Thursday, February 28, 2013

"The fans are Celtic, without them, it's nothing"

The words of The Maestro.

Words that the people who run Celtic need to take heed of now as much as any time in our history.

I don't know what the majority of fans at other SPL clubs are thinking right now so won't attempt to comment but what I do know is that the vast majority of Celtic fans tonight are absolutely raging.

Deep down, I think most of us knew something like this would happen. The stench of corruption at the SFA hangs over the game in Scotland like the brewery smell that used to hang over Tynecastle.

When I heard that SPL "Chief" Neil Doncaster was out the country today, the day that the most important tribunal in SPL history was to deliver a verdict, I sensed it would be a fudge.

When it came, my timeline on Twitter lit up with Rangers Oldco fans delighting in the, er, guilty verdict.

The sort of triumphalism that remided me why so many people hated them, because we always knew it was celebration that had a helping handshake.

As a Celtic fan, I feel two emotions right now, chearted but energised. The raw passion that has came out of Celtic fans today has reminded me again why I am a Celtic fan.

People who refuse to just sit back and take anything thrown at them.

Folk won't accept the multitude of pathetic journalism in this country.

Bhoys and Ghirls who today got conformation that we were cheated.

The fight has surely just begun.

When Hearts ruined football

Wee bit of flak came my way in the last couple of days. Couple of people have taken umbrage at my highlighting that Scottish football, and Celtic Park in particular, is far too expenive.

Fear not kids, energy is sourcing through my veins so much I feel like the fucking Duracell Bunny.

So, let's go back to what started all this pricing madness in Scottish football, or rather, who.

It was the Pieman Chris Robinson and his loathesome capitalist cronies at Hearts.

When we went to Tynecastle in February 1994, to see Charlie Nicholas get a brace in an otherwise drab game, the price was £7.

Come October 1994, the day of the polystyrene crosses, a massive leap of £3 up to £10 to get in.

The writiing should have been on the wall with that outraegous increase but by October 1997, when Jackie and Henrik were putting them to the sword, we were up at £16! Two pounds more than we were paying to get into Ibrox that season!

This kind of outrageous pricing policy soon became the norm at a lot of clubs, Hibs were next to follow suit which led to a boycott by, of all club's fans, Hearts. Celtic were not shy in shifting up prices then either. A season ticket in the 1995/96 season for the North Stand Upper cost £199. In season 2000/1 that had risen to £279.

Please Scottish football, give us back our clubs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Podcast, Smodcast.

I've been listening to a lot of non-Celtic podcasts recently. Partly because other sports I like are gearing up and partly because I finally realised there is no good new music left out there so I have been subscribing like crazy to podcasts about stuff other than Celtic I am interested in.

The first thing that has struck me about them is that, and this sounds really stupid given I've been on podcasts and shows for two years now, most of them are exactly the same formats as what you get on the Celtic and football podcasts that go around my world.

The formats that seem to be most popular, and in my view work best, are two people batting back and forth or four people going "round the table" so to speak.

Obviously some of the shows are edited radio shows but they are edited so well that they sound like they were done as podcasts. A lot of work goes into that, I've researched recently, and you have to take your hat off to guys like @chrislostbhoy and @carlukeshamrock because I know that's exactly what they do when they record first then edit.

You need a good dynamic on any podcast which means folk are comfortable enough to speak without getting shouted down. The ESPN shows are great for that, ESPN in America that is, as they often have two man shows and have two guys really going at it at times but they effortlessly move onto a new subject and new mood as well. That seems very important to me.

A radio station in New York does pods where it just takes small chunks of radio shows, almost always hosted by one person, and lets you hear intros, interviews and important bits of information. It's a good idea as it puts you into the picture of what is going on in New York sports in about 15 minutes.

I also have been listening to a lot of comedy podcasts or just random ones and, again, the format is roughly the same, it's just the topics can be anything and that randomness really works as well. Whether it's a sharp-shooting comedian or a stoned @thatkevinsmith, on his own Smodcast, it can often be absolutely captivating.

I'm actually listening to a pod right now of a show that was on in New York in the early hours of Tuesday morning after listening to TicTalk earlier and it's amazing how similar they are despite the totally different subject matter.

My own view is that we are only at the start of the podcast era. Looking at the numbers of these other podcasts I have been listening to, they are good, but they don't compare to how many listen live if  it's also a radio show.


The point of these words is simply to say that podcasts are a medium I love. I've been listening to Kevin Smith's since day one(been a huge fan for 20 years) The first Celtic one I ever listened to The LostBhoys which turned me onto the, now sadly gone, Celtic Underground one, and then it was @homebhoys and @btwcelticshow

Now, I've been on @btwcelticshow and The LostBhoys and obviously you can hear me ranting every Monday on @homebhoys and I can honeslty say it's a great experience.

So is listening to other shows, and hearing the passion that comes out of them.

Or hearing @thatkevinsmith talking about you can't be God until you've been nailed to wood.

That's the beauty in a nutshell, podcasts are living, breathing things and hey are cerainly making up for that fact that all new music, is, well, crap.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Swimming trunks at the ready

Well, another book is just over a month away.Although, for one person, it will be a lot sooner, more of that in my next blog or tune in to @homebhoys tonight to find out what the hell I'm on about.

I started this book last summer, I knew then I'd be at College at all year and wanted something "in the can" so to speak, and the last line actually only went in the book last week. I always had the idea of what I wanted to do with this book but it was the last book laumch in November that gave me a new twist to it. I'll reveal exactly what at the do in April and then listening to a song one day whilst out walking two weeks ago gave me another twist and the idea of how to follow up this book next year.

This was the first time I also sent a sample of my work round publishers that aren't exclusively online. Six publishers were contacted, four rejected it after periods of between one and three months, two said they would like to pursue a deal.

There was a time when I'd have given my right arm to see my stuff in somewhere like Waterstones but two things made me reject the deals. The first was I'd be dealing with people who didn't know me, were setting out something for a three month blast and quick profit and whose ideas of gaining publicity all involved dealing with the red tops. After the constant blasting I do towards said newspapers, that's not a route I'd ever take.

Secondly, I went into a Waterstones one day and was looking at the multitude of books in the shop and thought "How the hell is my book ever going to stand out among all these?" and that was that.

The money aspect was totally different between both publishers. One was a percentage of books sold, smaller than what I get now but bigger exposure so probably more in long run and the other was a lump sum. That would have been nice but, and I can say this as I have basically none, it's not about the money.

I am heavily influenced by how Factory Records ran themselves (Which is why that poster above looks like it does). Sure, they burnt out in the end, but in between times they produced the best music ever in my opinion and it was all done amongst their own people. That's how I like to work. Everyone involved in the books, from the minute I have the idea right up until you're reading it, is a friend of mine and that's how I like it.

This means I have great designers and PR experrts at my fingertips who also have a real passion for what I do and it works well, so no need to change really.

Of course all this means that I do most of the publicity myself. I say most, I get great help from @shoegirl1881 and from you as well.

Various things are in place already.

A video interview I did a couple of weeks ago will be published this Friday,

A podcast looking at some of the previous book launches through the eyes of the folk who came will be ready for download the following Friday.

I'll be punting my wares, as usual, on @HomeBhoys most Monday nights.

I'm doing a @btwcelticshow special on the book, on Easter Sunday.

and, of course, I'll be tweeting and doing facebook updates as well.

So, point being, I'll try not to make you completely sick of me.

In terms of the actual story in the book, describing what I try to do is probably the hardest aspect about what I do. I think the story is best described as a sort of "Small victories in extreme adversity" which is something I know a lot of people can relate to.

At the book launch itself, I'll be talking far more in depth about it and doing a reading from the book as well, so you will be spared my usual ranting and calls to arms for once.

The best thing about writing books and getting recognised is the people you meet. I meet all sorts and basically steal wee bits of their life or personality and put them in books. They inspire and enrich me every day and, best of all, they are all Tims.

That's what it's all about.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh for a George Clemenceau

As the wait goes on for a verdict into the Lord Nimmo-Smith inquiry, my mind has been drifiting towards one question:Who is fighting our corner? We all have the same dog in this fight but, outside The Bampots, I've not seen many pushing for a verdict in our direction.

Everyone in Scotland has a vested interest in this thing and that can lead to the word no Celtic fan wants to hear in this:Compromise.

Whilst not touching the amount of suffering that led to it(he lied), I often think about this in relation to the Treaty of Versailles. David Lloyd George(spit) wanted Germany punished but not too badly as there was still money to be made from them. Woodrow Wilson wanted punishment for Germany too but wanted a "League of Nations" so it would never happen again and we all know how that ended up. Vittoria Orlando of Italy wasn't really sure about anything, got nothing he wanted and so spat the dummy and left early.

George Clemenceau of France was different.

He wanted to Germany punished to the absolute fullest extent possible and also wanted them weakened to the point where they would never be a threat again.

He saw this fitting given the level of their crimes.

Oh for a George Clemenceau now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

19 clear and still no cheer

For every yin, there's a yang. Have to criticise some Celtic supporters for the OTT reaction to last night's draw at Perth.

Football is a big picture. Always has been, always will be. No supporter ever wants to drop a point but it's going to happen and it's esepcially going to happen when you're out of sight in the league and have a lot of players who are breathing out their arse right now.

You can't really win in football. You want your team to keep winning but when they do, it means success comes earlier and, mentally, you switch off. That's been human nature since time immemorial.

This has been a strange season, probably the strangest I've ever known. We have been kind of feeling our way through it all year and that's understandable.

At least it should be.

With games coming thick and fast, the title will be decided soon. It's a credit to the manager and the players we are so far ahead.

We strive for perfection always, but that has to be on and off the pitch.

At home with The Green Brigade

If there's one thing that can be guaranteed in the Celtic Universe, it's a hysterical reaction by some to anything The Green Brigade do.

Last night I was lucky enough, amongst others, to coverse with two of their members and I can tell you now it's a pod not be missed.

You may well be disappointed if you're expecting some mythical figures talking from a secret underground bunker though.

The wee secret I can divulge right now is that both of the guys we spoke to came across as genuine Celtic supporters who want all the same things as I do for the club, namely winning football matches, remembering who we are and having a bit of fun.

A lot of myths are debunked about The Green Brigade and if one thing comes out of this podcast, I hope it's the need certain people have to castigate them every time they sneeze.

The facts normally get in the way of a good story, in this pod, they are what make it.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Perfecting The Technique

A lot of chatter since Tuesday night about cheating, no not Craig Whyte and Jim Traynor, Juventus at corners. I was sitting pretty close to our corners in the second half and saw it all unfold first hand. By the letter of the law, Juventus gave up four penalties in a fifteen minute spell alone. The way the Referee pranced about the box rather than actuially deal with it had awful memories of Lubos Michel flooding back.

Whilst it's frustrating and angers you because you know, at this level, we need all the variables of football going in our favour to have success, the reality is we need to be a bit cuter and dish out a bit of the same ourselves.

Now, someone tweeted me last night saying the ref was all about "keeping the natural order of European football" and I buy that, you only need to look at what Barcelona get away with year in, year out (dropping a whole team ring any bells?) to know it's one rule for some and one rule for the others.

However, with clowns like Blatter and Platini running football, it's not going to change any time soon.

There has to come a time when our team and manager comes of age. When it is us being smart to win these type of football matches. I'm not just talking about the odd foul here and there either. You will have seen when Lustig went off, Juventus put all their attacks down our right hand side, knowing there was a new player there and before said new player had a chance to breather, we were 3-0 down..

As supporters too, we need to be that bit calmer. Too many folk panic at one slack pass or get on the back of a player when he needs their support more than ever.

There were plenty positives about Tuesday as well. For a good 60 minutes Celtic played really well and carved out a lot of chances but were up against the guy I still say is the top goalie on the planet. The support, again, created an atmosphere that is unrivalled anywhere.

I hate Juventus. The club and their fans are the embodiment of all that is wrong with football but when we come up against them again, being gentlemen won't cut it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

From DC to Paradise

I'm tired. I was up at 4am on Saturday to go to Dublin, emotionally drained from that visit, as it was the first time I'd saw my youngest son since Sep 28th, then I was back, few hours kip, then up at 4am to meet @btwcelticshow at Glasgow Airport at 7.30am on Monday.

Getting to Buchanan St at 645am, I was informed that the only bus currently running from there to the airport was the 747. What I wasn't informed was that it would take a cunting hour to get there.

I got there though and met a drugged up, half pissed Wilson. We made our way to the hotel and, much to the fury of some onTwtter, took to our shared room. I never realised that in hotels you're not supposed to ever share a room but plenty on Twitter said so, so it must be true.

From there, it was a breakfast, more fury on Twitter, and a trip to Paradise. It was nice to see how much it meant to Graham and I am sure he will let you know just how much.

After this, it was back to the hotel, shared room yes, for an afternoon kip.

That night we took to a bar on Bath St to meet The Parrot and Chibchenko for an evening of The Parrot talking too much and Chibchenko not saying a word. Teehee.

Game day meant a change of hotel and quite a few folk coming up to chat to us. @jolietjake67 met us at CP the day before @lazysunday67 was in our hotel. There were a lot of folk who came up to Graham in pubs in the Gallowgate and so onat a time he was getting some abuse on Twitter for being a yank/having a ticket/breathing so it was good to see him with a smile on his face.

The game was the game and he will tell you how he felt far better than I could. Afterwards, we were all sick and he took more abuse, thank fuck he can handle it, on Twitter and from folk who really need to think more.

It might sound a bit like all he did was take abuse but it wasn't really, the amount of folk who wanted to meet him and wish him well was incredible and he was blown away by Paradise.

Now the old bassa is in his kip and I won't be far behind him, just no shared room this time.

Looking for a bit craic on Saturday night so if you fancy it, get in touch. If no, tweet him at @btwcelticshow and call him a lightweight.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Red Tops or Spinning Tops?

It's ironic that, as we gear up to tip a nod in the direction of our old friend Craig Whyte, the Red Tops in Scotland are seething with the same anger that the filled the last days of (no Pope of) Rome. Of course seasoned hackwatchers will know that they could not go in, guns blazing, against Sevco, without some anti-Celtic story, like the nonsensical campaign to label Kris Commons a diver, something which anyone with eyes knows is ridiculous.

The words from Keith Jackson and Bill Leckie are of two Sevco supporters who are demanding things change at their club. It cut Keith in particular to the bone when Rangers oldco died in the summer as he was the guy who brought Craig Whyte to the fore, shaped his image so the fans would believe the "wealth off the radar" nonsense and assured the hordes that the Gers were on the way up. Now top man at the Record, Keith can't being himself to name the one man responsible for the demise of Rangers oldco, even in the circumstance of not having Traynor dictating his every word. Traynpr isn't still dictating his every word, is he?

Leckie continues the theme that Sevco have no "class", whatever that means. I say that because I never saw any eminating from Ibrox in the past so see no reason why there will be any from the new club. It wasn't supposed to be like this. As Stewart Regan (isn't he supposed to be in Peter Lawwell's pocket?) reveals the lengths he went to to parachute Sevco into the SPL, the Jackson's and Leckie's of this world have finally realised that Charles Green couldn't run a menage and Ally McCoist would have trouble managing a Subbutepo team.

Something any Internet Bampot could have told you months ago.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Last Pearl Diver-Launch

A novel. So a novel Book Launch. I do love writing and so when you get those horrible, dark winter nights, I tend to write. Similarly, when there is no Celtic in the summer, I tend to write. That's why books of mine tend to appear at the start of April and end of October. If they didn't, I'd probably have a football team of sons and daughters.

Hopefully that explains it to everyone who always asks me how come I bring out so many books (This will actually only be my fifth in two years not counting blog books and anthologies which sounds a lot but isn't that many words)

Start of April, end of October is basically my plan, primarily because I love it. I feel I am getting better although not good enough yet to deviate far from Celtic subject matter.

This book focuses on the troublesome period between March 1993 and March 1994 with one chapter set in May 2012. It is a novel but it does feature real situations, real people and the odd bampot or two as you have never seen them before...

Anyway, the launch. This one will be different to the others. I'm hoping it will be more intimate than before (although best laid plans and all that) as, for the first time ever, I'll be doing a reading from the book. I'll also be going far more in depth on the night about the book than I normally do on these occasions as I want to talk a lot about why I wrote it and who inspired me, hopefully all those people who did will be there on the night too.

As the book is set in 1993/1994, that will be a bit of a theme on the night, with some sounds from that era before the Quadrofenians come on and blow the roof off the place. They are a band I am delighted we have secured as I feel their style really fits with the kind of writing I do.

I can't tell you how much these launches mean to me and talking to the folk who come. Most of being a writer is a lonely experience so being able to talk about the work is really refreshing.

So, hopefully I will see a few of you along there on the night, for a few beers, a few stories, a few songs and a few laughs.

So, if you fancy coming along, get in touch with me @paullarkin74 or

Come on, dive in...