Larsson, Retro Lisbon Lions print, various football books signed by the authors and a special mystery prize... £5 a strip and proceeds to mental health charities in Scotland and New York. Tickets on the night will be sold by @chibchenko and @weekates If you cannot make the night but wish to participate in the raffle, you can by paying to via PayPal

7.30pm-Live Set from The Amadans, for your entertainment pleasure.

9.15pm-Raffle draw, drawn by a special mystery guest...

10pm- Away hame ya bassas

See you there!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Songs are sung but arguments are wrong

It is said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I didn't think of anything yesterday when certain songs were being sung in Dingwall. There are two reasons for this, the first is I'm too intense about the actual game being played in front of my eyes and the second one is I don't ever recoil when I hear a rebel song.

There are arguments put from both sides on the issue that need to be moved on. No one who is a supporter of The Republican Movement will seriously argue that singing songs at a football match will further the cause. Similarly, for folk to suggest that it is a minority of Celtic supporters who sing and like rebel songs is, frankly, ludicrous.

I'll state my opinon clearly, I have no problem with rebel songs.Whilst people claim, wrongly for that matter, that Irish Republicanism has never had anything to do with Celtic, can anyone seriously claim that rebel songs have not been a part of Celtic fan culture since the year dot?

That said, I do not like drunken idiots singing about people who laid their lives down for Ireland. The parenst and family of those volunteers do not deserve that. We have all seen them, we all know them and, let's face it, most of us have been them.

There has to be a proper debate around this issue, one which protects the identity and culture of the Celtic support whilst at the same time being aware of the fact that it's 2012.

Celtic has a fanbase which is unique because of the number of variants in it, no one has the right to change the identity of Celtic nor indeed the support. If you want the idenity of the support to change, then you go to games and be part of it and it will evolve with who is attending games.

I'm not a person who really gives a monkeys chuff about what people who have never paid into a football match in their life have to say about people who do pay into football matches. Politicians are quick to make a career move on the back of a football issue so their opinion is entirely irrelvant.

What is needed, in my opinion, is some common ground, that supporters can be both respectful of and comfortable with.

We all know that as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

EBT? No problem for the BBC.

You will have noticed an increasing willingness on the part of the BBC to spend money paying beneficiaries of Rangers, now deceased, EBT scheme which they ran illegally.

One of the voices that we have been hearing more and more of is that of Ian Murray, he of the year long testimonial.

It was revealed recently that Ian Murray received £95,000 illegaly from Rangers, now deceased, and when questioned on this he stumbled and stuttered his way through his answer. Or was that the answer to "What is your name?" It's hard to tell with Ian.

Then there is good old Billy Dodds. Has there ever been a man so thick, given so many platforms in the Scottish media. Ok, don't answer that. Coincidentally Billy was given these platforms after he was caught out lying live on BBC Sportsound.

When Billy appeared again on air, after gardening leave, one listener wasn't having it and complained, here's the reply:

Reference CAS-1610531-MJH8Q2

Thank you for contacting us. Your comments were passed to the Head of Sport, who has asked that I forward his response as follows:

"I note your comments regarding Billy Dodds.

To the best of my knowledge, prior to the edition of Sportsound broadcast on March 2nd, Billy Dodds had neither been asked nor commented on whether he had ever received a payment by way of an EBT.

On Sportsound on March 2nd he was asked by Jim Spence if he had ever benefitted from an EBT. He avoided answering the question and Jim Spence did not ask him a second time.

Choosing not to answer a question is not the same as lying. Billy went on to say that he had always received his wages as a conventional payment and that during his time as a player at Rangers he had never heard any talk of EBTs.

He stands by this assertion and is adamant that he first heard mention of an EBT when Rangers FC asked him to accept his severance payment by way of an EBT.

His position is that this resulted in him receiving no more and no less than the sum that was due to him after the deduction of income tax. Rangers FC provided him with a letter confirming that any tax liabilities lay with the club.

It is worth noting that EBTs are not in themselves illegal and a result is still pending in the appeal tribunal case involving Rangers."

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

Details of the BBC complaints process are available online at

Kind Regards

Philip Boyce
 BBC Complaints

Most Internet Bampots will see more holes in that than a goal net and it's frankly laughable to suggest that as EBT's are ok, Billy is fine. Given that Rangers, now deceased, ran the scheme illegally, That's like saying murder is ok because people die.

Albert, Dougie and Wim is available on the following formats

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Philly's Most Wanted

After telling you who to look out for in the parking lot, I thought I better redress it a bit and tell you who to look out for in downtown Philly at the weekend. You know all about Phil Mac Giolla Bhain already and if you don't know Seamus Cummins is at the epicentre of everything, where the hell you been?

First up, driving down from Toronto, is the inimitable Deco.

One of those guys with an infectious personality, Deco will be heard as much as he seen due to the fact that his craic will be ninety. This trip is even more of a labour of love for Deco than normal as snow prevented him driving down to Philly last Christmas and it feels like the Gods were shining on himto put Celtic there again in the summer. And who can blame them?

Next up, is The Rev

Don't be alarmed by his picture, The Rev is a big, cuddly sort. He's the sort of guy that you'll be in a pub, turn round and see him there, and it will feel like he lives there, such is his ease to blend and mix with Tims. Coming from Perth Amboy, that's incredibly admirable. The voice of "Hoops Scoops" on @btwcelticshow , do yourself a favour and check out his latest. In the flesh!

Mentioned before, but worth another, is the King of Queens, Frankie Fraser

What can you say about Frankie? The embodiment of Celtic in America, I ask only one thing, if you see him, buy him beer, he deserves it.

Finally, the voice of Ameirca, Graham Wilson

(pictured after I told him he would be a main feature in Channeling Charlie Mulgrew)

I love Graham. I've never met anyone not from any type of Celtic background as knowledgable and passionate as Graham is. There are very few people out there who can dissect a Celtic game better than Graham can which is why @btwcelticshow is a must listen.

(Graham after he starts reading Channeling Charlie Mulgrew)

There is a,live @btwcelticshow in Fado at 5pm after the game and,having been part of the last live show the guys did from Fado, this is something that you won't want to miss at all.
(Graham after finishing Channeling Charlie Mulgrew)

Of course these are just a sample of the many great Tims that will be in Philly but I can guarantee you won't go wrong with any of them.

Enjoy yourselves.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tailgating-New York Style, In Philly.

Tailgating is as American as apple pie. You load your car up with booze and food(food optional) and head for your sporting event.

On Saturday morning, before the Celtic v Real Madrid game at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia, all the CSC's from New York are going to be doing their own brand of tailgating.

With singer Stevie Dodds in tow, all the NY clubs are coming together in the parking lot at Lincoln Field to have a wee rebel tailgate.

Knowing a few of the characters involved, I can only assume several 18 wheeler trucks have been hired to ship down all the bevvy.

Seriously though (like that last sentence wasn't serious) if you want to meet the heartbeat of Celtic in New York, get yourself down there for a craic with the Bhoys and Ghirls

Seek out Frankie Fraser, Chas Duffy, Kevin Devine and Mark Breslin, just don't blame me when you don't make it home until Thursday...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Go with Fado

If you're looking for a base in Philly this weekend, look no further than Fado Irish Pub at 1500 Locust.St.

If America leads the way on anything these days, it's bars and Fado is one of the finest if, like me, you like good beer, good food, and sports. Plus loose women (Did I say that out loud?)

A huge selection of bevvy to choose from, I'd envisage this as being the Tim HQ for the weekend.

Quite frankly, it is worth visiting Fado for the Irish breakfast, but there is so much more to it. Spacious, with friendly staff and huge TV's showing sport, you won't go far wrong in here.

It will also be the host of the @pmacgiollabhain Q&A on Friday at 1pm and, of course, the venue for the @btwcelticshow live on 5pm on Saturday.

It's pretty much bang central and everything you'll want to see in Philly is within easy walking distance from Fado.

With superb craic, music and people, Fado should be your first stop with you hit Philly this weekend.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A moment for contemplation

You'll all be aware thst Celtic head stateside next weekend to play Real Madrid in Philadelphia. Whilst there will be lots of fun and frolics, there is something really important happening amongst it all.

On Friday August 10th at 5pm, there will be a blessing and Huddle at the An Gorta Mor Memorial by the New Jersey Marist Brothers. Phil Mac Giolla Bhain will also discuss the need for a An Gorta Mor Memorial in Glasgow.

Andrew Kerins was a Marist Brother. Better known as Brother Walfrid, he is the reason there is Celtic team pkaying anywhere never mind next week in America.

I visited the memorial(above) last September and was stunned to see a such a huge tribute.

It made me think a lot.

It should do with you too.