Monday, December 26, 2016

Murray's Law


Newton's third law states that when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. I'm not sure if David Murray knew of this when he sold Rangers (IL) to Craig Whyte then helped Whyte guide the club to liquidation but I am going to hazard a guess that the second Whyte pleaded not guilty in court last week that, David Murray felt that equal force hit him back.

It wasn't meant to be like this.

Murray's plan was to ease Whyte in so he could be the liquidation fall guy and he(Murray) could wash his hands of the whole fiasco that was entirely his doing. The media of course lapped up Whyte initially and then were happy to bury him on the instructions of their old master. The one thing that they did not factor on was the colossal cojones of our dear Craigy boy. See, despite the thug life ramblings of a few bigots outside of court in Glasgow, don't think for one second that Craig Whyte has been bothered by any of this. Indeed, after the shit hit the fan at Ibrox, you may well think wee Craig headed for a bunker akin to Hitler's one in Berlin.

Not so.

He did spend a bit more time in Monaco and some in Costa Rica but for the main he set up camp in London's Mayfair district and pretty much did what he wanted. He met Prince at a London gig and also signed up to an exclusive "Sugar Daddy" website that saw him take out and bed scores of young, beautiful women. For a hefty fee of course.

Even going through a divorce, Whyte would state to his ex wife's lawyer that he would have "No qualms whatsoever" about taking his children for a walk through the streets of Glasgow (Not quite the same views as Cairngorms Park that they previously had the run of)

Where am I going with this?

Well, no one thought Craig Whyte would plead not guilty and open up the very real possibility that David Murray will have to appear in court. Murray spent a lifetime cultivating contacts among the Edinburgh Establishment to avoid things like that and believe me he is worried.

I'm not sure what well happen next, a lot of this has a whiff of Paul Burrell about it who famously didn't have to go to court after The Queen suddenly remembered the conversation he claimed they had had all along.

So potentially we are a few months away from that one glorious morning that will see David Murray having to talk in court about his part in Rangers liquidation.

The question in the meantime is, what force awaits Craig Whyte?

Monday, December 19, 2016

ABC shuts down for 2016

The tour that is, Bobby Madden showed on Saturday that the mentality is still alive and well.

Philadelphia kicked off the north American leg of the tour and huge props to the Philly No1 CSC who put on a gig despite circumstances that would test the patience of Pope Francis. Firstly, they had two venues cancel on them, one the day before the gig, so to still get it to go ahead, and be such a great night, is kudos to them. They also dealt with a strange apathy from the new club in the city which I personally have dealt with before in a few places. For whatever reason, you sometimes get people who just won't have anything to do with an event because it is being organised by someone else. An utterly bizarre attitude towards a Celtic event but there you go. It happens all over the world but that doesn't make it any more mind-boggling when people put personal politics before Celtic. With this in mind, I can't thank Mike, Tom and Jim for rising above all this and showing what Celtic is all about and making me feel so welcome.

Special shout out to my main man Scott Richards who came out and renewed my belief that we are brothers from different mothers.

The next morning, it was off to The Big Apple. The Megabus sheltered us from extreme brass monkey type cold and the free wifi helped the journey pass like Tom Rogic. I was staying on 1st Avenue and 12th St in an apartment that was owned by a guy called Bruce "You can call me Angel" with a twirly mustache. (Sorry Bruce, I don't call any guy "Angel") and was all good. It was a quick freshen up and off to Demseys. Now, there had been a quandary bout this gig, it was the same day as "Santacon" in the city and this meant a million morons in Santa outfits would be marauding round the city. We decided to go ahead anyway and the fact it was a success is all down to Big Tommy from the NY Fenian Bhoys, the sort of guy wouldn't stand beside you in the trenches, he would stand in front of you.

Special shout out to Steven Wright, an old friend, who came and out and strolled down memory lane with me, it was bliss.

Sunday morning, up with the lark and it was Megabus time again, this time to Boston. Arriving there it was cold, I mean rip the face off you type cold. We were met pre gig by James Gillen and it took about 45 seconds to realise he was sound as a pound and before long we were being Ubered to the gig. It was good to see Billy Ramsey again and good to meet his son Conor who is already an encyclopedia of Celtic. The gig was absolutely fantastic and it really was one of those nights that make all the bullshit worthwhile.

Special shout out to the owner of the pub who told me 'I'd love to see the movie but I've been on the rip three days solid"

Then back to NYC for a few days before heading out to California. Getting up at 6am for a 925am flight to San Francisco, I took the L Train, E Train and Air Train to JFK. No issues and on the plane, ready to go, when the pilot announces we are now leaving at 1210pm and need to get off the plane. Worse things happen at sea though and we did leave at 1210pm for a seven hour bumpy flight into the face of a 110 mph wind. This obviously meant a major delay getting in and made a hour journey from the airport take three hours due to rush hour traffic we now had to encounter.

Next day it was off top Sonoma County and a gig there the day after on the Saturday. I love the guys in that CSC. Peter, Jimmy and Isaac aren't just friends, they are like a crew. I had a great time and laughed my ass off for most of it.

Special shout out to Rachel who is like my life coach and had me on the the right track in no time at all. Thank you.

So the tour goes into hibernation until January 13th. It's been great for the most part but equally draining. I have to remind you that everything we do is independent. We don't hate the media but take their publicity, we just hate the media. I pay my own way everything except for my hotel in Philadelphia(Philly CSC) and my flight to California (Sonoma County CSC). It is not a money making operation nor is it the means to a career, writing books and making films is my career. That is why I am immensely grateful for every share, every like, every retweet, every heart, for everyone who books me, who comes out to a gig and who buys a book. Also, for those who take time to send a message of support, it is massively appreciated and acts as my jet fuel.

As for the knockers and begrdugers? Pogue Mahone.

See you in January.

Friday, December 9, 2016

ABC hits Philadelphia

Today is the North American premiere of 'Anyone but Celtic' and, like The Asterisk Years, it is in Philadelphia. The venue is Smith's bar and restaurant on 39 S19th st. 19103 from 5 pm.

People often ask me why certain places are picked and the answer is they aren't, at least not by me. I go where I am invited and that is it in a nutshell. I am always honoured to be asked to come anywhere and the hospitality I have been shown by the Philadelphia CSC has been fantastic.  We are all Celtic.

The city of brotherly love.

There are plenty brothers in ABC but I can assure you none of them love you.

I love the ability to take what I do around the world and tell the stories of what I found out through sources and research with no small amount investigative journalism although the latter is not something I trumpet, there are plenty other card carriers to do that. The story is all that matters.

This isn't "new media" it is just "media" but it requires constant promotion. A lot of folk still don't understand this and it bursts my head as well to be honest (I'd love nothing more than to live in a world where I just focus on the work and someone else did the promotion) but that is the reality for now.  That is why I appreciate every like, every share, every retweet.

They are what get me to the likes of Philadelphia and I hope as many of you as possible can join me today.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Scotland the what?


Can it really just be over two years ago that almost half this country took Scotland to the brink of independence? I remember the vibe well, the country was electric with politics with younger people in particular energised in a way I'd never seen before in my life. I was at Edinburgh College then and it was literally all folk spoke about from the return in August right up until September 18th. Indeed I witnessed two lecturers going at it hammer and tongs after a debate in the college when Tommy Sheridan, among others, spoke. I'll never forget one lecturer shouting way louder than I had ever heard him before "Margaret Thatcher ruined my life!!!!" and I could sense the awakening all around me.

So what happened?

Two years on and Scotland seems to be sleepwalking back to the bad old days where its protest peaked with a letter to the Radio Times complaining that another Scot had been portrayed as a drunken brawler on the BBC.  As England lurches further and further to the right, what are people here watching? Latest polls, whilst completely unreliable I know, put support for independence at 38%. 38%? That suggests 7% of the folk who voted yes two years ago now would vote no.

What are they seeing that I am not?

We are now in a situation in Scotland where perennial losers like Ruth Davidson and Murdo Fraser are given platforms to condition the populous to believe they are worthless. Weekly, Question Time works my blood pressure harder than sodium yet this is not being reflected by the general public. The ease at which the British Government can find money to upgrade palaces whilst a lot of our people don't know if they will eat today should make your blood curdle.

Yet, for most, it doesn't.

It may be that the country I see every day is not the country I see reflected on TV. From The Great British Bake Off to The One Show, I feel like a guy I once read about who went to prison in London in 1962 and came out in 1977 and the first thing he saw were two guys with punk hairstyles and he genuinely thought we had been invaded by aliens. I've become so tetchy to what is happening in England that I don't even watch the EPL any more. That might sound daft but once you realise it is nothing more than a roulette wheel designed to keep you paying then you see it in a whole new light.

I feel like we are in limbo in Scotland right now, desperate for leadership and a specific way ahead. Forget the dominion status independence that was on the table two years ago, hang your balls and vaginas out there and fucking go for it.

Cause I can't take much more of Mary Berry.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Defending the culture



You would be hard pushed to make up an identikit Celtic manager and not have him exactly like Brendan Rodgers. The huge strides Celtic have made this season were exemplified at Rugby Park on Friday when at least 1000 supporters stood outside the ground ticketless for a fixture that normally fills us with as much enthusiasm as an episode of Question Time.

I got the opportunity on Tuesday to sit down with him in the No.7 restaurant after a press conference that flowed between the usual negativity and the ridiculous. What strikes you immediately about Brendan Rodgers is the ease he is at among Celtic supporters. Celtic isn't just a job to him, Celtic were never a second team to him, Celtic is a mission for him. This is a guy who was born to manage the football club.

When the shutters come off, what you see is a genuinely nice guy who loves the club. Not only that, he gets it. Like anyone born and bred into the Celtic culture, this guy doesn't need a handbook. In batting back in forth with him, he used a phase that set my heart on fire "I'm here to defend the culture of Celtic"

42 years I've lived, I don't ever think my heart has ever leapt higher.

You know you are talking to one of us with Brendan when talks about following the games on the radio as a kid in Ireland and the completely "no regrets" attitude he has when defending his celebrations after the semi-final win at Hampden in October.

The other thing that hits me about Brendan Rodgers is his attention to detail, dossiers are compiled on everything, no stone left unturned as he strives to make Celtic bigger, stronger and better which leads to things like our academy realising it has to get even better to get players in a Brendan Rodgers team.

The last thing, and probably the most important thing, about Brendan Rodgers is he leaves you in no doubt who he is at Celtic, the boss.

A boss who defends the culture, that will do me.

Monday, November 14, 2016

ABC-The Premiere

And so to Paradise. The last few weeks for me have been like how I imagine standing under a meteor shower must feel. Producing the film is a hard enough job, organising the premiere would have been a hard task for some governments. In the week leading up to the event you answer so many questions about the night, you feel like a Chaser in The Chase. This can lead to you reacting like Nigel Farage to an Ice T song when someone asks you to choose between coffee or tea.

Sorry to anyone who had to suffer that!

I won't bore you with the organisation of the event but the lesson I learned was that having a crowd of 450 people there is probably too big to ensure everyone enjoys themselves. I was actually amazed over the course of yesterday how many photos of folk I saw at Celtic Park and I had never clapped eyes on them once during the night. That is both exciting and a little scary.

Yet it almost never happened.

We got there about an hour beforehand because I had spotted something I didn't like. There were no table names on the actual tables. Celtic tried to fix this but it was totally inadequate and I apologise to people as we had tried to make the names relevant to the people at the table, three in particular were friends and supporters of us who have passed away, John Murphy, Liam Fowler and Alan Adams. Celtic were left in no doubt how we felt about it. Meanwhile, as this was going on, there was a laptop malfunction. The film was supposed to be shown on DVD but the Celtic DVD player didn't work and then the back up laptop that was brought in suddenly wouldn't work. This all before a body had came into the Kerrydale Suite. The cool head and quick thinking of Tabatha Jussa saved the day and I really can't thank her enough.

Then they came in.

Hundreds upon hundreds swarmed in and most seemed in great spirits which is also good. Our MC, Joe Miller, did an absolutely phenomenal job at getting folk ready for the night, not an easy task when you are dealing with 450 folk, but he went above and beyond and really helped me personally.

First up was Eamonn Coyle who delivered a poem, completely memorised, to an astounded audience and brought the house down. I'd only read the poem once so the impact was just as huge for me as it was for everyone else. The standing ovation he received was richly deserved.

Joe then got me up to say a few words, introduce me and the enormity of the crowd hit me. It was like an ocean swirling around me as I introduced the film.

The film is just over an hour long and you just hope everyone can stay silent so that everyone can hear the information. In crowds that size, you're never going to get and so I am immensely thankful to Joe Mackin and The Kano Foundation for ensuring folk were told to shut the hell up.

After the film had finished, everyone rose to a standing ovation, if no one expects the Spanish inquisition than I never expect a standing ovation and it really blew me away. If you were part of that, thank you, you made it worth all the grief, all the hassle and all the threats.

After the buffet was done, the Q&A began. It was a little too late for my liking and impossible to control a crowd that size but I hope if you didn't get the chance ask a question in it, you did after it as plenty did.

One guy that made me think was a guy who is actually a Falkirk fan who said the film has opened his eyes. That made me feel immensely proud.

We then did a raffle and auction with a grand each for The Celtic Foundation and Down's and Proud being raised, thank you.

The band, Fat Alligator, then came on and lifted the roof off for most, you'll never please everyone but they certainly pleased me.

In terms of the organisation of the actual night, it could not have happened without the work of Joe Miller, Lisa Miller, John O'Farrell, Laura Dewar, Jim, Steven and Elaine from Celtic, Steph O'Neill, Nas Mohammed Allison Orr, Louise Lavery and, of course, everyone who came and supported it.

Without you, we are nothing.

Two legends also came along, John Fallon and Simon Donnelly whilst Donny McNamara was there to represent Jackie and gave me a real warm bath moment when he came over, hugged me and said "That's from my auld man for The Asterisk Years"

Finally, I want to pay tribute to a 14 year old called Gabriel, At the Q&A he stuck his hand up, asked a brilliant question and thanked me for making the film. I can tell you now, that was one of the best moments my life.

Thank you Gabriel, you made it all worthwhile pal.


PS
We have a new website up and running here


Monday, November 7, 2016

New website and all that

"It's my work he'd say and I do it just for pay" That's what The Hurricane told Bob Dylan apparently. Well, my work is finally starting to get some sort of organisation about it. I've had a website built to start streamlining all I do in the one place. It makes it easier for me to point folk in the same direction and, hopefully, it will make it easier for you to get info about the work. It's not a personal website, it's strictly for LS86 Productions and all we do under that umbrella.

I took a decision to have a shop as part of it (Don't worry, there will be no pictures of my face on a T shirt) which will sell signed books and various things like posters, DVD's and t shirts all related to the films and books. All that money will be ploughed back into future projects, rent and beer.

There's always something nagging at you when you try to monetise anything as an independent. The road I tried to go down was to write another novel (The IRA Block) as a passion project and say to folk "Look, if you like what I do, support this, and I can keep doing it" but then I realised I had no right to expect that.

I want to thank Richard Swan for making it painless and LD for helping with the shop.

So here is the new website www.ls86productions.com



Sunday, October 16, 2016

What is going on with Jackie McNamara?

A question I've seen asked a lot on social media since the announcement was made that he is taking over as CEO of York City.

It should be said at this juncture that is not a new role for Jackie. It is effectively what he did at Partick Thistle and what he did at Dundee Utd before they brought in David Southern to effectively signal the end of the good times at Tannadice. None of this was well publicised but Jackie signed the players, did the deals and paid for things like nutritional experts and life coaches at both these clubs (Out of his own pocket)

When he went to York, the talks began almost immediately after being sacked at Dundee Utd (A move Steven Thomson would tell him last April was a mistake) and he turned down the Derry City job to go to York.

As an outsider looking in, it wasn't an easy task for him. A combination of Richard Cresswell and Jonathan Greening were undermining him from day one, bitching to the local press because they thought they would get the jobs he and Simon Donnelly got. Similarly, a lot of the players were on more than decent money for not much effort and were swanning about in big cars with bigger egos.

Jackie knew this had to change.

Relegation was sore but owner Jason McGill (One of the nicest guys I've met anywhere) had faith in Jackie but both knew a massive overhaul was needed and it would take time.

Bottom line though was results were not good enough and a 6-1 defeat at Guiseley was the final straw.

Almost.

A statement was released and Jackie said he would see what happened in the away game v Braintree. This baffled me a wee bit and I asked what was going on? His reply was "Sometimes you just need to see who is behind you and who isn't"

A 1-1 draw followed (York conceded an 88th minute penalty) and so confusion reigned.

I had a feeling this wasn't the end. Even when Jackie announced he would be standing down.

So the CEO announcement didn't shock me. There is a strong relationship there between Jackie and owner and Jackie has an incredible amount to offer a football club (Dundee Utd sought a blueprint for the future from him way after they sacked him) so this kind of stuff is within his skill set.

Finally, I must declare an interest here. Jackie is a close friend of mine and someone I have a lot of time and even more admiration for. His knowledge of football is second to none whilst he remains a passionate Celtic man.

So remember that when you read this, I am not his PR man nor his publicist. I just always wish the best for him and always will, primarily because he gave everything in that hooped jersey.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Power

News dropped yesterday that gave Celtic supporters a jolt when it was announced John Park would be leaving the club. It wasn't a shock really. Park's role has come in for a lot of criticism over the years (particularly with the conveyor belt of dud strikers coming through the club) and as de facto Director of Football at Celtic, you know a man like Brendan Rodgers isn't going to tolerate that for very long.

Quietly and effectively, Rodgers is shaping the club to his standards and if you are not up to them, you are out, it really is that simple. I've personally heard of a few situations where Rodgers has asked questions that people at the club could not answer and they have been told in no uncertain terms they need to shape up or ship out.

This is an enormous change in the dynamic at Celtic and it is for the good. So much so that the manager is now talking a lot in the long term about what he wants to do. Despite the club's attempt to brush off Barcelona, Rodgers himself remains quietly furious with the performances of certain players and this will be reflected in the January sales.

It has privately irked the club that a lot of pundits kept comparing everything Brendan done to that of Ronny Deila. Especially when there is no comparison.

A review of the scouting network will see big changes and the youth development side of the club is under the manager's constant scrutiny.

The fact that all this is happening as the team are currently tearing up the league should give us tremendous satisfaction and leave us in no doubt who now holds the power.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Non story Tax Story

False equivalence. If ever a phrase summed up the media in Scotland's game these days, that is it. The latest in the Level 5 desperation is the attempt to smear Celtic in the pages of the Daily Record with a years old story about individuals and a tax scheme.

The point that should be made loud and clear is this has absolutely nothing to do with Celtic. Zero, zilch, nada.

This is wealthy people investing in a film scheme that took down a lot of people because they were badly advised and, five years after they invested, the tax law changed and some may be due a bill.

That's it.

The real question you need to ask is: why are these desperate attempts to smear Celtic going on?

Surely Newco aren't going to replicate Oldco...


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ABC has wrapped but the LRA have a way to go

On Sunday we did our final shooting for 'Anyone but Celtic'. This film did take a lot longer than The Asterisk Years simply because it was a bigger production with a lot more people involved. That made my job (producer) a hell of a lot harder than last time but I also learned a lot more about the process. So much so that offers have came in for me to produce films with much bigger budgets and world famous cast members, so I can't complain.

The process now is in post-production with a final cut of the film pencilled in for October 28th. This is Jah's department. I say again, the magic in any film is in the editing. What we need is a documentary that folk will both understand and be entertained by and that requires talent and no little amount of training. So FFS don't interrupt him between now and then...

So where are we with everything else?

Well those intrepid brothers at the Lanarkshire Referees Association are still investigating me. They are celebrating the fact they have found the source of the film, a guy called Jim Larkins (pictured below)


This led to a good few jars in the lodge and plans afoot to discredit the film.

If you are reading this brothers, just one more thing as Colombo would say, my name is Paul LARKIN.

In terms of the tour, the premiere is completely and utterly sold out, end of.

Tickets for all other gigs are available from the venues.




Speaking of other venues, we are still taking gigs all the time and if you are interested, here is all you need to know:



Other than that, all the premiere preparations are now done and that is ready to rock.

We hope you can join us along the way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Barry Ferguson won't tell you

I guess, like me, you've had your fill of Barry Ferguson this week. I've no problem with someone apologising for misdeeds in the past or trying to make themselves a better person as they get older (for obvious reasons) but see when you do it? Let's have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I've no real interest in "Boozegate", who liked who in the Scotland camp and whether or not George Burley is a good manager. To me it's all nonsense that just adds to the SFA Circus.

What I am interested in is what Barry left out the story he told on Sportsound this week.

He and Allan McGregor got captured bevvying.

They were both fined two weeks wages.

Both fines were lodged, if you'll pardon the pun, with the SFA.

The fines were then given to charity.

Ok, we know all this.

Here's the added info: Allan McGregor paid way more of a fine than Barry Ferguson. Why?

Cause Allan McGregor wasn't on an EBT and Barry Ferguson was, hence Wee Barry's wages were declared as a lot less than they actually were.

Funny how he omitted this information, eh?

With all the air time he has been given this week, I'm sure a journalist will ask this question, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The perfect game of football

My match build up yesterday consisted of me sitting on the couch, wrapped in a big duvet with a New York Taxi adorning it, feeling sorry for myself with man flu. There was an hour or so during the day where I considered not going but the consequences of that, ghastly enough at the best of times, were even worse because I had a ticket for a friend and no real way of getting it to her should I not go.

My mate Ally had said he would pick me up in Edinburgh which helped me immensely as I fancied stoating about Waverley and Queen Street about as much as Brad fancies Angelina these days. I still had to jump on two buses to get to the pick up point but wee tatties really. We did the usual crawl along the M8 (baffles me that Scotland's busiest road only has two lanes) but Ally had the Rebs on in the car so I croaked along to them.

We got to Celtic Park at 6.45pm from a 4.45pm departure and still considered that good going. The place was teeming with people in keeping with the sky teeming with rain as supporters tried to find shelter outside (not easy and I'm sure I saw a few folk smirking at us from the heat and comfort of the Walfrid Restaurant)
I met my friend we hurried round to our seats. Not because it was raining but because she had decided to buy and wear a Poncho and I was hoping no one saw me with her.

You can set these type of games to your watch. We got in about 7.15pm and the place was emptier than the wallet of a Rangers (IL) Bond holder. You can see the looks on the faces of people visiting Paradise for the first time thinking they had been given a bum steer regarding the atmosphere not realising that Celtic has a support largely made up of people who have the thirst of someone staggering through the Sahara Desert.

Permanently.

Before you can finish your pie (as it takes that long to cool down), You'll Never Walk Alone starts and you remember again that you are home. This is the holy ground and you are surrounded by angels (Ok, maybe a bit romantic) before the big starry ball starts waving up and down in the centre circle and the music plays.

The lion that sleeps in Paradise then roars.

I was pretty confident last night (Check my prediction on HomeBhoys "A fighting 2-2 draw") and, of course, enjoyed the game immensely.  That was Celtic Park at it's best, a tornado swarming round the players, blown there by The Green Brigade and then caught by the rest of our supporters. When that happens and the team responds, you can tell your kids and grand kids that you know what heaven is like.

Brown, Tierney, Dembele, Toure were the four faces on our Mount Rushmore last night but many were chiselling away their own on there too.

Me? I forgot about my man flu for 90 minutes (which will have women nodding no doubt)  and I remembered how lucky I am to be a Tim.

On the journey home, I heard Mark Chapman say on Five Live he had just watched "The perfect game of football"

I'm too sick to argue.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Routine

I think you get to a point in your life where you realise that it's pretty short and you just can't be bothered doing things you used to. Gone are the days I'd be out every night or I'd be doing stuff in spite of any ailment (I once went to Dortmund by bus despite having the flu) I've reached that point now in my life, no doubt. There were always certain things you could rely on in life and if football was your life, then those things came from football. As life changes, so has football. I guess you are reading this saying "Whit is this auld dick going on about?"

Well.

If you take the life of a working class man right up until the 80's (I use this example because this is what I am) then it was all about routine. They went to work Monday to Friday (sometimes Saturday morning), went to the boozer on a Friday night, football on a Saturday afternoon, out with the Mrs on a Saturday night and a big Sunday dinner the next day. Gifts were reserved for Christmas and Birthdays only and holidays were taken in the same two weeks in July almost every year.

I'd guess the majority of you reading this are working class males so let me ask you, how much of this do you recognise in your own life now?

Football is the same. It's changed beyond all recognition. You only need to look at our opponents tonight to realise that. A lot for the good mind you, particularly the families which embrace football now and add to the culture of the game. My experience of Manchester City pre oil money was very limited. They were never a big club in England and probably the only time I even saw them in the 1980's was when Ricky Villa was waltzing past their defence in a FA Cup final replay.  Yet here we are tonight, facing them with a massive disadvantage because of the way the EPL is run. Sam Allardyce lifted the lid on the kind of thinking that goes on within English football, where you have a guy from a council estate in Dudley talking about copping £400k for effectively doing FA.

How did it get to this point?

Very simple, like in life, where you struggle to get a contract of more than minute for a job, football is swamped by money, greed and corruption and it leaves a bitter taste. It wouldn't bother me in the slightest of Man City had an advantage over us because of the amount of money their fans give them (Which is why Celtic have a financial advantage over the rest of Scottish football) but they don't and so are expected to win and win well tonight because of oil money. The same oil money which props up the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and Arsenal.

So in effect all routines of football are now completely dictated by money, no matter where it comes from.

Then again, I suppose that worked for one club in Scotland for 20 years.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

To G or not to G is the question

I know a little bit about intimidation. Over my 42 years, I've seen lots of it in different countries. I remember an occasion when I lived in New York where I was unwittingly part of it. I was seeing a girl and one night she tensed up all of a sudden as we walked home on a balmy summer evening in Queens. When I queried what the problem was she said that a guy she used to date had just walked past us and she felt scared as he had been a total dick to her. I reassured her there was no problem and there was nothing he could do but around 4am that night he had called her three times and left abusive messages.

Now there was a problem.

In Scotland this would be sorted out with what is affectionately known as a "scheme booting" but this was New York and I had to go and speak to someone who knew their rules a lot better than I did. The ex-boyfriend worked at a really prominent place in New York and so when I told my guy the story he immediately grabbed his coat and said "Ok, let's go downtown" We pulled up at the building and I was instructed to sit outside whilst he went in. I watched him walk away, go into the building, talk to the security guard at reception and then after a couple of minutes the ex-boyfriend appeared. I watched as my guy talked to him in what seemed like a jovial manner right until the ex looked at me and his face drained of colour. After that, my guy walked back out and said to me "Let's go" We got back in the car and as soon as we were out of sight of the building I asked him what had happened? He said "I told him that if he ever as much as thought about her again, yours would be the last face he would ever see in his life"

That's how problems are dealt with by certain people in New York.

When my front door went on Tuesday and two suits stood in front of me as I opened it, I kindae knew it wasn't the Jehovah's Witnesses.  They informed me that they had intelligence that there was a serious threat to my life.

Then they left.

That last part shocks people, they didn't do anything? They didn't tell you who? They didn't advise on safety? No. This is exactly what happened to Neil Lennon five years ago as well, a knock at the door, told of the threat and goodbye. It was Celtic who had to beef up his security, not the police.

Over the last few years I've faced a lot of abuse and the odd threat here and there. My front door was caved in, whilst I was out, the Friday after The Asterisk Years premiere and about a week after that someone tried to run me over on my way to college. Then there have been the bizarre incidents like when I walked into the big Wetherspoons in George St in Edinburgh and was asked to leave by the manager as I tried to order a drink or the time I had my invitation to a friend's wedding withdrawn as things were getting a little hot in the kitchen for me.

Increasingly, I don't go out in Scotland and if I do, it's with people I've known for years and can trust. I never say in public where I am going, only where I have been and find myself more and more unable to do things in Scotland. Even when I had my youngest son out in Edinburgh in July, I was abused by some nutcase on a bus.

This week though, things got more sinister with this threat. It is now the third time I've had the police at the door in this guise and each time I am never quite sure if they are enjoying it.

So what do I do? Well, being Scotland, the support has been incredible and the offers of payback have came from people who know how to pay back. On Tuesday evening I thought long and hard about that. However much I would like that, that is no victory.

The victory for me, and all of us quite frankly, is to keep going, keep moving forward and keep shining a light on the injustices that we and our club suffer. That is what they hate most.

So for those who think they can intimidate me and many others? Our faces are staying right here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Asterisk Years-Free to air

The Asterisk Years went free to air on Monday.

You can watch it here 

I always intended to release it this week to counteract, if possible, the propaganda that will come out of the media with regards to The Rangers playing in the top flight for the first time.

The project itself was an incredible experience, good and bad, and one I learned a lot from. I've done a lot of thinking this summer in terms of who I am and what I do. My views have changed in terms of how I conduct myself. In the past, I'd answer back to criticism, spend ages going back and forth with people who hated me. What a fucking waste of time that was. You'll never open a closed mind. From Huns who dehumanise me to mouthy folk who just want to pick at me because I did something they couldn't be arsed trying, I've wasted too much time defending myself and my work from folk will be onto something and someone new in a day or two.

Similarly, I've spread myself too thin trying to please everyone and take on too much stuff. Those days are over. Life is too short. One project at a time and a constant reminder that no good deed goes unpunished...

So now it is full steam ahead on Anyone but Celtic. That's been the vehicle of a constant stream of abuse for over a year now but the film is almost done and the tour is adding dates daily so I'm not really giving two fucks what folk think, the work speaks for itself.

We go into full promo for ABC on Aug 30th with a new trailer.

Until then, watch those handshakes...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The IRA Block



This book has been around eight years in the making. It has taken many forms in my head and almost never came out. Then one day I read an interview with Irvine Welsh about how he had rescued material he had written over 20 years previous and ended up making it into a novel and so I thought I could. The worry always for someone like me is I’m not Irvine Welsh and so anything I do that’s not a sort of “big subject” type thing, I’ve no reason to believe anyone will be the slightest bit interested in it. My only previous novel, The Last Pearl Diver, wasn’t a big seller but that there is wrong. Who cares if it was? You don’t go into these things to make money. I hardly made a penny from books until The Asterisk Years came along. That puts a writer in a bad place in my view. All my other books were written out of necessity (The ability to eat and keep warm mainly) and then I had a book that sold an incredible amount for an independent book. It takes your hunger away. Literally.

So I wanted to challenge myself by breathing life into this book and seeing if I could construct something that people would enjoy. It’s written in the first person because that’s my original style, to write like I am talking to you in a bar. There are graphic scenes and situations because that’s normally how real life works. Most of the stuff I didn’t need to research as I knew the characters and the streets and all I had to do was polish them, some mind, not all. I’m an independent kind of guy, I don’t seek approval from anyone nor do I need to be accepted anywhere. That’s not me raising a banner of revolution either, it’s just how I am and how I have been brought up. I love real people and realism and so that’s what I go for in my books

I hope you enjoy it
The IRA Block is out on June 1st

Monday, March 7, 2016

Anyone but Celtic-Update

It's been a busy time for me and this is the first blog I've done here for a long time. I used to be a writer who did other stuff too, now I am a producer who also writes. A weird combination. Part of that is circumstance, the book game is getting harder for lots of reasons. Specific to me is the last two books I've written, no one wants to touch them with a barge pole publicly. I see other writers who use any tenuous link to their subject matter to promote their stuff but that's not my style. In fact, my promotion consists of podcasts, three tweets in a row at certain times of the week and posts on Facebook. Unlike almost all other Celtic writers, my stuff doesn't get sold Celtic shops and has never been promoted on any official club channels outside my buddy JPT.

I'm not whinging about this. I've became so used to it that I never expect it. Even with my new book 'Celtic Shorts' which is a really non-controversial book of short stories with all profits going to The Kano Foundation, no one is banging down the door to promote it, ask about it or even retweet it. It's a funny thing now but there are folk out there who see themselves as "in the game" and therefore will not touch anything by anyone they perceive not to be on their "team". An example of that is the most common misconception I hear about The Asterisk Years (Film) is that all these bloggers and prominent Celtic folk helped me. The reality is, none of them have even mentioned the film to me.

So with that and Anyone but Celtic it's a small core of people around me who haven't changed. They help me and come on tour with me and stay tight and that's what helps us do all this stuff.

What this means though is barely any time can go into promoting the books. Funny thing is, I have a novel out in July and when that is finished, I have no new project on the horizon is which is both exciting and scary at the same time.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because it's a huge part of why I became a producer. The first thing about being a producer is you are responsible for pretty much everything in a film. What does that mean for me with ABC then? Well, it meant I had to raise the entire budget at the film (A budget that was agreed with the director at the Celtic Park showing of The Asterisk Years) That isn't an easy task and so you have to come up with many ways of raising the cash.

Every penny I raised was instantly transferred to the director. When I say instantly, I mean it would come in through paypal and then I would withdraw it and then transfer to his bank account. The only time a single penny of it was in my hands was when someone gave me £100 at a game in January.

Then there is the cast. You've seen them now. Only one of them was cast on looks and it wasn't Melissa! The other two are caricatures of the people they are playing and so that had to be developed over a while and you're essentially in constant dialogue with them.

Then you have to get all the locations the director wants, the facilities he needs and the people he wants to speak to.  Thankfully the success of The Asterisk Years has meant that has been easier than it normally would be.

This all leads to the first trailer. Well, that had an impact and then some. At the minute 23.8k people have watched it in some 92 countries (How do you get your head round 15 people in Vietnam watching it or four people in Uganda?) but with that comes abuse. In the last six days there has probably been about 12 death threats, hundreds of pieces of abuse and lots of folk trying to ridicule.

Second time round you kindae get used to it.

So where are we now? Well, late last night, after lots of dialogue, we set upon a couple of filming dates where we hope to get the vast bulk of the film done. We have several locations and lots of people involved but it can be done.

After that, it will just be my own stuff to do and then the film will go to edit.

ThenI'll go to bed and check the retweets.