Thursday, October 31, 2013

Credits

I don't like Roller Coasters and my Doc would go mad if I ever went near them quite frankly but the last six weeks have felt like the biggest, maddest, scariest ride that Walt Disney could come up with. I feel like I have been dwelling on the bad aspects a lot recently and making folk think that it's all been abuse, but it's not. Obviously there have been two threats of a more serious nature and I'm never going to trivialise that. Also, it's never nice when folk are nasty for the sake of it and you feel a bit like Tony Mowbray when it happens, almost always from your own side as well.

With that being said, the level of real support I have received in the last few weeks has been incredible. Right off the top of my head I can name Stevie Cairney, Arthur Rusk, Graham Wilson, Chris McMonagle, Kevin McAuley, James Wallace, Dr John in Myrtle Beach, Jim Kinlan, Darren Horgan who have all come forward with genuine offers of places to stay in a "as long as you like" type way. All of these people came forward unprompted and that's the key. There are many, many more and I will have missed some people but none of them, or those named above, do it for publicity and all come to me privately and have all been thanked privately.

There have been legions of folk who have showed support to me in the last few weeks and it's a cliche but you really do know who your friends are at a time like this. Primarily because it's easy to spot who doesn't get in touch and who may just reveal themselves a bit in a "He deserves it" tweet to someone else. The point about that is someone is always watching and I've been able to engage with a few people who have held that view.

Some folk hate me, I can deal with that. Primary because I have folk like The Parrot, Chas Duffy and Paul Lee who constantly remind me they have my back and I'll take guys like that over a smartphone sniper any day of the week.

Then I have people like the two Eddies, Conor Fallon, Jane Hamilton, Robbie Maguire, Sam McLeod, The Bhuddist Rebel, Mark O'Brien, Richard Swan, Nas Mohammed, Sniper and Tommy Gold who are constantly in touch offering support or just a bit craic.

Ditto the HomeBhoys banter which can pull me up from a long, dark place.

I've missed plenty but I don't want the credits to fucking Ben Hur here.

It's all a bit of a stooshie over a wee book isn't it? In the last few weeks I've been given expert security advice, I've had my college speak to me over concerns they have and I had to deal with a family member who was so traumatised by it all that I almost adopted my John Rambo character (couldn't find a headband)

The thing is though, it's just a book, I'm just a writer and Wilfred Owen said "All a poet can do is warn" and that's the end aspect of the book. A warning. My ass may be dumb but I ain't no dumb ass and I knew that I would get all this shit plus I knew my constant knockers and begrudgers would go into overdrive.

The point is that folk like me will never be universally popular but will have the best friends anyone can have.

So, thank you.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Asterisk Years-40% off til Nov 4

Folks, due to the incredible amount of support so far, an offer from the publisher.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/paul-larkin/the-asterisk-years-the-edinburgh-establishment-v-celtic/paperback/product-21192881.html;jsessionid=34AA4E080AC12D66B3128F19C9BAF72D

Use code FALLSALE40 to get 40% off

Offer ends Nov 4th.

Repeal The Act

The Celtic Trust have launched a new campaign against the Offensive Behaviour Act. You can now contact your local MSP through the Trust website by going to this page now:

http://celtictrust.net/index.php?func=d_home_article&id=443

Let's stand together and stop the criminalisation of Celtic supporters.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stand up for the cause

In the week of yet another survey, this time telling us that Celtic supporters are the 3rd best on the planet, it made me think that, as well as how on earth do they do these things, what constitutes the make up of a Celtic supporter?

On a blog for Hail Hail Media last week I got a lot of stick for saying the only thing that bothered me about Champions League games was the folk who turned up late, lost and liquored. Folk told me that I was saying I was a better fan than others, my ego was out of control and so on. It made me think, do we all have the same expectations of Celtic supporters? Looking the initiative at Firhill today, that kind of thing ties in with my own expectations. Now I am one of the militant types who will argue all day that is beyond belief that in 2013, in the 7th richest country in the world, we have food banks.

That won't feed anyone though.

So a hardy band took to the streets of Maryhill today and collected enough food to keep Maryhill food bank supplied until March. Not only is that truly magnificent but I'm willing to bet the folk who did that fan survey didn't know anything about that or we certainly would not have only been 3rd.

I was talking today to someone who I have a lot of time for who is a bit disillusioned with the club and some of the support as well, It made me think about who Celtic are and what do we stand for? Yes, charity is in our roots but so is a rebel heart. "More than a football club" is bandied about like a Guy any time Celtic need a penny but what do we actually mean? I hope part of it means standing shoulder to shoulder with your fellow supporter and that my disillusioned friend is made aware of that as more and more people around him find out that he's down right now.

I know that kind of support helps because bhoy have I needed it this week. Many of you will know of the threats I received this week, par for the course, but the medium they came through tipped the scales in a way where I thought of chucking all social media for good. At times like that you are at the bottom of a hole yet when you look up there are lots of people reaching down to pull you back up.

The importance of that can never be over-egged.

The cause of Celtic may be one that is different for a lot of us yet the common denominator, deep down, is that we all care. That's what defeats the apathy, the knockers and begrudgers. Having people around you who say "I know, I'm here" is the best example of the Celtic support I've experienced. It's not about attending games, buying strips or followers on Twitter.

It's about standing beside your fellow Tim and reminding them why they fell in love in the first place.

And that the cause is worth standing up for.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Asterisk Years-Kindle link

Here it is folks, download to your heart's content.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asterisk-Years-The-Edinburgh-Establishment-Celtic-ebook/dp/B00G1ER1YM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382264153&sr=8-1&keywords=the+asterisk+years+paul+larkin

The Asterisk Years-For Kindle

So there I am, giving it the big "I am" saying to the three people on Twitter who care that my day will be spent walking (to the Forth Road Bridge and back) reading (Morrissey's new book) and settling down tonight to watch my favourite show (Love/Hate) and I get an email this morning saying I have received 100 clicks on Amazon (I thought they were a letter wrong and I had only ordered one) but what it meant was that the process of The Asterisk Years being available on Kindle has now begun so it could be live as early as tonight.

I'm happy about that as I know we live in an instant world and if I had my way everyone interested in the book would be able to read it right away. I have even said to myself that if I make any money out of this, I will in fact buy myself a Kindle (hopefully before Electricity becomes like Davy Jones Locker)

So I still intend to walk(just not to a wifi-less South Queensferry...) and read (Still Morrissey but maybe after Animal Farm) and I'm still watching Love/Hate.

You're probably wondering why you are reading this, I know, I'll go.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Asterisk Years-A Thank You

It's been a whirlwind week for me. I was gearing up for a relaxing break when Lulu opened the pre order window and a 20% discount for folk and I had to move quick. Don't get me wrong, it's great, especially when the demand is such that pre-order moves to order and folk get the books quicker than anticipated.

I can't thank enough the people who have bought the book. Any time you raise your head above the parapet, you're going to get plenty people trying to knock it off. Some are up front about it, others are more sneaky, but the end product is always the same. This week has been an exceptional week in that regard.
Indeed I just read a scathing review on Lulu from someone saying the book is rubbish because Rangers were found not guilty of everything. Now, the only thing I can remember Rangers being found not guilty of was the, currently under appeal, "Big Tax Case" and this book is not about that or indeed the EBT scheme, which they were found guilty of using. Of course, the other aspect of the abuse was that it was left on Friday night, before anyone had actually received a book who purchased it this week.

One of the criticisms you get when mentioning Rangers is that you are obsessed by them. This book is about Celtic. The vast majority of the 60,000 words are about Celtic. Plus, most importantly, everything David Murray did was about Celtic.

My mantra is always if you try to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one.

The flip side of that is the level of support I get which has staggered me this week. People are great. They see the abuse, they see the side swipes and the digs and the patronising "Aw you've managed to write another book have you, well done" and they counteract it with love and creativity and support. They send pictures to cheer you up, Tweets to show they are standing beside you and constant messages of support behind the scenes which can really dig you out of a dark place at the point where you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel.Abuse comes often when you least expect it but then so does support and let me say to those folk who send out support, three times this week I felt really low. Twice I was made aware of stuff folk were side swiping and then came that Lulu review which you don't rationalise right away but every time I was down, you picked me back up.

Slainte.

I understand I've bombarded Social Media this week with book info and will be giving that a rest for a bit because I know it can piss folk off if they have already bought or indeed if it's not their cup of tea.

Before I sign off, will try and answer a few questions/statements that have came up this week a lot.

-The Kindle release of the book is Halloween

-The Glasgow Book Launch is completely sold out, if your name is not on the list, you won't get in.

-I am not and have never been a "casual"

-My kids are 12 and 4 and my life, not "7 and 3 and he takes nothing to do with them"

-I live in a council house in a block not in a "big fancy house he has spent all his book money on"

-I have not been told by Celtic I am banned, in fact, Celtic are considering selling the book.

And breathe.

Have a good weekend folks, I love you all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Food Banks at Firhill-Oct 27th


PR work is the new Rock n Roll

If you're doing anything you want people to know about, having a good PR person is a good idea. I know one who is probably the best in Scotland. I've watched with some amusement as various events have taken place over the last few months and people have lapped up the credit for them even though they know, and I know, they didn't know their ass from first base before said PR person got a grip of them. That's something that PR people are used to and those who recognise that know who to hire when they need people to know about something.

Another aspect of PR work, the less in your face, more sleekit, is when journalists call themselves journalists when in reality all they do is PR work. The best ones are so good at it that they have many convinced with their "Aw shucks" demeanour whilst they pen a column, which takes all the pressure off a new star signing who has just been seen rolling round the pitch like he's been shot, with opinions so far out there you'd question your own sanity. Lots of journalists have these cosy relationships with clubs and get their access and comfy interviews with players and managers which then enable them to get massive book deals.

You may think there is no problem with that but it's happening at the same time as laws are passed that allow companies to sue magazines/Web sites/bloggers, lose, and still have the magazines/web sites/bloggers pay all the costs.

A win-win-win for "The Man".

Independent journalism is absolutely crucial in the modern day. We have seen the impact of Wikileaks and how that shook the world and that is merely a continuation of great independent, investigative, journalism. Forget the tired comparison of Woodstein (A great piece of work but their employer negates them as an example) and look at what Private Eye did when exposing The Profumo Affair week by week with stories the press would not print. Now, Profumo could sue, lose, and it could still end the magazine.

You may say I have an agenda in this, I have a book out which I believe vindicates the Celtic support and asks serious questions of the most powerful men in Scotland and guess what? The only MSM journalists who seem interested in the story, don't come from this country.

People ask me how that makes me feel? In all honesty? Pissed off. I was a lucky guy who had a dynamite source fall on his lap. I still did my own digging, I still chased leads and familiarised myself with the world I was writing about and guess what? I found out more. An example: David Murray was able to control the image rights of Scottish football. That's absolutely huge and gets him into so many worlds that it may lead people to believe that gave him the capability to promote Rangers in Australia whilst hindering Celtic in Ireland.

You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

Then, as my frustration reaches boiling point, and I see these meek PR men on Twitter doing anything and everything to make it look like they are journalists and promise in depth, hard-hitting interviews with the Motherwell kit man or books that appeal to anyone who doesn't have an opinion beyond Coronation Street or Eastenders, I flip on the Sportsound Podcast and hear Chick Young try to re-write history better than The Hitler Diaries.

Sportsound has become a haven for the PR men of Scottish football, where different factions put up their spokesman to fight their corner. Hey, at least Jack Irvine doesn't hide what he is.

All this frustrates me and, seemingly, most who get in touch with me too. You wonder what, when doing their degree or whatever, the aspirations of these PR men were back before they compromised themselves so much that you'd struggle to get an answer to "Hello" before they phoned five different people.

I know some great journalists in this country. Ones that don't phone the person they are about to talk about live, they just say what they feel. More power to them but even they must understand that their message is being drowned out by meek delusional people who still think it's romantic to play for Ross County or PR men whose only reason for being is to get something looking like Rangers Oldco to the top of Scottish football.

That's where we are right now and that's why you have magazines/web sites/bloggers, because you have failed us all.

Pretty soon you'll need your own PR.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Asterisk Years-Pre Order Link

Well, there I was having a much needed break and the pre order link became available. I was told it would be on Sunday but it was softened  by the 20% discount attached.

This is the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/paul-larkin/the-asterisk-years-the-edinburgh-establishment-v-celtic/paperback/product-21192881.html

This is the code for 20% off: PUMPKINS

Since then it's been a tidal wave of folk buying it, offering support and congratulations (with the occasional snipe but then Twitter wouldn't be Twitter without it) One day soon I am going to do a blog and name all the people who have helped me in this, with the exception of one person of course..., but for now the aim is to get the story out there.

That's where you come into it.

The Kindle release will be on Halloween but for now, who doesn't want a copy of vindication on their book shelf?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Asterisk Years-A countdown

Been a busy few months getting stuff ready for the new book coming out and although visits to hospitals and doctors are never fun, not drinking and having a clear head has definitely helped (I knew there was method in my previous binge drinking)

One of the different things this time has been the level of interest pre to release. My biggest selling book by miles didn't have any interest at all until it came out, then it grew a bit and folk seemed to relate to the tales in the book and it may, just may, have now reached cult status which is a letter change away from how I'm viewed in other circles.

This has meant organising lots of stockists and ensuring there is a plentiful supply for the launches in Glasgow (where everyone who has bought a ticket, gets a book), Dublin on November 9th, Edinburgh on Nov 24th and then the Q&A I am doing in Larne on November 29th. Then there is ensuring Calton Books in Glasgow, Word Power in Edinburgh, The Winding Stair in Dublin and Prime Cuts in The Bronx are supplied. And they will be.

So the last few weeks I've felt a bit like Julian Assange (You'll get that if you know the story of his "organisation")

That said, plenty people help out behind the scenes and I couldn't begin to do any of this without help from the likes of Colette McCann, Steph O'Neil, Conor Fallon, Darren Horgan, Chas Duffy, Graham Wilson and Sam McLeod. As well as the volume of others that I will devote an entire blog to soon.

Of course, I'm now entering book launch time and that brings its own stress normally but now x3, FFS.

I was talking to a friend this week about book launches and gave him a sort of "warts and all" guide to them. I'll spare you a lot of my ranting and show you a wee insight into the ones I've had so far:

I had a woman say I mouthed "I love you" to her whilst on stage (I didn't)
I had someone tell folk that the one night led to everyone smashing the place up (It didn't)
Had various offers of casual sex, including one from a male (Never took any)
Had one group try to seize control of the running of a BL two days before it happened (They got telt)
Had one guy storm out because there was no buffet then tell folk I had charged a tenner and there was no buffet(There was no charge) 
At every book launch I get someone telling me that they could have written the book
At every book launch I get someone telling me they did write the book
At every book launch I get someone telling me I am God (in one shape or form)
At every book launch I will get a snide comment from someone who thinks they are too smart for me.

With that being said, I still love them and the people that show up are my extended family. Without them, I am fuckall.

There are a few books either with folk or about to be with folk soon for review and talks of newspaper interviews both here and in Ireland which is nice. Not The View is also doing a big thing on it and there will be stuff in The Alternative View as well.

One stockist got in touch this week which was a shock to me, more of that next week.

So the schedule(which will probably change 30 times) from now until Dec is:

Oct 12th-Interview with Beyond The Waves Celtic Show, 3pm CPT
Oct 13th-19th On a family break (much fecking needed)
Oct 20th-Pre order link released on @asteriskyears and "Paul Larkin Books" on Facebook.
Nov 1st-General release on www.lulu.com and The Kindle Store.
Nov 2nd-Book available in Calton Books in Glasgow, Word Power,Edinburgh.
Nov 2nd-Glasgow launch of The Asterisk Years
Nov 9th-Book available in The Winding Stair in Dublin
Nov 9th-Dublin launch of The Asterisk Years
Nov 24th-Edinburgh launch of The Asterisk Years
Nov 29th-Q&A in Larne

If you want to add to that schedule, please do get in touch @paullarkin74 Similarly if you're sick of it all, use the same for abuse.

Intermission.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vote Thomas Rannachan

With depressing regularity, we were reminded today again of the absolute lunacy of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (Scotland) 2012.

 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2012/1/contents/enacted

The harassment of a particular culture goes on and comes at a time when Scotland has entered a 12 months that will be the most important in its history.

I have been harassed many times in my life for supporting Celtic, or being a Republican, the former you get used to(up until 2012 that is), the latter was worse for the sinister nature but better for the comradeship around it. I remember going to the funeral of Tom Williams in January 2000 with a few folk and us all being told at Troon that the ferry was full. Next thing the police were on site to enforce the decision.

Or so they thought.

I know that a member of our party phoned Richard McCauley of Sinn Fein who in turn phoned Peter Mandelson and before you could say "Ship Ahoy" we were on the boat.

Amazing what a little bit of power can do.

In Scotland, we very rarely get a chance to vote for what we believe in but tomorrow the people of Govan get that chance. In Thomas Rannachan there stands a candidate who has a clear policy, he wants to get rid of the awful Offensive Behaviour Act and stop the madness of people being dragged from their homes for singing songs about people that no one, not the politicians nor the police, could get close to in terms of their commitment to their beliefs and what they were prepared to give for their cause.

Tomorrow the people of Govan can send out a clear message that will not stand for the powers of the state being administered in this way.

To have power and authority, you need legitimacy and there is nothing legitimate about this act.

Vote Thomas Rannachan.