Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: Friends Like These by Danny Wallace

Books For Men Book Reviews! Friends Like These by Danny Wallace
When I grow up, I want to be like Danny Wallace! Because here is a man who has carved out a career for himself still doing all the things you might drunkenly discuss and laugh about whilst in the pub, but would then never actually do when you came to your senses the morning after.

But take a look at Danny Wallace’s back-catalogue of books and you see that not only is he the man that still carries out these immature boy tasks, but he has wrote a whole bunch of books on them. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, he is the Yes Man after all...

But that is another book! Today I am here to review Friends Like These. This was my first Danny Wallace book, and therefore the one that got me hooked on this brilliant genius! Something hit a chord with me when I read the synopsis for this book, because long before the days of Facebook, I too often wondered what those tiny people who I used to share a classroom with were up to these days. Granted they probably weren’t tiny anymore, but surely something else must have happened to them apart from growth!

And that is the concept of Danny’s book. He finds an address book with the names of his childhood friends from yesteryear. And then comes the idea – the classic Wallace idea! Why don’t I try to track these guys down?!

Of course, it is the sort of nonsense that any normal run-of-the-mill-nine-to-five-guy can only daydream about, but Danny has a bit of time on his hands so he goes on the hunt. And it is a hunt that takes him from London to Berlin, Tokyo, Australia, and California! Quite an epic journey you might say. Once Facebook did explode on to our laptops (steady!), I actually picked out eight friends myself from Primary School. My journey would have taken me to Tooting.

Luckily Danny’s journey is a bit more exotic and fun-packed than that, and although you find yourself wondering where this is all going to end up, you do get lost and caught up in it all as Danny’s friends turn out to be rappers and ninjas, time-travelling pioneers, mediocre restaurant managers, and even Fijian royalty!

Perhaps not Danny’s best book, but when you have written some of the gems that this man has, that probably isn’t very surprising. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can safely say I would recommend this to anyone – no matter what your taste – if you are just up for some good old fashioned reading fun!


Monday, 2 July 2012

Jack's view on... The best moments of Euro 2012

As the dust finally settles in Poland and Ukraine, it is a time to contemplate on what has been a truly wonderful tournament. From the word go we have been blessed with some of the most memorable moments in football history; a stunning collective of images that will live long in the mind for many years to come. Euro 2012 rekindled my love for the game - it showed me everything that I want a football tournament to be about.

And now it's all over, I don't mind admitting that the realisation that it is has come to an end made me shed a tear. No longer would my eyes be able to feast upon visions of such glory, of such perfection, and I find myself looking to the heaven's, looking for answers, and asking Why Lord, why must you punish me so?!

Euro 2012 was a tournament that gave us so much. A Spanish team that cemented their place in football folklore as the greatest team ever to have graced the hallowed green turf. A world-class performance from Cristiano Ronaldo that prompted him to change his hairstyle at half-time in every match he played in. A sulking goal celebrating style from
Mario Balotelli that made us wonder if he was French instead of Italian. An England team that has given us hope for World Cup 2030 when hopefully the off-spring of the Golden Generation might be able to do what their dad's couldn't! And even a German team that didn't make it to the final!

But those little nuggets of gold don't even come close to what got me really excited about the 

Call me dramatic, call me emotional, call me extreme, but the fact is I am a man who stands by my passion, my beliefs! 
There are countless amounts of men across Europe right now who feel just like me. They too are going to miss that sensational tingle every time we turned on our TV screens and waited in baited breath in anticipation of the one thing we all wanted to really see...

The scanning of the crowd!

That's right suckers! I am talking about the monumental efforts from the Euro 2012 
cameramen to pluck out some of the absolute little treacle's sitting in the crowd! In the words of Chris Kamara, some of the women on display in this tournament were unbelievable! The best moments for be at Euro 2012, were the girls of Euro 2012!

I'm normally the first bloke to moan about women watching football every time a European Championship or World Cup comes around. I hate the fact that for two years they moan about how much they hate the footy, and then suddenly you can't get them away from the big screen TV. Whether it's screaming at the top of their lungs every time England get a throw-in, or ruining in-depth football chat by trying to discuss which player has the best legs, I get proper annoyed whenever some
splitarse starts harking on about her passion for the game all because she thinks David Beckham has got a nice arse. It does my nut in!

But this was completely different! And here is why...

The girls on display at Euro 2012 had made a bit of an effort. They had clearly been down the gym do some serious working out in order to fit those tight little bodies into replica shirts that were clearly two sizes two small for them! There were curves poking out all over the place!

It changed the whole dynamics of the tournament for me! I was gutted when Greece were knocked out. It meant I couldn't knock one out over that little Greek blonde sort they kept showing on the TV. She brought joy to millions of Greek people during a financial meltdown for crying out loud! I didn't mind Germany doing so well, and I was even keeping my fingers crossed that they would play England in the semi-final and embarrass us all over again like they did at the World Cup last year. And the reason why?

Because it would have meant I could have drooled all over over this fine specimen once again. I mean look at her. Look at her dammit! She is even carrying two pints in her hand. She is like the most amazing woman I have ever seen in my life. The men were watching footy and they sent her to get the beer. I almost fucking cried right there and then when I saw this image. It was beautiful. 

It has changed the way I view football forever. I was happy enough to sit indoors during this 
competition, with my pants around my ankles, waiting for the Euro 2012 money shot to come along! And I didn't have to once explain the offside rule to anyone! It was frickin' awesome!

Normally I'd head down to the pub and I'd have to stand with some Nora Batty lookalike, and watch her belly jiggle out from underneath her crappy Primark England t-shirt every time she got over excited about a free kick on the halfway line. But this year was a real game changer. I mean look at this Italian fan on the left - this is what she looked like when Juan Mata had just tucked away Spain's fourth goal!

So make sure you remember this tournament for all the right reasons. It wasn't about the brilliance of Iniesta or the rugged determination of Roy Hodgson's Three Lions. It was all about the effort made by the female supporters. I salute you ladies!

Jack Chatham is a fictional character from Steven Scaffardi's comedy novel The Drought