Sunday, 19 August 2012

Ramblings of a 30-something man... When being a legend isn't a good thing

"You were an absolute legend last night," my mate Martin beams as I stagger into his bedroom the morning after a ridiculously heavy nights drinking session.

"Cheers mate," my voice crackles into action as my vocal cords struggle to contain the punishment I put my throat through the previous night. Still, despite the sensation of my pneumatic drill headache thumping against the inside of my cranium, I console myself with the knowledge that I had been a legend.

A legend is one of the highest honours a friend can bestow upon you. A legend is a person who embodies the pinnacle of all the important social aspects. Any person who is funny, reckless, original, and sensitive in the right measures is likely to be nominated a legend by his associates. A legend is a person to whose persona you aspire.

"Such a frickin' legend," Martin says again, a big grin on his face.

I thank him again for his kind words before asking him to fill in a few gaps where I have a few memory lapses. After all, if you are going to be given a legend status, you might as well find out what you did to earn your stripes.

"Where do I start?" he says sitting up in his bed. "First of all, the dance-off you had with that guy in the blue shirt was unbelievable."

Did he say dance-off?

"The bit where you took you belt off and used it as a pretend penis to slap him around the face was pure gold," Martin continued. "The guy had nothing left in response after that!"

Hmmmm, I guess that is pretty funny, although I was still a little horrified to hear that I was dancing, let alone having a dance-off. But there was more.

"Then you disappeared for about half an hour, and we eventually found you in the toilets helping the toilet attendant by informing anyone who cared to listen - no splash, no gash! Genius."

Hmmm, I'm not too sure how many 'legends' have had that honour bestowed upon them for hanging out in the men's toilets.

"When we tried to get you out of the toilet you pulled a massive strop!" he continued, now struggling to hold back his laughter. "You then got into an argument with the toilet attendant and demanded he shared his tips with you!"

This wasn't good.

"Luckily the female bouncer was on hand and she frog-marched you out of the club, and at the end of the night we found you slumped outside in the gutter," Martin said, holding his sides to stop them splitting. "I think you were even crying."

"I wasn't crying," I protest, even though I had absolutely no recollection of these events whatsoever, and if I am honest, I actually felt like crying a bit there and then.

"Like I said mate," Martin finally manages to get the words out after his bout of laughter has concluded, "you were an absolute legend."

And then it hits me.

When Lionel Messi is called a legend it is because he scores world-class goals, or when someone purrs over how much of a legend Robert De Niro is, it's because he has made about a billion cool films.

But when somebody calls Steven Scaffardi a legend, it's because he has made a complete tit of himself the night before.  


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: In The Shadow of Papillon by Frank Kane

Books For Men Book Reviews! In The Shadow of Papillon by Frank Kane
Survival is an eight-letter word that after reading this book, you’ll never feel able to justify using again in a sentence to describe an experience you have gone through. Because after you have read what this man went through, survival was shown to be a whole new meaning to me!

To say I was blown-away after reading this book would not do this unbelievable and frightening story justice. Putting to one side your views on the evils of drugs and those who help bring it into our country, no one should have to experience the tale that Frank Kane somehow lived to tell.

Most men would like to think they could puff out their chests and deal with any situation they are faced with. But I’m not too sure I could deal with five minutes of the horror that is described in this book. Imagine arriving in a strange land and immediately being faced with a group of knife wielding men who are threatening to kill you and your only way to protect yourself is to find your own knife and fight back. We're not talking about a disagreement in the office here! And that is what Frank had to deal with every day while locked up.

Frank doesn’t really go into too much detail of how he lost his business and ended up desperate enough to agree to smuggle cocaine out of Venezuela with his girlfriend, Sam, and neither does he ask for the readers sympathy. But what he does go into detail about is the sheer hell in which he lived for seven years in one of the most violent and brutal penal systems in the world.

The book takes its name and inspiration from the moment Frank arrives at El Dorado prison, better known for being the one-time home of Henri Charrière, or Papillon. From the moment he steps through those prison gates, Frank enters a world where even the prison guards refuse to enter, instead choosing to police the prison from the outside on the perimeter.

What this means is that Frank is housed in an overcrowded population of murderers, rapists, and gang members armed to the teeth with all manner of weapons from machetes to machine guns and even hand grenades.

Some of his accounts are nothing short staggering. Frank tells of the night one of the gang leaders breaks down a wall to enter the cell where he is sleeping and viciously murders another prisoner right in front of Frank’s eyes, who is then forced to remain in the cell for the rest of the night with the corpse out of fear of reprisals should he attempt to even move the body.

This book is totally jaw-dropping from start to finish, and without a doubt the best prison book I’ve ever read. It is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but if you are a fan of the genre (or even a fan of seeing how far the human spirit can be pushed) then I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Promo Trailer for The Drought: The Art of Texting the Ladies!

Send the right text and she'll be putty in your hands!
Stand-up comedian Steven Scaffardi offers up his insight into the art of texting the ladies! We all know that the girls love a bit of sex texting don't we lads - they can't get enough of it! And these girls who we interviewed prove just that... well, sort of! For more laddish fun about a guys point of view on relationships, check out Scaffardi's hilarious debut novel, The Drought! Available now at Amazon and all good bookshops.