Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Book-Part 1

Here is Part 1 of 3 that gives clues as to what my new book is all about.

All three videos will be pointers as to the three different subject matters contained in the book.

Part 2 out August 1st.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A new book and other stuff on the menu

As someone known for writing a book or two, I like the fact that, in terms of writing it, no two are ever the same. What happens a lot to me now is I get approached by folk with ideas for books or they have stories to tell that they think will make a book. Has to be said, most of them are wrong but occasionally you get folk (twice in my life, possbly three) who tell you a story that makes you wonder how the hell no one else knows about it?

We live in an information age. It's very hard for folk to get excited about information as they are saturated with it every day. I'm still a kid with that kind of stuff, when I hear something new I like, I devour it.

Writers are leeches and we suck the life out of anything interesting so we can ingest it then spit it back out as our own. I've not always done that, I've poured a lot of my own life into five of the books I've done. More of them later.

So, a new book. I've been working on something for about a year now and will be working on it right up until October. It's a leap for me. Someone came to me with the story and after a lot of ping-pong, I decided to go for it. It's not a novel, everything you will read in it is true and backed up with all sorts of ways of showing why it's true. I don't want to say too much about it just no but , just for fun, three videos will be released, short ones, on July 1st, August 1st and September 1st with some clues in.

Suffice to say, whatever you think we are up against, double it, treble it, x it by 1000 and you're still nowhere near.

Regarding Albert, Dougie and Wim, Poles 'N' Goals and Hesselink and By Any Means Necessary, these are being re-mastered(tidied up in PGH case) in the book and having new covers put on too. As they are a bit of a series, the covers will reflect this(idea stolen from the great Iain Banks)

The first, Albert, Dougie and Wim, has been done

The other two will follow soon.

No changes to The Last Pearl Diver as it's a novel and will be part of it's own trilogy, the second of which will be out next summer and launched in Edinburgh next May, it's called Wider than Trap Six.

The one I am working on now is out on November 6th with a launch in Glasgow on November 2nd. The actual launch of this book will be different in the sense that we putting more into it than ever before. Three things you will be guaranteed:

1) A signed copy on the night when you show up
2) A top of the range buffet
3) A band that will take the roof off

Full details will be released at the end of July.

Attached to this book will be a book tour. Tentative discussions are taking place just now with dates in Larne, Dublin, Washington DC and New York almost rubber stamped.

If you have somewhere in mind that the tour should go to, please get in touch.

Until then, see you soon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

John Paul Taylor back at Celtic

Some good news from Celtic. A proper supporters liaison has been appointed at last.

Now, I know there will be scepticism out there with regards to this but I am happy. Why? Because the guy getting the job was made for the job. Most of you will know him as well, it's ex ticket office manager John Paul Taylor, who begins his new role on July 8th.

Anyone who has came into contact with John knows where his heart is and knows how good he is at pretty much any job he does, particularly when it comes to Celtic and helping out the supporters.

It's a step in the right direction from a club that maybe, just maybe, is listening to the supporters at last and we may be looking at a future where transparency and honesty are not forlorn hopes as they have been recently.

I wish John all the best because I know he will give eveything and more for the club and the supporters.

And you can't have too many folk like that at Celtic.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

History-Our story-Your story

Last night I helped Chris McGuigan record the latest history podcast for Hail Hail Media. I have to say that it is a bit daunting doing something like this as no matter how much you think you know, it's not going to be enough to fill a 90 minute podcast. So I did a lot of research, I re-read various books, cross-referenced with The Celtic Wiki a lot and generally tried to become an expert on the 1920's in general not just related to Celtic.

The bit you dread of course is Chris saying "We are going to talk about this" and you freeze and think "What the fuck is he talking about" but thankfully that did not happen to any great extent(he lied)

I like the way Chris works. Normally when we do anything together we end up chatting together and I will go off on my usual tangents and Chris will be like "Save it for the podcast!!!" and that normally relaxes me a lot to be honest.

This project is colossal. To even attempt it takes balls as big as a circus tent so massive kudos have to go to Chris. It's a project that I think will go down in history like some of the stuff being spoken about on the pods and one that deserves your support.

Another great aspect of it is all the donations received are being split between causes nominated by the participants and my own choice is The Aisling Irish Center in The Bronx. An organisation that helps new immigrants when they first land in New York. There is a personal reason for that as well but I'll let you hear that on the podcast.

In the meantime, please give whatever you can to support this project and help all the causes involved.

Every time you download a new one, donate what you can via to and play your part in this fantastic journey.

After all, it is your story.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


What a show that was, eh? Dan Tana and all that?  The North American Federation of Celtic Supporters Clubs convention runs from Sunday 9th June to Sunday 16th June and you will have seen, like me, plenty mention of it on Social Media and you will, like me, have been immensely jealous of all those going.

The first thing I like about the convention is the hotel. The Riviera is old school Vegas not the Disneyland Vegas that attracts people in sun-vizors. Dean Martin had a suite built on the ground floor because he hated elevators, so if it's good enough for Deano, it's good enough for me.

The pool at the Riviera is the centre piece to the convention and the main meeting point for all. You also have the convention office pool side and that is where you will find the likes of Tam Donnelly and Mike Boyd who, along with the rest of the committee, provide the backbone to the convention.

The Riviera was also the hotel that was used in the movie Casino and when you arrive, you'll know why.

The big event, of course, is the dinner dance and,  having attended three of them in my time, be prepared to be blown away by the sheer scale of the room and the thousands of Tims in attendance.

Vegas itself is an incredible place with almost anything you want within walking dstance. Speaking of walking, the last time I walked up Las Vegas Boulevard, Jim Craig walked towards me. Maybe, one day, some first team players will do the same...

Finally, when the week comes to a close, remember, there is always next year and that is New Orleans.  The Bhoys down there are already working round the clock to get as many Tims down there as possible and I, God willing, will be one of them and doing some stuff down there so stay tuned for that.

Until then, all you lucky bassas have a great week this week.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Road to Nowhere

On a visit to Glasgow on Saturday, I was unfortunate to be caught slap bang in the middle of an Orange walk near Kelvingrove.  This was me on only my second real visit to the "poncey" West End having the stereotype of that blown away by yesterday's men. Now, I'm not stranger to a march or even a walk. For many years I was a regular attendee at both and it can't be denied that there is a buzz around them. I stewarded marches in Edinburgh, Glasgow and even the north of Ireland for many years and there was no better feeling than the first drummer starting up a "Get the Brits Out Now!" as a stage of euphoria engulfed us all.

There was no euphoria on Saturday.

What I saw on the Finnieston side of St Vincent St was hate. Pure, unadulterated hate. Now, I've seen this before, I've experienced the hardline extremism you get when you're on a Republican march and there are "Protestors" at your side. Normally though it was from a hardcore group of around 30 who were shaping the future of the SDL and EDL without knowing it.

On Saturday I saw hate from men in suits, women, bairns, the lot. I know it must confuse these people that in a country that allowed them to do whatever they want they are now a complete laughing stock but it hasn't made them change their ways in the slightest. In fact, from what I witnessed on Saturday, it has entrenched them further.

It's not something we are used to in Edinburgh, save for one or two days a year, and Republicans will defend the right of the Orange Order to march in places they are wanted, the question is, why do places want them?

It's pretty obvious in Scotland.

The Orange walk gives people of a certain mentality an outlet to air their triumphalism. The main vehicle for this used to be Rangers games but hearing "Simply The Best" at a Sevco-run Ibrox now just provokes laughter not a knowing look at a pair of well polished brown brogues.

What I thought on Saturday is "Where do they go from here?"
There were hints a few years ago from Grand Master Ian Wilson that the Orange Order could "take up arms" in an independent Scotland. Whilst the order is a perfect breeding ground for a David Copeland type, the notion of these clowns forming any threat that endangers society itself is now laughable.

That is a victory in itself.

By the way, as I walked past and through them, the 25 year old me took over, I was upright and forceful when I walked trying to give off my best "Dinnae fuck wi me, I'm mental" look and no one batted an eyelid.

Until a couple of hours later.

I was at the cashpoint next to Sainsburys at Queen St station. As I queued behind a couple, a guy, mid 50's, suit on and Sash in his inside pocket said "Aye you ya fucker". I looked at him and he was glaring at me but was so drunk it was a struggle for him to stand. As I moved to the front of the queue, I took a tenner out and heard "Fucking idiot" behind me from the same guy. I looked right at him and won't repeat what I said but the phrase is contained in these words "Ra" "Up" and "The".

As for the Orange Order as a whole and the question of "where do they go from here?", I think the clue is in the title of this blog.