Saturday, February 22, 2014

A club open to all

Sometimes you wonder if Celtic actually enjoy shooting themselves in the foot.  As promises of openness and transparency from this club open to all fade away like bath water down a plug hole, the latest bizarre episode came on Wednesday with the second, invite only, meeting of the year among supporters. This one was padded out a bit more and even I got an invite, but the remit remained the same,  a box ticking exercise to admonish any blame from the board and other employees for the current issues that have seen attendances plummet and have left a lot of fans alienated.

Many of you will know I have banged the drum for ages for talks. That's talks that don't take place behind closed doors and are open to all. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to create this pecking order of Celtic fans as a way of uniting us all is beyond me. 

As I said, I was invited. In no other capacity than to represent myself. I told Celtic that if the meeting was a closed shop, I wasn't interested. Folk might say that's me off their Christmas card list, but I was never on it to begin with and in all sincerity some of the people there on the Celtic side have treated me like shit for years now so I'm pretty far away from a cosy wee chat from them all. I made this clear to Celtic ad nauseam and felt really low that they were going to commit, in my opinion, a huge error by excluding people. It's not about me though, it's about uniting the Celtic support so why this took place under these circumstances is bizarre.

Hail Hail Media were not invited. I know that HHM told people at Celtic that they were killing any chance of progress by excluding HHM, forums like The Huddleboard and groups like The Green Brigade.

As the minutes were released, it was hard to feel anything other than dismay. I'm sure most who did go to the meeting went with best intentions but around 75% of the questions asked meant nothing to me and, gauging reaction on social media last night, very little to a lot of the folk I read.

Therein lies the problem.

You are always going to get folk saying "They don't represent me" and the only way you counter that is by making the meeting open to all. Sadly, the precedent has been set now.

Also, the strange layout of the minutes made it seem that no one challenged anything said by Celtic. I very much doubt this was the case but stuff looked like it was accepted even though things like them saying Dundee Utd's attendances have not gone up with reduced prices and the vast majority of the support were behind them shutting down section 111, are just plain wrong.

Let's not kid ourselves on either, the 500 pound elephant in the room is Peter Lawwell's running of Celtic. Many, many supporters are very unhappy with it but this was not even mentioned at the meeting and you have to wonder if this was why exclusions happened in the first place.

The absolute worst thing Celtic could do now, by an absolute mile, is make a big show of inviting HHM et al to another meeting because that just shows they have not thought any of this through at all.

I think if you want make things better, you ask the people on the streets what they think, regardless of any perceived status online or if they are going to tell you something you don't want to hear. You can kid yourself on that you are right and everyone else is wrong but when you turn up at the next home game, look around the stadium and ask yourself if you are still right.




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Seize The Opportunity by Graham Wilson

I am having a break until Sat Feb 22nd. In the meantime, I put a gun to Graham's head and he came up with this, See you all later.

Seize the Opportunity
In life there are opportunities that come our way.  Opportunities to earn more money.  Opportunities for love.  Opportunities for happiness.  And opportunities to stake your claim, to right the wrongs, to state the real and absolute truth.  These opportunities are sometimes limited when you’re up against the biggest of presences.  Paul Larkin doesn't care.  Paul Larkin is creating the opportunity to correct the record for the world to see, who've been fooled by a complicit, biased and incompetent domestic media.  And he’s doing it with a panache that will leave no doubt and all are welcome to join him if we are willing and able.
Paul Larkin’s Asterisk Years project has spanned several different mediums from the written word, to audio and now to film.  Each time the awareness of the full scale of David Murray’s cheating expands outward.  When we think of successful documentaries that have gone from book to film and have opened the eyes of many to injustice, we can’t help but think of Michael Moore as the sterling example.  Whether it be the evils of gun violence in “Bowling for Columbine”, the injustice present in the American healthcare system in “Sicko” or the lies and agenda involved with the Iraq war in “Fahrenheit 9/11”, Moore found a way to educate a huge number of people about what really goes on in the dark arts who hadn't been otherwise aware.  That’s what Paul Larkin is doing with the Asterisk Years.
Currently, there is an impression from some in the worldwide football community, that Celtic are somehow now something of a villain in Scottish football.  Running away with the league each year, only as a result of Rangers unfortunate death.  There seems to be a lack of understanding as to how the Celtic support could possibly take such glee from this current state.  Is it any wonder considering the mainstream media go out of their way with every chance, to gloss over the reasons why Rangers are dead? 
Is there ever any mention of how Rangers tried desperately and failed to kill off Celtic over two decades?  Of course there isn't.  
That’s the message that hasn't gotten out.  That’s the message that Paul Larkin is delivering.  And when the world sees it, no longer will the narrative be that Celtic won by default and is profiting now because Rangers ran out of luck.  The world will become aware of the chapter in Celtic’s history that we are currently witnessing and living through.  This is the period where we celebrate our survival.  We celebrate our refusal to vanish into the night in March of 1994.  We celebrate our refusal to sit at the back of the bus because they've had access to more money than us or had the favoritism of the so called footballing authorities. 
In spite of all that we had to face these past two decades, WE STILL WON!  We have a grip on our domestic league because we are survivors and that is truly what must be celebrated now and communicated to the world.  From charitable roots to ascending to become the greatest team the world had ever seen, to innovating the way football is played, to refusing to be put down by our most bitter rival, to surviving and prospering during a new day for the club and the country.  The magical story of Celtic continues on.
The opportunity to support what Paul is doing is there for us all.  The project is as expensive as it is audacious.  Paul Larkin only knows one way of doing this and that’s the right way.  The amount of money and resources that is required to make this happen is mind boggling.  This project demands more than a handheld camera and a windscreen, as if it’s the Blair Witch project.  There are professional cameras required and film, loads of film.  Microphones, staging equipment, editing software, consultants who have major film experience; it’s all incredibly costly but every pound and pence put into it will be worthwhile when the film is released and the pride in our hearts swell into the stratosphere.
Personally, I can’t wait for the completion of the project because I know it’s going to be something amazing that the world will take note of.  It’ll open people’s eyes, change people’s minds and set the record straight in an entertaining, informative and emotional manner.  It’s something that I know I’m going to feel immense pride in having donated to, and played a part in, once it’s out.  It’s a film that will stand the test of time and be something to show the kids and grandkids and say, I helped make that happen.  We can all help make it happen.
If you seize one opportunity this year, where you know you’ll be glad you did once it comes to fruition, this is it.  The now cult-classic film “Swingers” had a budget of $200,000 and is now one of the most quotable movies of the last 20 years.  They had to move heaven and earth to find funding to make that movie happen.  Now, anyone who was propositioned beforehand will kick themselves for not getting involved in that film while they had the chance.  That was a movie about a dopey sod who was going through a bad breakup.  The Asterisk Years is about the football club we all so dearly love and how our resilience made sure justice was done in the end.  Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
To learn more and to make a contribution to the Asterisk Years project, and stake your claim to creating a historical record that will stand forever, visit www.theasteriskyears.com.  There are several different levels where you can contribute based on what you’re comfortable with.  But like Paul Larkin says, “don’t spend money you don’t have.   David Murray did that and we all know how that ended up.”
Hail Hail and Keep the Faith!

Asterisk Years Film-Update

Just now we are in pre-production. This is broken down into a number of factors, mainly lining up a crew and hire of equipment, filming some stock footage we will need, lining up interviews and creative talent, organising days of film shooting, meetings with the producer and trying to raise as much investment as possible.

Next week will be a quiet week. I have an important meeting in England on Wednesday with the producer and am taking a few days break before it because I doubt there will be any other opportunity to do so this side of July.

Speaking of opportunity, I'd like to send thanks to everyone who has invested thus far. Without you, we wouldn't be able to even think about this documentary and you are the most important part of this.

This is an opportunity for us to show the world what they tried to do to our club and how we still beat them. Their tentacles stretched far and wide thinking they were untouchable but we can show that was just exactly the house of cards that ended up collapsing. We want to take you into the world of the Edinburgh Establishment, where they live, where they work and how their influence was used to lift up Rangers and put down Celtic.

To be fair, they came damn close to succeeding.

To help us succeed, play your part, if you have the skills to pay the bills, get in touch.

If you can make a financial contribution, go here www.theasteriskyears.com

Speak to you all in a week.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Asterisk Years Documentary-Where we are

We are balls deep in the documentary (I'd say "baw deep" but Dr J has that copyrighted) and an overview of where we are, what we are doing and what the future is.

Content
We first of all have to ensure as much secrecy as possible in this due to the subject matter. Whilst the audio book was a twist on the paperback with a few extras, the documentary will be a huge leap from both. First of all, there will be very little of my own story in it. I'd say this will please some folk but then would they watch it anyway! This will be a narrative that relates to Celtic, The Edinburgh Establishment and where the paths crossed. Laced in with that will be some illustration of that, some horrors and a few more smoking guns. Sprinkled on top will the Celtic fans, adding light and love with their own brand of humour and talent. You'll hear them and see them and, hopefully, be entertained by them.

Production
Whilst some exploratory filming has taken place, we are very much in the pre-production phase just now. In two weeks I have a meeting with the producer who has a wealth of documentary experience and a degree in realism which contrasts well with an idealist like me. As of this week, communication is going out to the people we want to interview for this documentary and those interviews will take place in March.

Investors
We advertised for them on Saturday and the response has been incredible. You can see the investment options here www.theasteriskyears.com They are ensuring that we can do more than we first wanted and already stuff like recording equipment, cameras, tripods, microphones and computer equipment has been purchased. All this will be documented to the investors from March 1st. We are open for investors until February 28th. We must stress now that we DO NOT want money you do not have. Only go for it if you can afford it. (If only Murray had...)

Information
The avenues of information will be this blog, the "Paul Larkin Books" group on Facebook, the mailing list at www.theasteriskyears.com and the @asteriskyears twitter. I will not clog up my personal twitter/facebook with stuff about the documentary that some folk may not be interested in so stick to these avenues and you'll not miss out on anything.

This is a huge project but it's becoming a reality more and more and don't underestimate the life and soul that your support brings. Without it, we are nothing.